Alex Talks About Reggie Williams
I first met Reggie Williams when I was a freshman at Florida State University. I was having dinner at a popular hookah hangout on campus with some friends. I don’t remember many specific details about that night except for being impressed when a friend told me he knew the guy who was playing guitar on stage. Reggie came over to say hello to us and I just had to tell him how great I thought his music was. It was unique and refined, yet relatable and never pretentious. His range was fantastic and his voice is like nothing you’d hear on the radio today: my favorite genre. I tried to buy one of his burned CDs he was selling, but I didn’t have change. With a giant smile, he simply handed me the CD and said, “don’t worry about it”.
I always vowed I would pay him back for that CD (I never did). But that’s the kind of guy I got to know in Reggie: passionate about sharing his music and unperturbed by the little things. We hung out occasionally after that. He was always fun and easy going company, quick with a laugh and never without his guitar case slung over his shoulder.
We’ve spoken very little in the past year, but via Facebook I’ve watched his fame grow. The guy who once handed me a CD with his name scribbled in Sharpie, two more albums later, has decided to tour the country. And his Kickstarter (The Realize the Dream Project) surpassed its goal by over $400.
Reggie grew up in Bradenton, Florida. As a child, Reggie’s mother exclusively played jazz around the house: George Benson being one of Reggie’s favorites. As he got older, his musical tastes widened when he discovered bands like Coheed and Cambria, Incubus and Linkin Park. These were favorites of mine growing up, too and while I wouldn’t compare Reggie’s music now to those bands, I can see the passion and individuality that those groups imbued Reggie with.
He attended an arts-based high school, where he was encouraged to explore the various forms of physical, visual and musical arts. He dabbled in drums, piano and especially guitar. He found mentors in his piano and guitar teachers and learned self-control, empathy and how to be a student and a teacher via martial arts. He honed his pipes by imitating his favorite artists, particularly male vocalists with high –pitch and falsetto styles. Reggie didn’t receive any formal vocal training until college.
At age 13, Reggie began playing live gigs, mostly in Sarasota, Florida. His progression from music lover to professional musician developed naturally. “I played a bunch of shows and it seemed kind of natural to have songs and just record them!” With the help of friends and their resources, he was able to record two records before college, one of which was the demo he gifted to me.
Since I couldn’t sit down with Reggie to catch up like I would like to, I sent him a bunch of questions about himself, his music and his success. His answers are insightful and satisfying. (My favorite is his answer about the music industry.)
The ending credits contain links to his music and tour dates as well as a link back to my blog. :)