Dana Williams is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and poet with an impressive musical pedigree. Her father, David Williams, was the late Michael Jackson’s guitarist for over 30 years. As a child, she often accompanied her dad to the studio and met the King of Pop. After sessions, inspired by her father’s skill, Dana would go home and write love songs.
Dana Williams was born on July the 17th, 1989. Her father is well-known, but there is no information about her mother. Dana has one sister, Davida Williams, who is an actor, producer and director and has appeared in many well-known shows, like The Fresh Prince, Lizzie Maguire, Cybill and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Dana’s parents divorced, and so she and her sister split their time living with their parents. Her father lived in Los Angeles, and her mother in New York. It may not have been the most stable childhood, but Dana appears to have thrived.
In middle school, Dana studied the music of Ella Fitzgerald as a project for Black History Month. It was a great introduction to jazz music and also helped her forge a close bond with her grandmother, who had been a jazz singer. While still in the fourth grade, she was chosen to sing Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) on tv with Jay-Z. A future in music seemed certain.
While living in New York with her mum, Dana discovered the music of Billie Holiday and even started performing in jazz clubs where she had played. Dana first began to write her own music at around fourteen years old. Dana completed all of her education from middle-school in New York and attended Sarah Lawrence college.
She studied guitar, classical and contemporary music, but her major was poetry and creative writing. After a couple of years in college, she realised that it would be very difficult to make a living by writing books. She began to write and perform music, and soon she added music to make a double major. She wrote poetry and was published while still at Sarah Lawrence.
Dana came to wider public attention when she was chosen as the opening act of Leighton Meester’s spring tour in 2012. She and Leighton had been friends since middle school. Leighton is best known as an actress and has appeared in Gossip Girl, House, Numb3rs, and the horror movie Drive Thru.
She recorded songs that were featured in several of her acting projects, and in 2009, she signed a recording contract with Universal Republic. Since then, she has released an album called Heartstrings, which reached number one on the Heatseekers chart in the US.
Following her tour with Leighton Meester, Dana appeared on the US talent show Rising Star. She made it to the finals and ultimately finished fourth. That same year she was featured in a Christmas advert for Apple. In it, she discovers a recording of her grandmother singing Our Love Is Here To Stay by Nat King Cole. She was singing to Dana’s grandfather before he left for war.
The commercial shows Dana recording her own version to form a duet with the original. She then presents it to her tearful and overwhelmed grandmother.
In the years since, Dana has continued to write music and publish it herself. To date, she has released thirty singles and four EPs. Her voice has a beautiful smoky quality that is made for jazz music. If you’ve never listened to her, take some time to do it now. If you want to see more from Dana, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on her Facebook page or Instagram.