Among the group of artists we’ve had in the Lake Effect Performance Studio, singer-songwriter Hayward Williams has been a consistent local performer. However, this time around we feature Williams in our Pandemic Performers series, where we highlight some of the work coming from Milwaukee artists and performers at a time when many of us are still isolated.
Williams’ latest album, Every Color Blue, was slated to be recorded live over the spring. As the coronavirus pandemic surfaced and continues, Williams and the musicians on the album had to adjust course. Once the band began to quarantine, they decided continuing to work on the music would help them feel productive.
"We didn’t want to compromise the original vision. We kind of wanted to have this new constraint be something that we could use to kind of steer us creatively, and something that we felt like we wanted to try and rise above," he says.
As he began working from home, the songs began to grow. He would reach out to friends or other artists who were at home — everyone they talked to was hungry to be involved in some project during the quarantine.
The album settled with eight original songs and four songs written by friends.
"Fades Away" started as a simple ode to memories that disappear, but Williams says recording it during quarantine, it felt like it took on a new meaning. "It kinda felt more like the things that were fading away were everyday freedoms, real freedom, even family members that were fading away or already gone," he says.
"Put Down The Fight" was originally written for a previous album he wrote with friend John Hardin, but they felt the song just didn't fit the style of that album. "I still wanted to do it and I love John's voice, and so I just kind of made him sing it," says Williams.
Despite people not being able to physically come together and enjoy the album, he hopes that the music reminds people what it's like to feel close to one another.