Written by Mike Chandler on July 24, 2019
Melvin Williams is an American traditional gospel roots singer, songwriter and producer. For more than five decades, Melvin Williams continues to enrich his solid foundation as one of Gospel Music’s most notable voices across the world at Performing Arts Theatres, the White House, Music Conservatories, Civic Centers, Festivals, Colleges, Churches, on radio, television…Melvin Williams is everywhere singing Traditional Gospel Music & Gospel Classics!
His most recent accomplishment, an EMMY nomination for his TV special “Melvin Williams: Down Home Gospel” airing in over 200 PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) markets nationwide that compliment his 7-GRAMMY nominations, and 19-Stellar Awards over his music career.
Williams’ distinctive, soulful vocal tone and high-energy, emotion-filled delivery touches the heart and soul of everyone. Starting from humble beginnings growing up in the small town of Smithdale, MS picking 100 pounds of cotton each day and farming with his family during Mississippi’s segregation, his career started as lead singer and guitarist for The Williams Brothers founded in 1960 by his father Leon “Pop” Williams. In 1988, Melvin started his solo music career with the release of Back to the Cross, that was released by Compendia Music Group, charted at No. 6 on the Billboard Gospel Albums Chart and garnered his first GRAMMY nomination as Best Soul Gospel Performance. Today, his eighth album, Where I Started From, released in 2017 – charted at No. 9 on the Nielsen Christian Charts and No. 18 on the Top 20 Billboard Gospel Albums Charts – on his vanity label, Melvin Williams Entertainment in partnership with New Day Christian Distributors and Sony Orchard. All of his albums throughout his career, charted on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. Today, his hit song “Cooling Water” viral video is over 14 million YouTube views and “Another Blessing” at over 7 million views.
As a legendary Gospel icon, he continues his mission to “Preserve Traditional Gospel Music” (PTGM) with his syndicated radio show, “Down Home Gospel with Melvin Williams” that airs on more than 52 radio stations across the nation. Melvin had the honor to record the last interview with gospel great, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama before his untimely passing as they planned to record a duet together in support of the PTGM project. As Melvin states, “Traditional Gospel Music is the roots, the rock, the foundation of our Heritage, America’s Heritage” and he captures the essence of this mission with his newly released LIVE Recorded Acoustic CD project titled “Down Home Gospel.” Melvin’s rendition of Mahalia Jackson’s “How I Got Over” solidifies his raw, God-given talent as he accompanies his vocals on his acoustic guitar. The CD also features Melvin’s version of the classic “Go Down Moses,” which was described as “a Santana-esque Spanish guitar and Mavis Staples performance all rolled into one” by Don Allan Mitchell, Chair of Language & Literature at Delta State University, at two recent GRAMMY Museum concerts in Los Angeles and Mississippi. Melvin Williams plays the guitar in vassapoo, that is., playing a right-handed guitar upside down and backwards with his left hand thereby the strings are upside-down chords also known as “Open E.” He is part of an extraordinary group of musicians and artists, for example., Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Al McKay (formerly of Earth Wind & Fire), Jonathan Butler, Billy Ray Cyrus, Cesar Rosas (formerly of Los Lobas), Dick Dale (the King of Surfer Music), Kurt Cobain, Bobby Womack, Seal, Jimi Hendrix, Justin Bieber, and Albert King, Sr, to name a few.