Merkell Williams, a graduate of historically black Central State University, spoke with Voyage ATL about his journey to becoming an international singer, saying that “God has been connecting me with genuine people who have been motivating me along my journey.“ Some highlights of the interview are below.
On how he got where he is today:
I knew at a very young age what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I was five years old, running around the house with my Mom’s choir robe on, teaching parts to different Gospel songs. I used to bang on the piano in my home until the keys started falling off. When I realized how serious I was about music my parents put me in piano lessons which led to me enrolling in Oakland School for the Arts. This is where I began growing into the performer I knew I was deep down on the inside. While in High School, I was also introduced to the world of Theater. After my first starring role in “The Wiz” I knew I belonged on stage, front and center. After a roaring standing ovation at the Oakland Fox Theater, I knew at that moment I was created to entertain. Throughout my High School career, I also served as co-worship leader at my Father’s church. After graduating High School, I began my college career at Central State University as a Music Performance Major.
While in college, I toured as a leading vocalist with the Central State University Chorus. I also toured with the Jeremy Winston Chorale. Being apart of both ensembles during my college career allowed me to grow tremendously as a vocalist and as an individual. I was blessed to travel the world in my twenties. Leading up to the completion of my degree, I performed my Senior Recital. I remember this being some of the hardest months of my life. 15 songs total including languages in German, Italian and French. In May of 2019, I graduated with my BA in Music Performance. Throughout my college career, I kept Philippians 4:13 in mind. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. This verse carried me through every single thing I faced during school. My lowest moments and even my highest moments. There were times of self-doubt. There were times I thought I wasn’t good enough. There were times I wanted to quit, but the God I serve was and still has been so kind and faithful to me.
Just a few weeks after graduation, I headlined two shows with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague. This experience reminded me hard work, consistency and true dedication pays off in the end. After my return from Europe, I made Atlanta my new home. Ever since I moved here, God has been connecting me with genuine people who have been motivating me along my journey.
On the challenges he has faced along the way:
If I told you my journey has been smooth, I’d be making it all up. I’ve had a few unsteady moments. There were times I wanted to start another profession outside of music. I believe finding my voice and who I am as an artist was a struggle for me. I knew I wanted to sing and perform, but I didn’t know which platform I wanted to execute it on.
Williams also discussed some background on his music and what the definition of success means to him. Head over to Voyage ATL to read the entire interview.