Kathryn Williams (born 15 February 1974, Liverpool, England) is an English singer-songwriter who to date has released 14 studio albums, written and arranged for a multitude of artists, and was nominated for the 2000 Mercury Music Prize.
|Birth name||Kathryn Williams|
|Born||15 February 1974|
Williams released her first album, Dog Leap Stairs, on her own Caw Records label in 1999 with a budget of £80. The follow-up, Little Black Numbers, garnered a Mercury Prize nomination in 2000, bringing her to the attention of a wider public.
Williams has collaborated and recorded with artists including Chris Difford, Ted Barnes, Thea Gilmore, John Martyn, Joel Salakula, Tobias Froberg, Ed Harcourt, James Yorkston, Marry Waterson, Boo Hewerdine, and Paul Smith.
Williams sold homemade CDs of her music at her early shows which led her to setting up her own record label, CAW Records, to release her debut album Dog Leap Stairs. After her second album, Little Black Numbers, was nominated for the Mercury Prize, she signed a licensing deal with Eastwest Records. Little Black Numbers reached No. 70 in the UK Albums Chart in 2001.
Throughout her career she has toured extensively solo and with bands as well as supporting roles with David Gray, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontange, Damien Dempsey, Melanie, Be Good Tanyas, The Riptide Movement, David Gates, Beth Orton, and in 2006 she was a special guest on Tom McRae's Hotel Cafe Tour,
Her second release on the label, Crown Electric, was produced by Neil MacColl. Its lead single "Heart Shaped Stone" featured a video produced and directed by James Serafinowicz and Al Campbell.
Williams performed the title song "Beyond the Sea" for The Café, first screened on Sky1 in 2011. Her songs have also featured on episodes of How I Met Your Mother , Holby City, Weeds, David Walliams' Big Swim, and C.S.I.
In 2013, Williams was commissioned by New Writing North to produce songs in celebration of 50th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. She performed five of the resulting tunes – "When Nothing Meant Less", "Battleships", "The Mind Has Its Own Place", "Tango With Marco", and "Part Of Us" – at the 10th Durham Book Festival. Teaming up with Ed Harcourt as producer, she released Hypoxia on 15 June 2015.
In 2015 Emji, a finalist on the French TV talent show Nouvelle Star, won the 11th series singing "Toboggan (You Are The One)", a song written by Williams, David Saw and John Quarmby, which was her first single.
In 2016, Williams released her first full length jazz project with Anthony Kerr, Resonator and undertook a tour supporting Scott Matthews as well as contributing vocals to the musical Fancy Pants written by Squeeze's Chris Difford and frequent collaborator Boo Hewerdine.
Her 14th album, a collaboration with author Laura Barnett featuring songs based on Barnett's second novel, Songs From The Novel 'Greatest Hits', was released on 16 June 2017
A multi CD box set of Kathryn's solo work from 1998-2015 encompassing 10 previously released albums with 10 further CDs of bonus material was released on One Little Indian 9 August 2019.
Williams collaborated with friend / former member of punk band Delicate Vomit, Anna Spencer, on a new project entitled The Crayonettes. Williams and Spencer, both tired of the same old children's CD format, decided to make their own record using their own children as an in house focus group. They released the album Playing Out: Songs For Children & Robots from One Little Indian (6 September 2010). The Guardian wrote that "Pirates On the Bus" "sounds like the Moomins playing The Slits."
BBC.co.uk called it "An elegant, charming and quietly profound record", and MOJO magazine "A whirling magimix of hypnotic, funky loops, vintage beats and sensuous harmonies".
Songwriting and art
Williams has been involved in writing retreats and sessions that enable songwriters to share, collaborate and produce ideas as well as learn new skills and techniques. Firstly tutoring at such events alongside Tom McRae, Samantha Parton and Chris Difford whose own retreats Williams has attended. As a result, Williams has established her own writing residential courses which took place in 2014-16.
Williams was given a New Writing North commission as poet in residence at Alnwick Garden in 2006. An audio CD Words from the Garden was released in 2007 featuring writings from Williams, Nev Clay, Emma McGordon and Anna Woodford set in a soundscape by Caroline Beck, with music by Williams and Clay.
As well as creating artwork for her debut album and Two, her collaboration with Neill MacColl, Williams produced the cover art for David Rotheray's Life Of Birds album. and Mardous' "Revolution Over The Phone" single.
She was selected as a judge for the British Poetry Society's Ted Hughes Award for Poetry 2016 in conjunction with poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy... She also performed specially commissioned material for 'A Poet Laureate's Peterloo' commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre featuring Carol, Clare Shaw, Mark Pajak, presented by Ian McMillan and broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 11 August 2019
- Dog Leap Stairs (1999)
- Little Black Numbers (2000)
- Old Low Light (2002)
- Relations (2004)
- Over Fly Over (2005)
- Leave to Remain (2006)
- Two (2008) with Neill MacColl
- The Quickening (2010)
- Crown Electric (2013)
- Hypoxia (2015)
- Resonator (2016) with Anthony Kerr
- Songs From The Novel 'Greatest Hits' (2017)
- Anthology (2019)
- The Fade EP (1999)
- "Soul to Feet" (2000)
- "Jasmine Hoop" (2001)
- "No One Takes You Home" (2001)
- "In a Broken Dream" (2004)
- "Shop Window" (2005)
- "Beachy Head" (2005)
- "Hollow" (2006)
- "Come With Me" - with Neill MacColl (2008)
- "50 White Lines" (2010)
- "Heart Shaped Stone" (2013)
- "Monday Morning" (2014)
- "The Mind Has Its Own Place" (2015)
- "Mirrors" (2015)
Appearances with other artists, compilations and soundtracks
- "Field Of Play" \ "Can't Live Without" - John Martyn Glasgow Walker album (2000)
- "Day By Day" - Badmarsh & Shri Signs album (2001) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation soundtrack (2002)
- "Easy & Me" - Total Lee! : The Songs Of Lee Hazelwood album (2002)
- "Part Two" - Pedro's Early Pedro album (2003)
- "Heavy World" - Shiri East Rain album (2005)
- "Buzzin' Fly" - Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim & Jeff Buckley (2005)
- "Night Baking" - Colours Are Brighter album (2006)
- Thea Gilmore Harpo's Ghost album (2006)
- "You Already Know" - Bombay Bicycle Club "Evening Morning" single (2008)
- "Take It Easy" - Tobias Froberg Turn Heads album (2008)
- "I'm Still Saving All My Love For You" - EP's Trailer Park Scissors & Knives album (2009)
- "Crows, Raven & Rooks" - Dave Rotheray's The Life Of Birds album (2010)
- "Father Us" / "Secret Smile" - Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight The Days That Shaped Me album (2011)
- "Beyond The Sea" - The Café Sky1 TV series theme (2011)
- Chris Difford's Cashmere If You Can album (2011)
- "Kath With Rhodes" - James Yorkston I Was A Cat From A Book album (2012)
- "Julius You Still Care" / "A Simple Little Beat" - Ian McCutcheon & The Astral Rangers single (2012)
- "Hushabye" - Lisa Knapp Hidden Seam album (2013)
- "Answer Ballads" - Dave Rotheray album (2013)
- "Parliament Of Rooks" - Ed Harcourt Time Of Dust album (2014)
- "One Day At A Time" - Blue Rose Code Ballads Of Peckham Rye album (2014)
- "Alone" - Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl album (2015)
- Beyond The Serenade - Alex Cornish album (2015)
- "I Can Hold You Back" - RM Hubbert Telling The Trees album (2016)
- Pieces - Michele Stodart album (2016)
- Fancy Pants - Chris Difford & Boo Hewerdine album (2016)
Notable live appearances
- Tribute To Nick Drake, Barbican, London 25 September 1999
- Daughters Of Albion - Barbican, London 3 February 2006 (with Norma Waterson, June Tabor, Eliza Carthy, Sheila Chandra & Lou Rhodes)
- Once In A Blue Moon: A Tribute To Lal Waterson - Cecil Sharp House, London (with Eliza Carthy, Norma Waterson, James Yorkston & Martin Carthy)
- Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys - Barbican, London 28 July 2008 (with Norma Waterson, Teddy Thompson, Eliza Carthy & Robyn Hitchcock)
- Twisted Christmas- Barbican, London 11 December 2008 (with Jarvis Cocker, Sandy Dillon, Neill MacColl, Frank Sidebottom, The Smoke Fairies & Mary Margaret O'Hara)
- Thompson Family Christmas, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 17 December 2008 (with Linda Thompson, Richard Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Bert Jansch, Ed Harcourt, & The Unthanks)
- A Maritime Evening, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (with Robyn Hitchcock, Graham Coxon, & KT Tunstall)
- Songs In the Key Of London -Barbican, London, 9 March 2010 (with Chris Difford, Suggs, Robyn Hitchcock, Jools Holland, Elvis Costello, Glenn Tilbrook & Chaz Jankel)
- Love & Other Crimes: The Songs Of Lee Hazelwood - Barbican, London - 25 October 2015 (with Ed Harcourt, Matthew E White, Josh T Pearson, Flo Morrissey & Fran Healy)
- Blood & Roses: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl, The Sage, Gateshead 5 November 2015 (with Peggy Seeger, Martin Carthy, Seth Lakeman, Eliza Carhy, Marry Waterson & The Unthanks)
- People Powered: Concert For Corbyn - Brighton Dome, Brighton 16 December 2016 ( with Paul Weller, Robert Wyatt, The Farm, Temples, Danny Thompson & Stealing Sheep )
- "Kathryn Williams | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Kathryn Williams | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "Mercury Prize - 2000 Shortlist - Albums of the Year". Mercuryprize.com. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- McDaid, Carol (29 July 2000). "Sweet Williams". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "How we met: Kathryn Williams & Paul Smith". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 604. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Kathryn Williams - Contributors - Greenbelt Festival". Greenbelt.org.uk. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Hypoxia by Kathryn Williams reviews | Any Decent Music". Anydecentmusic.com. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- "Toboggan (You are the One) - Emji | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Chris Difford & Boo Hewerdine - Fancy Pants". Discogs.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "Laura Barnett to collaborate with Mercury-nominated songstress on second novel | The Bookseller". Thebookseller.com. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- Lester, Paul (27 August 2010). "The Crayonettes (No 856)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- Knott, Alex. "Kathryn Williams – new band, new album, new single + tour details | Music News". Frost Magazine. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- Mulholl, Garry. "BBC - Music - Review of The Pond - The Pond". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
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- "Kathryn Williams - a tutor at Arvon". Arvon. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- ""Sound Idea" - The Journal (Newcastle, England), February 27, 2007 | Online Research Library: Questia". Questia.com. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "David Rotheray - The Life Of Birds". Discogs. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- "The Mardous - Revolution Over The Phone". Discogs. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- Dowling, Tim (11 December 2014). "Can I write and record a new Christmas single in a fortnight?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Ted Hughes Award – The Poetry Society". poetrysociety.org.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "BBC Radio 4 - A Poet Laureate's Peterloo". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Spencer, Neil (11 February 2006). "Dark tales of the riverbank". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "BBC - Electric Proms 2007 - A Tribute to Lal Waterson". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Twisted Christmas - 2008". barbican.org.uk. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- Denselow, Robin (18 December 2008). "A Thompson Family Christmas". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- Green, By Thomas H. "Songs in the Key of London at the Barbican, review". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Love and Other Crimes: The Songs of Lee Hazlewood". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- Wonfor, Sam. "A folk-soaked line up of which dreams are made will assemble at Sage Gateshead for a tribute to Ewan MacColl". nechronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Momentum aims to power political revival with new series of pop concerts | LabourList". LabourList | Labour's biggest independent grassroots e-network. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- Sperktorholic (27 September 2013), Kathryn Williams (Ft. Eliza Carthy and Lou Rhodes) - This Woman's Work, retrieved 24 March 2016
- KennyZilch2009 (22 April 2010), Ballad of Easy Rider - John Head, Kathryn Williams & Romeo Stoddart, retrieved 24 March 2016