Marlon Williams’ year in music
Tony Nielsen catches up with award-winning Kiwi singersongwriter Marlon Williams.
Over the years musing about the music I love I have wondered what it would’ve been like to have been in the audience at Liverpool’s Cavern nightclub or at the Indra Club in Hamburg and experience the fledgling Beatles in action.
That idea came to mind as I was about to talk to Marlon Williams because I had the good fortune to check him out in 2014 when he was the support act for Justin Townes Earle.
Truth is, the venue at Christchurch Polytech wasn’t the best but any reservations I may have had were blown away when Marlon began singing.
From not knowing much about him I instantly became an advocate, and his relentless growth as an artist comes as no surprise. Being in on the ground floor, so to speak, is something I have come to treasure.
That was then, this is now, and it’s Marlon on the phone.
■ T: 2018 seems to have been a crazy year for you what were the highlights?
M: No doubt that it’s been a busy one — four tours around Europe, two to the States, bit parts in two movies, A Star is Born, and a film version of Peter Carey’s novel The True History of the Kelly Gang. Plus of course my latest album Make Way for Love
was released in January. Lots of travel and many highlights to look back on with some satisfaction.
■ T: You must feel pretty good about how the record has gone, especially Awards — the Apra Silver Scroll for Nobody Gets What they want anymore, along with best video, best solo artist and best album at the NZ Music Awards.
M: Yes, its been a breakthrough year for me, and I’m very grateful. ■ T: Is there one thing that stands out for you ahead of these achievements, maybe song-writing?
M: You’ve hit the nail on the head there, because I have felt that I have made a major breakthrough on the songwriting front. I don’t think that you are ever totally comfortable writing songs but just recently something has seemed to click and my song-writing feels more natural and the process is less formidable than it was. I have a lot more faith in myself which helps enormously.
■ T: What’s next on the agenda for you?
M: This Sunday I head to Canada for three weeks of recording, which I am really looking forward to. I am not sure whether we may release an EP or save the material for my next album. We’ll see. In the New Year of course I’ll be touring New Zealand and Australia.
■ T: What about new recordings?
M: We’ve got a live album which we recorded in the Auckland Town Hall which will be my next release early in 2019.
And later next year, all going well, a follow-up studio record to
Make Way for Love.
■ T: You’ve named your upcoming tour Turangawaewae — what’s that about?>
M: My interpretation of the Ma¯ ori concept of Turangawaewae is that it means “home,” so it made sense to embark on my biggest headline tour of New Zealand under that name, my home-coming after a year mostly away touring internationally.
■ T: One final question: What made your parents, David and Jenny, settle on the name Marlon? Is it the obvious connection with Marlon Brando?
M: Now there’s a really interesting back story to this.
My mother had a dream when she was carrying me, and as a result she wanted to call me Kahu.
I think they wrestled with that for quite awhile but in the end they compromised and they went for Marlon instead.
Marlon Williams — "I have felt that I have made a major breakthrough on the song-writing front."Black Barn Vineyards, Havelock North, Saturday 23 February