MW: I got my start in gospel music through my dad, Leon “Pop” Williams and my older brothers, Frank and Huey Williams of the Jackson Southernnaires. Frank later became the founder of the Mississippi Mass Choir. But before all that success, he was an original Williams Brothers first. We were organized in the late 60’s and recorded our first Williams Brothers album in 1973.
KNB: Hands down, your success and longevity has earned you the right to be categorized as a legend, but I know it hasn’t always been easy. What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome on the road to become the respected artist we know today?
MW: One of the things we were concerned with over the years was that we did not want to be categorized as just a quartet group. We wanted our music to cross all genres and touch people from all walks of life. And we thank God that He allowed us to achieve that goal by writing and producing music that everyday people can relate to and identify with.
KNB: That's the same way I feel about my fiction writing. I want all readers to be touched by my message too. I have colleagues who dislike being labeled as "Christian writers" because they believe it limits their appeal to the book-buying public. As a gospel recording artist, do you embrace the identification as such, or would you rather just be generalized simply as an entertainer, without the Christianity label?
MW: I like being labeled as both. There’s always been a certain amount of entertainment in our music. But at the end of the day, above all, we want our music to be remembered as our ministry.
KNB: Oh, it will be. No doubt about that. Now, this question is always a difficult one to answer when people pose it to me regarding my books; but I'm going to put it out there to you about your music. Over the years, you’ve written and recorded many songs with The Williams Brothers and as a solo artist. Among your collection, do you have one song that is your personal favorite? If so, which is it and why does is resonate so fondly with you?
MW: “Prayer Made the Difference” from the This Is Your Night album is one of my favorites because it is one of those songs that helps me get through a lot of issues and struggles in my personal life. Another favorite of mine is “I’m Still Here” from the Still Here CD.
KNB: Why is that one a favorite?
KNB: Speaking of things you've been through, what has been your greatest heartbreak or disappointment to date (personal or professional) and how did you survive it?
MW: My greatest heartbreak would probably be losing my brother, Frank, because he was not only my brother but also my best friend. But it was his contribution to the world through his music that helped me to survive. The song “Special Place” from my Never Seen Your Face CD which was dedicated in his memory sums it up best how close we were and what he meant to me.
KNB: I remember when Frank died in '93. The song, "Your Grace and Mercy" that he recorded with The Mississippi Mass Choir is still a favorite of mine. And as you know, "Never Seen Your Face" is my favorite Melvin Williams song. I remember cheering from my sofa as I watched you accept a Stellar for that album. As a singer/musician/composer, you've won many awards for outstanding music. Is there anything in your career that you have not accomplished that you hope to achieve in the future?
MW: Lately, I’ve done quite a bit of co-hosting with Dr. Bobby Jones. I’d like to do more television and radio hosting and a movie about the life story of The Williams Brothers. And win a Grammy if that’s in God’s plan. You know we’ve been beat out six times between Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker and The Blind Boys. Maybe we should get some dark glasses? (laughing) Just kidding. Y'all know I do have a sense of humor. They’re friends of mine and I’m happy for them.
KNB: You definitely deserve a Grammy, so I hope it's God's will for you to win one soon. In the meantime, what’s next for you? Any new projects on the horizon?
MW: The Williams Brothers just released our first album in over 5 years entitled “The Journey Continues” that is in stores now. Other new projects are a possible “Best of Melvin Williams” in '09, a new Neal Roberson LIVE and The Fellas featuring Pastor Tim Rogers.
KNB: I recently purchased "The Journey Continues" and it's a great project. Well worth the 5-year wait. I highly recommend it. And I'll surely be first in line for the "Best of" album. Maybe we can give you a CD release party for it on the cruise next year...(keeping my fingers crossed). In closing, I'm going to throw out a couple of words and you tell me your favorite in these categories. Just a fun way for my readers to get a feel for Melvin Williams, the man. First, what's your favorite color?
MW: Earthtone colors (brown, tan, etc.)
That's a wrap! I know how busy your are, Melvin, so thanks for lending Blessed2Write a few minutes of your time. Your talent for writing words that make music is a gift to the world and I pray much continued success to you and The Williams Brothers.
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