Joy Williams Talks Solo Album 'Venus'
The vulnerability and honesty shine throughout Venus, Williams' new solo album out this week. She says that she didn't skirt around the things she was feeling, like the confusion over the dissolution of her duo with John Paul White, who she hasn't spoken to in person since their very last concert together in London in 2012. Instead, she channeled it all into her songwriting.
"There's something about the last few years that I've been through that have totally broken me in a lot of ways," she told the audience at a recent concert at New York's Gramercy Theatre. "But you can choose to break down or you can choose to break open and I'm really, really proud of the fact that the breaking open has been happening for me. We all have that choice and we all make that in our own ways, less gracefully and definitely not perfectly."
The "breaking open" isn't always easy for Williams. She had written 80 songs for the album but when she was halfway through she hit a wall. But thanks to a friendship with Justin Timberlake, he introduced her to a new collaborator, songwriter/producer Matt Morris, who pushed her out of her comfort zone.
"Matt was the one that sat me down and immediately wasn't into my reservation and my holding back," Williams recalls. "We went into a bit of a clunky co-write and he just stopped and said, 'I feel like you are so afraid of saying something wrong that you're at risk of saying nothing at all.' And I started bawling which is not a normal thing for me."
Williams said it was something she needed to hear. Once she regained her composure she told Morris, "I would just love to write a happy song. One day I will." She says it was an inner hope for her to be in a different place than what she was feeling. Morris then urged her to start the song from that perspective and soon "One Day I Will" formed.
"Every line from that song in particular is just a conversation. It's not manicured. It's simply what I said to Matt," she says. "That was a big turning point for me where I gave myself more freedom to think and speak." Read more here.
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