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Friday, Mar 24, 2023

Mercer Artist: Freshman plunges into the music world

Third-year artist Zianah Marshall.
Third-year artist Zianah Marshall.

The music world is vast and ever-changing, making it the perfect place to create and inspire. Freshman Michael “Micha” Williams isn’t necessarily new to the scene, but he’s curating new music that’s appealing to many students here at Mercer.

“Music has been a big part of my life for the past couple of years,” Williams said.

Contemporary music wasn’t part of his life until eighth grade, as his mother predominantly played gospel. He notes the album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” by Drake as the first to spark his musical interest. Williams recognized that in both gospel and contemporary music, the artists are telling stories about internal and external relationships, and he wanted to do that for himself.

When Williams began creating his own music, he originally relied on his impulse; he would instinctively write music for the sole purpose of writing it. Without putting in the time to process the music he was creating, Williams wasn’t able to reach his full potential, he said. Now, he fleshes out ideas, reflecting on his desired sound to avoid making it complicated.

“Music doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be intricate to be effective,” he said.

He looked to artists such as BENEE for her “simple yet effective” approach to music and Vince Staples for his contemporary sound with the edge of other hip hop artists. He was inspired by these artists to create his own music, which he describes as both sultry and ethereal.

As of now, Williams’ music is taking the direction of alternative R&B, but he said he wants to incorporate more contemporary, pop and rap genres. Ultimately, Williams doesn’t want to be bound by any specific genres -- he just wants to create music.

Williams’ song “Dude!” was released at the end of August, and since then has had tremendous success; he performed the song live at Quadworks’ Z-beats and received over 10,000 streams with about 3,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone. This song, however, isn’t necessarily new to the scene. 

While Williams was in high school, he made a lot of music but kept it to himself. He and a friend made a Christmas album, “Stocking Stuffers,” over the course of three days; one day for the album cover, one day for recording and one day for editing. The album was very rough, Williams said, but he still continued. 

Williams created three more songs on Valentine’s day in an album called “Why Are Girls so Stupid?” with “Dude!” as the first track on the album. From there, he decided to keep making music in his free time. 

“I decided to keep doing music at my leisure and not be more unabashed about what I produce,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s my work and no one really has to like it. I’m not doing it as a job, I’m doing it because I want to make music.”

Williams sees music in a pretty interesting way and has a deep connection with it. The process of making music is terrifying, but it feels good to put yourself out there, he said. 

“If you want to make music, please, go for it,” he said. “Honestly, right now, you’re in college. This is the most emotionally rich part of your life thus far. Cash in on all those emotions and write what you love. No one can tell you your story, and no one can tell you how to tell it. You know it better than anyone.”

Williams is currently working on a new, more instrument driven, project. He plans to begin releasing some of this new material in January. You can listen to “Dude!” and other music by Williams on major platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube.

Chance Allen

Chance Allen ‘22 is a journalism student at Mercer who has been working for The Cluster under various roles for the past three years. Allen is a multi-hyphenate but works primarily with photo and writing. He has been working with NBC Entertainment for the entirety of this year and since becoming a journalism student he has received multiple honors and awards from the Georgia Collegiate Press Association as well as DASHBOARD. Allen spends his free time writing, creating, and being.


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