Originally published on Lotus Magma (old site) 5 July 2011
After struggling as an unsigned artist in her hometown of Blackpool, Williams took to the streets of Brighton, moving herself closer to the independent music scene of London. With her bleak, somewhat depressing but arguably honest lyrics and soulful storytelling, she truly brings a sense of nostalgia from the fact that she is simply an artist and her guitar, with no big budget, studio produced backing instruments behind her. Because of the lack of background and studio sampled sounds, her music appears raw and gritty, perfect for a live audience.
In "Back to Mine" we may feel a sense of loneliness when listening; this is perfect whilst travelling on a bus or train, staring out into the street or even in bed facing a stoic, white ceiling. With songs like this, Williams reveals her talent at carving her way into the heart of her listeners through lyrics. However, she also shows great talent (or at least her mixer does) in the studio with tracks like "On my Stereo" and "Feel for You", the former being a cheeky, Arctic Monkeys reminiscent, playful tune that Indie Rock lovers would probably enjoy. In "Feel for You", along with fantastic mixing from her team, Williams creates a memorable retro feeling, in a style similar to that of Sheryl Crow.
From her various interviews we can see that William's bubbly personality and humble upbringing has had a big influence in her work. In her music, we can feel optimism and melancholy, sometimes both at the same time. This sadness and excitement is something her listeners could relate to, bringing her on a closer level to her audience.
One cannot argue enough that Williams deserves every success that will undoubtedly come her way, however, a major record label snapping her up might be the worst thing for her music at this moment, as it could dilute the power and edge of her appealing style. Though she has recorded an album there is no doubt that she is superior live onstage; where this genre of music is obviously best suited. Therefore, its possible that with more tours and shows, Williams could really make a name for herself, on her own, without having to make her music mundane to fit the needs of a management team interested only in profit. Unfortunately, according to her website she has no upcoming shows, which is a shame and I can only hope that she returns to playing music soon.
If you like gentle, rhythmic melodies and soulful lyrics then this is an artist that you will probably enjoy. Likewise, if you like a more fast paced tune, with cheeky and often cynical undertones then Williams could also be to your taste. If you are a fan of live music and she is playing somewhere near you then it is definitely worth a look in. Until then, check out her website and MySpace page, where you can download some outstanding tracks from her album.
Phoenix Williams management and promotion company are DeuceMP.