Zach Williams is a Brooklyn based singer/songwriter who is currently on tour with none other than Ben Folds. He is an active supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms and his album, Story Time, is out now.

Zach Williams

Story Time is a nicely crafted collection of songs that fully captures the hope and exuberance of Zach’s live show. His honest, personal approach has garnered him some much deserved attention and his gift for doing what his album title suggests: telling stories, is placing him in front of more and more audiences daily. He was kind enough to take time out to chat with Brad. Here’s what happened.

How did you become involved with To Write Love On Her Arms?

Someone brought Jamie (Tworkowski) to a show I had here in NYC last year at a fantastic spot called Rockwood Music Hall. After the show he wrote a blog about it and I emailed him to thank him. He wrote me back and asked if I would come and play at a TWLOHA gig in Athens, GA. I had never heard of TWLOHA so I went to the website and checked out what they were doing. It seemed like a worthy cause so I said yes to doing the show.

The show ended up being a very inspiring night for me. I was not aware of the challenges people were facing regarding “cutting”, depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness and anxiety. During the Q and A time at the show I was moved by a few of the stories that were shared. I decided I wanted to be a part of as many of these special nights as possible. Since then my friendship with the whole TWLOHA crew has grown. They have been very kind to me and my family.

I heard you perform a few months back in Atlanta. One of the things you talked about was how community helped you through tough times. Can you tell me a little bit more about how this happened?

Specifically what I was talking about was a tragic time I went through with my wife Stacy. My wife fell off a horse at my family’s home a few years back and broke her neck. She was paralyzed for a while and we lived at a few different hospitals in the Atlanta area. My friends stayed beside me through it all. The awkward hard times, the moments of being completely numb, and the bright moments of hope. I wrote a song about it called “Hospital”. It was the first song I wrote. This time at the hospital birthed a dream in my heart to move to NYC with my friends and pursue the arts. A few years later we did. We have been here for the past 4 years. We live within walking distance from each other. While we have been here in Brooklyn our families have grown, a church has been established, art has been pursued and this beautiful city has melted into the heartbeats of what matters to us. Our group of friends have also grown. Turns out tons of young strange people move to this great city all the time to pursue what matters most to them.

You mention writing “Hospital” and it being the beginning of many more songs to come. How did music help to heal the wounds?

For a while I lived at The Shepherd Center Spinal Clinic’s living space in Buckhead, GA. This particular day I was told my wife was paralyzed from the neck down, I was $700,000 in hospital bills with student insurance of that covered the first few hours of our 3 week stay in “intensive care”, and I was about to start taking classes on how to clean my wife for the rest of our life to steer clear of bed soars. I was sitting outside at a place called “Atkins Park” in an area called “virginia highlands”. They graciously let me sit there with nothing but coffee for hours into the night. That is where I wrote my first song “Hospital”. It basically says “I want to leave this place and I want you to get better”. I stumbled through it with my close friends and they encouraged me to write more. This process has since then been very life-giving to me. After my wife miraculously healed we moved back down to West Palm Beach to finish college. I started playing a few songs at the local bars. The stories of frustration and hope seemed to bring clarity to my heart and to the strangers I sang in front of.

The title Story Time really seems to fit the album and your style. Do you approach each song as a story?

All of my songs are story songs. They all represent something that characterizes one of my friends or shares their stories. So I named the album “Story Time”, because it just fit the project.

What’s next for you?

A couple things are in the works. I am co-producing my first record with a good friend of mine named Eric James Marshal for a wonderful organization called Restore. We have five local singer/songwriters coming together for a 10 track album. The instrumentation will be beautiful! From double bass to pedal steal this record is going to be fun and meaningful.

I am also working on my next record. Story Time was a collection of songs that I wrote a good while ago. I am looking forward to this next record because its fresh on my heart.

Zach’s website
Buy Story Time on iTunes

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  1. Justin Gerhardt:

    LOVE Zach Williams. His contribution at Catalyst last year still gives me chills. Great choice and great interview, Brad.

    3:07 pm on March 16th, 2010
  2. Ashley:

    Oh yes, I work at Best Buy and there’s plenty of CD decks where you can plug your ipod into right in the front of the deck.go here:I deieiftnly recommend this one, PIONEER is honestly a SUPER nice brand! Plus it’s a 50 w which is good. There’s other options on the site but this is reasonably priced.

    1:59 am on June 26th, 2012
  3. Dessyah:

    Nice song Mark. (Are the lyrics swhoemere?) Sounds a bit low (though A is a nice key!) Would you record it higher in Bb? Does mean singing a D, but there’s plenty of build up to it. G# a bit low for most.Only other thing is intuitively I went for the tonic on name at beginning of chorus so felt a bit let down by the F#. but I suspect if you put the whole thing up a semitone higher it would feel OK. G feels like a bit of a turning point in terms of range maybe just for me. (Only felt let down the first time preferred it once I got used to it)Feel free to ignore all of that you probably just wanted a like/dislike comment! Love your work.

    4:58 am on December 18th, 2015

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