By Tiffany L. Riley
There have been so many music artists to come out of the St. Louis, MO area. A lot of them, such as Tina Turner, Miles Davis, and Nelly, have gone on to become successful stars . I recently got the chance to listen to a new upcoming R&B singer from St. Louis named DAMIOU (pronounced Damien) WILLIAMS. He has been making a lot of noise here on the local scene. I sat down with Damiou a few days ago to talk about his journey in life and how he got into music. I really enjoyed this interview. He is a very humble person who’s driven to take his music career to the next level while making a difference in peoples’ lives. Here is our wonderful interview:
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: What’s going’ on Damiou?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: How you doin’ Ms. Tiffany?
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY : I’m doin’ great! How about yourself?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Oh I’m doin’ real good. Just very excited about this interview!
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: (laughing) I am too! I have heard a lot of great things about you and I got the chance to listen to some of your music. I am very impressed with your talent. I couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to meet you and to hear your story.
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Well thank you. That means a lot to me. It’s definitely been a long road for me but I am blessed to be here and do what I love to do, which is sing.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: You are very down to earth Damiou. Okay let’s get started…..How long have you been singing?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Well I’ve been singing since I was about 7 years old. My grandfather Bernard Williams passed away back on March 9, 1996. My biological father I only met one time in my life and he bought me a soda for 35 cents. At the time my older sister and I were living in Indianola, Mississippi with my grandmother Deloris Williams before we relocated to St. Louis, MO in 2000. My mother Gwen Williams left me and my siblings behind and moved to Texas to begin a new life. She also got married down there too. My grandmother was like a mother to me and really stepped up and took care of me and my sister. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know where I would be.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: What made you want to sing?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: When I was 16 years old I was hanging out on my porch with some friends of mine….SHOUT OUT TO BRITTANY AND COOKIE! At the time I wanted to be a rapper. I was pretty good at flowing. These two girls asked me if I could sing…I told them yeah I can. So they asked me to sing a song for them. I sung for them and they was like WOW DAMIOU U CAN SING! Brittney and Cookie told me that I need to sing instead of rap. They said almost everybody can rap but not everyone can sing. Soon after that I started working with a vocal coach to tune my voice up.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Who are some R&B singers you would consider inspirations?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: It’s so many, but if I had to narrow it down I would say Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Miguel, August Alsina. They are all great R&B singers.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Who are some people you have gotten a chance to work with?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Well back in 2008 at Shock City Studio here in St. Louis I met Bradd Young. Bradd Young is a producer and R&B singer. He had the hit song “Grown Man”. My manager Eric Pinkett at the time and myself were in a studio session when I saw Bradd walk in. I asked my manager, “Who is that?”. Bradd had on this leather coat and was wearing an afro. He came in looking like a superstar. I’ve been working with him on songs ever since. I have a song called “She Movin’ It” featuring Bradd Young that I did a few years ago. We even shot a music video for the song (You Tube under Damiou Williams Music). There have been other artists I have worked with as well, Mo Lyric, Bell Davis, Lil’ Foe a.ka. Mr. GNarly, Tray D, and City. I also worked with Charlie Free and I actually opened up for her at Blueberry Hill in Delmar Loop at her album release party. It’s always a great thing being able to work with other artists.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Who would you love to have a R&B/Hip Hop duet with and why?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Wow, it’s so many! But if I had to choose then for the R&B side I would say Trey Songz. Trey Songz does the same type of music that I like to do. He does the “GROWN & SEXY” type of R&B. Now for the Hip Hop side I have two artists: B.O.B and Yo Gotti. B.O.B has a huge fan base. He has had the ability to cross over onto the POP charts. Yo Gotti keeps it real. All his music is about real life and the struggle. He started from the bottom and worked hard to be known.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Those are all good choices (laughing), I’m a fan of all of them. Do you have any mixtapes/albums or currently working on one?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: I have a project I’m working on with Bradd Young . I am branching out to different producers as well. I’m working with an artist name Mai-Lee and rapper Vega Heartbreak on the project.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Are there any local venues that you have done and/or can be seen at in the future?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: I have done different private parties, casinos…..I did a concert in Cairo, Illinois. I have done concerts at The Loft ,The Rustic Goat, The Coliseum, and The Ambassador. I also did a school tour where I played at 20 different school in St. Louis. That tour was called The Integrity Tour.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: What are some venues you haven’t done yet that you would like to do?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: I would really like to play The Fox Theater. You have more of a personal connection with the audience. Another venue that would be my dream to have a concert at is Madison Square Garden. That place right there is to me the ultimate venue to have a concert at.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: Five years from now I see myself as being successful, headlining my own tour, being well known globally, being an Icon, and being a better person than I was five years ago.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Is there anything else you would like your fans or people who may not be familiar with you to know?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: I’ve had some personal trying times in my life. My grandfather passed away, my mother moved to another state to begin a brand new life, and still I managed to get through all of that. We all go through things in life ,and just because you have terrible situations that you go through doesn’t mean you have to turn to the streets. I am drug free, I graduated from high school (Bayless High School in St. Louis) and I been pursuing my dream of being a singer. I go around to different schools in the St. Louis area to talk to the kids and let them know that they can follow their dreams, respect yourself, and stay on the right path. I had a time where I was hanging with the wrong crowd in high school, but I was able to have mentors guide me to a positive lifestyle. I was also a mentor to a student name Deontay Pearson. Deontay was basically hanging around the wrong crowd and got shot several times. The shooting left him paralyzed . Deontay turned his life around and is now an inspiring rapper.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Any shoutouts you want to give?
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: I wanna give a shoutout to MAMA LAURA , her sons Brett, Dale, Trey, and the rest of the family. She is an incredible woman that took me under her wing when I was a teenager. I also wanna give a shoutout to BIG COUNTRY (Security). He’s been going through chemotherapy for his cancer and always manages to still support me. Need to show some love to my family….my three sisters: Kim Williams, Bernadette Williams, and Gwendella Williams, and my brother Andre Crowley. I want to shoutout Mr. William CaldwelI and his wife Reva. They are my photographers. My friend JAY R. You’ve been like a brother to me from day one since I moved to St. Louis. I also want to shoutout DJ EPIC for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be featured on TEAM EPIC website. Also my own website will be up soon damiousworld.com. You can follow me on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM. I will be in the MAY DAY parade and DJ EPIC will be spinning for me. I also would like to thank my fans and other people who have supported me and TEAM DAMIOU WILLIAMS!!!!
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: There it is!!! To check out some videos by Damiou Williams, go to youtube.com and go to DAMIOU WILLIAMS MUSIC. Thanks for the interview Damiou!
DAMIOU WILLIAMS: My pleasure Ms. Tiffany.
Tiffany LaShonda Riley