The unsung heroes of the Nashville music scene, songwriters seldom command the spotlight that performing artists do, but hit-maker D. Vincent Williams is a worthy exception to the rule. With undeniable talent as a gifted–and chart-topping–songwriter, backed by years of performing experience, this hit-maker is ready to take center stage.
“I was singing before I could really talk, music just came naturally to me,” remembers Williams. “Songwriting is no different. I hear the melody in my head and then take notes of the pictures that come to mind. The ability to sing, play and write has given me an unlimited freedom of expression.”
Born in Houston and raised in the eastern woods of the Lone Star State, Williams was baptized in gospel music. While his mother and sister played piano in church, Williams eagerly observed and naturally learned the skill. By the age of eight, he was singing and playing on his own. On a borrowed guitar, he mastered the chords and taught himself to play, and by age 11, he had a guitar of his own and his sights set on a music career. It was with that first guitar that, at age 14, Williams wrote his first song, “Wedding Bands,” for his mother.
His commitment to music was steadfast, and during his time at Stephen F. Austin University, Williams and some friends started “Five’s A Crowd,” a harmonious group that played regularly at local hot spots in Nacogdoches, Texas, and quickly grew to be one of the state’s biggest college music sensations. Home to soon-to-be-legends like Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks, Dallas dominated the revival of the increasingly popular classic Country sound in the early ‘90s, so Williams and his band migrated to the Big D to test their mettle in Country music.
In 1995, fueled by his growing focus on music as a career and the break-up of “Five’s A Crowd,” Williams decided to head to Music City. Plagued by fear and uncertainly, he nearly turned around in Little Rock, Arkansas, but music gave him the courage to drive on, and he penned a personal song of support, “Too Late to Turn Back Now,” on the side of the road.
Unlike many Nashville newcomers, Williams met with immediate connections and success. After just a few hours in the city, he landed a job flipping steaks, and a co-worker invited him to a writers round, where he met several other successful songwriters. Six months later, the 24-year-old Texas troubadour landed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell and, soon after, signed his first record deal with Columbia Records.
After two years but no record, Williams parted ways with Columbia. Within a week, singer/songwriter Ty Herndon asked to cut one of his songs, guaranteeing him a single and the chance to sing backup. As promised, Herndon released the song, and Williams landed his first charted single with the No. 3, “Hands of a Working Man” in 1999. In 2002, Williams followed up with the Rascal Flatts’ blockbuster, “I’m Movin’ On,” the 2003 Academy of Country Music Awards’ Song of the Year.
Move on Williams did, chasing a calling yet to be fulfilled. “I’d always been told that there are only two kinds of record deals: ones that work and ones that don’t,” said Williams. It was a disheartening stage of his career, but Williams soon met insightful mentor and seasoned record producer Keith Stegall, who encouraged Williams with a simple truth: “If you have the music, the rest will fall into place.” Stegall, who would become a key catalyst in giving Williams’ career its due, couldn’t have been more right: In 2005, Williams signed a publishing deal with Bigger Picture Group, and his cut vs. single ratio soared as he penned hit after hit, including the multi-week No. 1 charting song on all three Country charts, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” recorded by James Otto in 2008.
Over the course of his remarkable songwriting career, Williams has landed cuts on albums that have sold more than 15 million copies, recorded by esteemed artists including Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Jason Aldean, and Lee Ann Womack. “I didn’t choose songwriting, it chose me,” says Williams. Still, he never lost his drive to take his talents to the stage and the studio.
Today, with a close-knit team of supporters by his side, Williams is ready to wrap up some long unfinished business: his first full-length album. “It’s more than good fortune, I feel it’s a gift from God and a responsibility I believe I need to fulfill,” says Williams of the long-awaited opportunity. Bigger Picture Group has slated D. Vincent Williams for a 2012 album release, which will feature self-penned future classics “Seventeen” and “Those Wings” as well as “Down By The River and “Plain And Simple” and will showcase Williams’ soulful sound and piano prowess. Finally, this gifted songwriter and performer will have the spotlight he deserves.