Soul to Love with FoXx Williams
Artisans Exposed Projects presents: One Flow: A series of short interviews with uniquely passionate performers and artisans.
By: Jojo D
Nothing But Soul!
I AM THANKFUL! Thankful to all creative warriors who, throughout all, commit their time and intelligence to aspects of life that are so definitively beneficial to the substance of humanity and it's needs. We don't often take the time to introspectively absorb the intricate realities that surround us daily but they are there...everywhere. These are the people who create, develop, instill and maintain the valuable commodities that defines large portions of our existence or tug at our heart strings or inspires us, diversely. One of these influential, infinitely 'all of all' entities, is what we know as MUSIC. It lures us in, seduces us, propagates unity & chaos and encourages the strength to achieve great things. Music feeds the mind, body and soul! One such music maker is a Scarborough breed, R & B singer and songwriter.
Who: FoXx Williams
What: I am a singer/songwriter and international recording artist.
Where: Canada, Jamaica and Italy presently. This year I will be releasing singles in Poland and Germany as well.
When: I began my journey at the tender age of about 7 years old. I used to sing into the handle of the vacuum cleaner while my mother was cleaning. As a teenager I spent time in various singing groups working on my craft. I would say that my professional journey began in 2004 when I was given the opportunity to open up for Lloyd Banks of G-Unit in Bethany West Virginia.
Why: I do what I do because I love it. I enjoy music and had formal training in piano in my younger years which has helped me in my song writing craft in building building melodies, harmonies and back up vocals.
How: I create melodies to help illustrate story and use my West Indian heritage to give my music a little twist. I enjoy performing live and getting people who may not necessarily know my music to get up dance, bob their heads or simply smile. I like to write songs that are inspirational, uplifting or just fun music that the average person can relate to.
Your given name is Lavel Williams but you are known as FoXx. What is the inspiration behind that?
As a kid my friends and I would get into a little trouble here and there like any teenager does. I got the name FoXx because I was quick and slick and always found a way to get us out of trouble.
Music has always played a huge part of my life, even as a wee child. And as a child I developed a bond with music through exploring my parent’s diverse collection. When we would go to ‘friends of my parents’ homes, I would explore their albums as well. I would sit and fascinate about what it would be like to be a famous singer….and I’d dance like it’s no one’s bizznizz.. Do you recall any of moments that may have established your desire to become a singer?
I remember attending a summer camp in Toronto at West Scarborough Boys and Girls Club and having my two older twin cousins sign me up for a talent show. They had me lip-sync to R. Kellys' "Bump & Grind". On my way home I actually sang the lyrics and surprised myself that I could actually carry the notes very well. That was the first time I really realized that I had a voice on me and not just the desire to sing.
What came first...song writing or singing?
Singing has always come first. My earliest memories are of singing in church choirs, school choirs and doing various talent shows in a group. I was never one to want to perform on my own.
How would you describe your music and who are you writing for?
My audience is everyone. I cover EDM, progressive house, R&B, hip hop and also reggae. I like to merge genres to widen the audience. My target audience is anyone who appreciates good music and loves to dance.
Are you educated in any musical disciplines?
Yes. I was trained formally via the royal conservatory of music in piano. I got up to grade 6 before I quit. I must say that my musical background helps me to build complex harmonies and melodies.
What are your top 3 musical genres that lend inspiration to your style?
Reggae, House & RnB
Where do your roots lie and what, if any, influences does it provide you in your journey?
I roots are in Gospel and R&B. This has helped me with strong vocals and the ability to be versatile in my musical delivery.
As exciting as live performance is, it also puts us in a very vulnerable place. This is particularly true in the case of 'first time' experiences. Tell us about your first live stage engagement.
My first live stage performance was in an elementary school play called "Clowns". I played Silly Willy and had my first real solo. I was very nervous but I had a great show and subsequently my performance got picked up by TVO Canada for two kids TV shows "Stuff" & "Off the Hook".
List your top 5 personal influencers, musical or otherwise?
2.) Parents (Lance and Velma Williams
3.) Bob Marley
4.) Michael Jackson
5.) Beres Hammond
Commitment is key in any life flow, if you want to succeed. Have you sacrificed anything to be where you are today?
Following any type of dream requires sacrifice. In order to be a musician it requires you to either be signed or have some sort of financial backing. In order to make a real push in the industry I've had to make a lot of scarifies such as time, sleep, family time and time with friends. Music is my first love so I have to make sure that I put in that work. I gave up a teaching job in West Virginia to return to Toronto to work on my craft in a city that is musically booming.
In your experience, what are your top 5 attributes one needs to successfully pursue a career in the music industry? Determination Dedication Flexibility/Versatility Stage Presence Vocal Ability (continuing to strengthen my vocals every year.)
Your music is known worldwide. Where do your greatest fans live? (Internationally) My greatest fans are in Italy. It was amazing to walk the streets of Sorrento and people were walking up to me asking me if I was FoXx. They would say Call Me (the name of the song) and ask for a picture. It was such a humbling experience and it honestly gave my musical career the much needed encouragement it needed.
On a scale of 1-10, where does your Canadian fan base rank and your thoughts on why. (10 being best) My Canadian fan base I'd say would probably be a 3. No disrespect to my Canadian fans, but I find that Canada only backs the music that they are told to back. When a song is big in the United States, we as Canadians jump on it. I find that it is very difficult to make it in Canada because our market is much smaller and complex than most places. I love the fact that I'm getting fans now all across Canada, however, its been a long time coming.
Not everyone can like your work and with technology and devices, transparency can be a benefit or an obstacle. How do you handle the ‘haters’ and ‘naysayers’ out there who spout negativity about the industry, people you admire or know or even about you?
Haters make you stronger. If people didn't hate...I probably would have given up already. It's the fact that when people say or have said "you'll never make it"...or "you're doing the wrong kind of music", it pushed me to prove them wrong. So to the people that gave me the drive that I needed....Thank you and God bless!!!
Not every Artist has the benefit of being backed, financially or emotionally by a supportive family and personal circle. How important is this type of supportive backing to your success? Why?
My family have supported me from day one. They've seen me be signed to smaller labels, invested in my projects, came out to see me perform when there was only 20 people in the crowd and probably 15 of them were my cousins. From 20 people shows to joining Karl Wolf to do a half time show at the A.C.C for the Raptors home opener, my family has remained a constant support system and have always encouraged me to keep my faith in God as I pursue my dreams. Anything is possible through God.
What last piece of advise can you offer to those looking to find success in the music industry?
Be true to yourself. Think of your target audience. Create a team (managers, PR, Radio Trackers etc... you cannot do it alone) Get an education so that you have a back up plan and an additional source of income. (I'm a teacher who is currently a social worker.) Do what you have to do so that you can do what you want to do. Never forget to give thanks to God.
What is coming up next for you?
I'll be working on 2 EP's this year. One in Reggae and one in Dance/EDM/Progressive House. I'm also planning on visiting Portugal to check out the music scene there and to see if I can make any connections out there as well.
Where can people find your music?
iTunes, Beatport, Youtube, Sound Cloud
Facebook: FoXx Williams
Thank you FoXx for being a creative warrior! Your journey shows true conviction and commitment. Your pursuit of happiness is and will continue to be rewarded as you grow musically and we look forward to hearing a lot more from you in the years to come!
Artisans Exposed Projects is a Toronto based Blog highlighting the solo artisan, the creative warrior, the 'One'.
One challenges conventional ideals on all fronts. One is true to One's creative self and exhibits endless passion for One’s unique endeavours. One is resilient and steadfast in the pursuance of One’s flow and gains strength while streaming through the face of adversity.
Artisans Exposed Projects is a monthly publication for Artisans Exposed Projects Blog & G5 Canadian Urban. AEP features Toronto's most interesting solo artisans, so if that's you and would like to be featured…and you reside in Toronto, send a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share your Flow!
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