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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Marlon Williams brings old country to Bishop

Marlon Williams

Marlon Williams is a 24-year-old singer-songwriter with a thick New Zealand accent, and he said he often sees quite a few gray hairs in his audience.

He’ll perform songs from his self-titled album Tuesday at The Bishop. The album will have its first release in the United States on Feb. 19.

Williams said his audiences are very diverse but people often bring their parents to his shows. He said he doesn’t mind that old people seem to like his music 
so much.

He grew up listening to artists like the Beatles and early Elvis albums back in New Zealand, and this old-fashioned style makes a large mark on his songwriting, he said.

“It’s just an easy world for me to explore, you know,” he said. “I just understand the language of it.”

Williams discovered country music at around age 15 through artists like Gram Parsons, he said.

He then worked his way back to older country-blues music by listening to George Jones and other artists in the genre.

He said his definition of the country genre doesn’t fit the pop country artists that find their way onto Nashville billboards.

“There’s definitely a lot of rubbish country music out there in the world,” 
Williams said.

Still, he said he’s always been most comfortable writing in his throwback style, and he manages to keep audiences on their toes by rarely playing the same set twice.

He said he often surprises his band by performing a new song that’s not even on the set list.

“That generally happens pretty randomly — just like an urge and a gnawing feeling,” he said.

Williams said he likes to play a mix of original songs and covers in his 
performances.

He said he enjoys reinventing old songs in his own way, and it makes no difference to him who the original writer was.

In fact, four of the songs on his upcoming album are cover songs, including “When I Was A Young Girl,” which was popularized by Nina Simone.

“I kind of like the idea of inverting the gender,” 
he said.

Williams said the self-titled album has already been out for a year in New Zealand, so he’s had plenty of time to perfect his original songs and play around with the covers.

“I’ve been trying to find new life in old material,” 
he said.

This is his first time touring through the United States, and he said he’s enjoyed seeing his American dream come 
to life.

He said it’s interesting to see how his ideas of America, formulated through movies and music, compare to reality.

Oftentimes, he said he finds the States aren’t much different from his home country.

“When you come over here and you walk along the sidewalk and it feels the same as the one in New Zealand, it’s like, ‘Oh, right. It’s all more of the same shit,’” he said.

As far as the rest of his career as a musician goes, Williams said he’s pretty 
relaxed.

“I have no sense of finiteness or urgency or ‘this is it for me’ at all,” he said. “Makes life a lot easier if you’re that way.”

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