Sources: All Things Michael | Interview – By Emily McDermott
Twenty-four-year old, singer/songwriter Dana Williams grew up splitting her time between Los Angeles and New York, where she attended middle school, high school, and college. At times, she would also go on tour with her father David Williams, who was one of Michael Jackson‘s guitarists. David was paired to work with Michael on his Off The Wall and Thriller albums by Quincy Jones.
Although probably nobody outside the music industry knew his name, practically everybody on the planet heard his work thanks to his in-the-pocket playing on Michael Jackson’s smash hit Billie Jean. Williams contributed the clean, funky strummed solo that was integral to the sound of the song.
David’s tour credits include Michael Jackson, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations among countless others. David died in March 2009.
His daughter Dana is following in his footsteps to pursue her dreams in music field. She maintains a large following on YouTube for her covers of timeless tracks and was previously a contestant on ABC’s Rising Star.
Last year she released her debut EP The Lonely One, appeared on the soundtrack of Whiplash, and became the star of Apple’s Christmas commercial with “The Song.” Today marks the one year anniversary of her EP’s release.
My dad was a musician and songwriter. When I was little I would go to the studio with him and he would make a little pop track. He would say, “Write two verses, a chorus, and a bridge.” Then I’d go home and write a little love song, dreaming about having a boyfriend one day. I did it for fun with my dad. I didn’t really start writing my own music until I was a teen. I finally was proficient enough on guitar to play in a band and write my own music on guitar, so it was probably 14 or 15 when I started writing my own music.
MY DAD WAS A GUITARIST FOR MICHAEL JACKSON AND…
I did get to meet him, but when you’re around something so much when you’re younger, you’re not really aware of the gravity of the situation or that you’re being a part of something so legendary. We did go on tour with my dad. You know, when they do “Earth Song,” they need a kid, or kids, on stage, walking around the earth, so I was even able to perform with Michael Jackson when I was really little. You’re five years old, standing in front of thousands and thousands of people. It’s a really crazy experience. But he was a really nice guy, and he and my dad had a great relationship. Honestly, that’s what inspired me a great deal to become a musician: to see how music can effect and touch people. Going to a concert to see my dad and people are crying, fainting, dancing, smiling, and laughing—it’s magical… I remember asking, “Why is she crying,” or “Why,” in general, but it was so normalized to me. It was just my dad’s work. Friends’ dads went to the office and he went to rehearsal or to play a show.
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For more on Dana Williams, visit her WEBSITE.
Photo credit of Ms. Williams by Bellus Magazine