‘WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE?’
THE NEW ALBUM OUT MARCH 29 ON WIRE BOAT RECORDINGS
INCLUDES THE BBC 6MUSIC PLAYLISTED LEAD SINGLE
‘EARLY MORNING RAIN’ PLUS NEW SINGLE ‘IT’S DARK NOW’
‘What Did You Want To Be?’ is the new album from acclaimed singer-songwriter Tom Williams, to be released March 29, 2019 on Wire Boat Recordings and available to pre-order. Produced by Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane), ‘What Did You Want To Be’ is the follow up to 2017’s career-high ‘All Change’, which placed No.9 on BBC 6Music’s Albums Of The Year and saw Williams headlining a sold-out Bush Hall as part of a major UK tour.
Williams recently unveiled a brilliant video for new single ‘It’s Dark Now’, the follow-up to the BBC 6Music B-listed lead single ‘Early Morning Rain’. Described as “a joyous, funny, and oddly moving testament to that sense of youthful innocence” by Clash Magazine, the video stars some of children Williams teaches guitar and songwriting to in Kent, check it out here
Tom Williams is a songwriter’s songwriter. It’s a craft over which he obsesses, and the love of which he passes on with wide-eyed, fleet-fingered passion to his pupils. His expertise with the form has seen him build up a passionate fanbase over the ten years in which he’s released albums, first as Tom Williams & The Boat, then under “just” his name.
Core to the thrill of ‘What Did you Want To Be?’ is Williams’ collaboration with Rice-Oxley. In his studio in the Sussex countryside he introduced Williams to his Twenty Song Day exercise: a 12-hour shift requiring roughly two new songs written each hour (and an hour for lunch). Williams, who undertook three such days, admits that you quickly empty yourself of ideas. “You’ve said everything that’s in your brain, and soon you’re doing automatic writing.”
But as Rice-Oxley explains, “it doesn’t matter what you come up with – it’s about being creative quickly. It’s breaking through the voice that tell you what’s wrong your ideas.”
Three songs on ‘What Did You Want To Be?’ arose in those session. ‘Some Time’ is a stop-you-in-your-tracks acoustic song coloured with Mellotron about a childhood friend’s battles with psychosis. ‘Stay Afloat’ is a pacy, almost galloping number on which Williams’ vocal is double-tracked, sounding higher and lighter, evoking the modern Seventies Americana of Midlake. Then there’s ‘Keeping It In’, placed purposefully next in the running order by this champion of the architecture of a two-sided vinyl album.
“Sonically, that and ‘Stay Afloat’ songs have the most of Tim on them – all those synth sounds. We both love Lucky Town- Tunnel of Love-era Springsteen, Dire Straits and War on Drugs,” says Tom. “You say, ‘I love the synth on Born in the USA’, and Tim goes: ‘Oh, I’ve got that synth!’ He’s as big a nerd with all that stuff as me.”
Sparkling and insightful, inspiring and comforting, warm and tender, rocking and rolling and soothing, ‘What Did You Want To Be?’ is exactly the album Tom Williams wanted to make. One week, one studio, a wingman-mentor, his five- piece live band – Jack Clayton (drums), Jake Mehew (keys), Igor Dall’Avanzi (bass), Ant Vicary (guitar) – and 11 pitch-perfect songs. And as for the album title…
“It’s a question I’ve been asked by kids I’ve taught,” Williams explains. “What kids mean when they ask that is: did it go to plan? And: am I gonna be OK? So these songs have a lot of stuff about your trajectory, or how you’re not on the one you thought you’d be on – even though I absolutely love my job and can’t believe I get to do what I want to do.”
Tom recently launched the Tom Williams Podcast, the first two episodes in this regular series are available to listen to with more to follow. Says Tom, “I wanted to expand on the amazing cast of inspirational people who helped in the making of the new album, plus interviews and sessions with fantastic songwriters new and established.”
Williams will embark on an extensive headline tour following the album’s release, including a show at London’s Scala on May 16.
STREAM ‘WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE?’ OR DOWNLOAD MP3s
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