It’s likely that you have seen Kenny Williams perform. In his acclaimed 25 year musical career, he has lit up stages nationally and internationally, and spent nearly a decade performing on Broadway in New York City. Now, on January 31, 2019, Kenny steps into his favorite role to date with the release of his self-titled debut EP, Kenny Williams Sings.
Kenny Williams Sings is the result of a lifelong dream, clarified in a transformative moment while commuting to work one autumn day. “I was on the subway on my way to the theatre, and there was this whisper from inside of me that said, "You’re making a living doing what you love, but not in the way you always dreamt you would,” Kenny recalls. “And, this didn’t come at a bad time in my life or career. I was in a great space. To be living and performing in New York City was a dream come true. But that hadn’t always been my dream. I always envisioned myself as a solo artist, touring and recording, sharing my heart and soul through song.” In that one moment, Kenny was instantly reunited with his heart’s true desire and re-awakened to his original dream.
The Austin, Texas-based artist is a tornado of talent and charisma. Kenny wields a four-octave vocal range, and a light-from-within aura. At his core, Kenny is a pop artist with a refined palette, carefully choosing his repertoire based purely on emotional resonance; if a song hits his heart, he performs it. His experience as an acclaimed Broadway performer and as solo singer merge on Kenny Williams Sings. In this elegant guitar and vocal duo setting, Kenny proves to be a storyteller in song using delicate vocal phrasing to convey emotionality.
The Kenny Williams Sings EP boasts 6 classics from the American Songbook, and a stunning version of Van Morrison’s slinky “Moondance.” Throughout this program of songs, jazz guitarist Art Carvajal accompanies Kenny with sensitive dexterity. The resulting EP harnesses universal sentiments of love and longing from a selection of songs indelibly etched in the world’s music consciousness. “At the end of the day, I am a pop singer, and these songs were once the pop music of their day,” Kenny says.
The EP opens with a buttery version of the Mann/Evans chestnut “No Moon At All.” Here, Kenny navigates the melody with sweet swagger above slinky and sultry guitar accompaniment. He is faithful to the melody, but makes it his own with his tender soulful vibrato and lovely languid flow. His quiet-fire version of “Fly Me To The Moon” is a stunner, and a live show fan favorite. His imaginative reading brings forth a haunting beauty often lost in the tune’s typically brisk presentation. “I am a balladeer at heart. I love songs with yearning and deep emotions,” Kenny affirms. Another EP standout is his smoky rendition of “For All We Know” which showcases his delicate power with dynamics to convey subtle emotions.
Kenny’s fifteen years of living and performing in New York City included his Broadway debut in Disney’s hit musical The Lion King, as well as roles in the world premiere production of The Color Purple: The Musical, produced by Oprah Winfrey; and starring performances in the national tours of the musicals Grease! and Smokey Joe’s Café. Kenny also made numerous solo artist appearances at some of NYC’s finest clubs, including Joe’s Pub, B.B. King’s, S.O.B’s, BAM Café, and the legendary jazz club, Birdland.
Now living in Austin, Texas, where he was born and raised, Kenny is more active than ever. He has returned to his roots performing at Zach Theatre where he began his meteoric theatrical career. Here, Kenny has appeared in the critically acclaimed Sophisticated Ladies (Raconteur), where he starred opposite Tony Award winner Jennifer Holiday. He also appeared in Bob Telson’s Gospel at Colonus (The Friend), and in a rockin' new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, where he originated the role of the unforgettable and lovable Ghost of Christmas Past. Although theatre is still a prominent part of his life, Kenny’s primary focus is on his individual vocal expression and sharing music that is emotionally moving and heartfelt. When not on the theatrical stage, you can find him performing at various music venues around Austin. Put simply, Kenny Williams was born to entertain, and his star shines brightly. His voice is a true gift, while his spirit, energy, and passion will bring you back for more. The song lives on in Kenny Williams.