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Milwaukee Singer-Songwriter Chronicles Emotional Struggles On New Album

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Milwaukee’s Hayward Williams learned to combat panic attacks while writing his latest effort, The Reef. 

Williams says he came to the end of his rope after a flight from Australia to San Francisco. He wound up in the hospital after experiencing a severe panic attack. “I was living in the fear of that for a while and a lot of the songs came out of that,” he says.

In attempt to diffuse his anxiety, he started performing songs in a lower key, slower tempo and even putting himself in sensory isolation before shows. It took his sister’s persistent calling, though, to get Williams into therapy.

The Reef’s energy is a result of recording his band playing live in ​a​ room together. “It’s the only way I find I get excited about the record,” he says of the spontaneous recording process. “You never know when you’re going to get something amazing,”

He will celebrate the release of The Reef at Anodyne Coffee this Sunday night with Jeffrey Foucault.

Williams performed the following at WUWM:

  1. Know It Now
  2. High Street
  3. The Reef
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Trapper Schoepp
Trapper Schoepp became Lake Effect's assistant producer in August 2019.