Joy Williams Plots A New Chapter

Exclusive: GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Joy Williams talks inspiration, songwriting and the allure of the concert stage
  • Photo: Paul Morigi/
    Joy Williams
April 10, 2014 -- 1:56 pm PDT

Singer/songwriter Joy Williams recently participated in an exclusive interview in Chicago. The four-time GRAMMY winner discussed her early music inspirations, her songwriting process and prepping for live performances, among other topics.  

"These days I'm not as compelled about perfection or people [who] perform perfectly," said Williams. "I'm really drawn to the imperfections … and the rawness of what happens live onstage."

Williams released her debut solo album, Joy Williams (2001), at age 19. She followed with subsequent albums By Surprise (2002) and Genesis (2005) and two EPs, One Of Those Days (2009) and Songs From This And Songs From That (2009). "Sunny Day," a track from the latter EP, was featured in an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" and on the soundtrack to the 2010 film An Invisible Sign.

In 2008 Williams met Tennessee native John Paul White at a songwriting workshop in Nashville, Tenn. The duo formed the Civil Wars, releasing a digital live album, Live At Eddie's Attic, in 2009. Released in 2011, the Civil Wars' debut album, Barton Hollow, peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and garnered the duo their first two GRAMMY Awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the title track for 2011. Williams and White won their third GRAMMY for Best Song Written For Visual Media for 2012 for "Safe & Sound (From The Hunger Games)," along with producer T Bone Burnett and Taylor Swift.

Despite announcing a touring hiatus in November 2012, the Civil Wars reconvened for their sophomore album, 2013's The Civil Wars, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Co-produced by GRAMMY winners Charlie Peacock and Rick Rubin, along with executive producer Nate Yetton, the album features 12 tracks, 10 of which were co-written by White and Williams, including the lead single, "The One That Got Away," "Dust To Dust" and "From This Valley." The duo won their fourth career GRAMMY for the latter track, picking up Best Country Duo/Group Performance honors at the 56th GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 26. Most recently, the duo released Between The Bars, a digital EP comprising four cover songs.

Williams served as the host for the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards on April 2 in Washington, D.C. According to a recent post on her Facebook page, Williams has commenced work on a solo album.

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