Kathryn Williams

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Kathryn Williams
Kathryn Williams Portrait 2016.jpg Kathryn Williams 2016
Background information
Birth name Kathryn Williams
Born (1974-02-15) 15 February 1974 (age 42)
Liverpool, England
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1998–present
Associated acts
Website www.kathrynwilliams.co.uk

Kathryn Williams (born 15 February 1974, Liverpool, England)[1] is an English singer-songwriter who to date has released 13 studio albums, written & arranged for a multitude of artists,[2] and was nominated for the 2000 Mercury Music Prize.[3]

Williams released her first album, Dog Leap Stairs, on her own Caw Records label in 1999 with a budget of £80. The follow-up, Little Black Numbers, garnered a Mercury Prize nomination in 2000, bringing her to the attention of a wider public.[4]

Williams has collaborated and recorded with artists including Chris Difford, Ted Barnes, Thea Gilmore, John Martyn, Joel Salakula, Tobias Froberg, Ed Harcourt, James Yorkston, Marry Waterson, Boo Hewerdine, and Paul Smith.[5]

Music career[edit]

Williams sold homemade CDs of her music at her early shows which led her to setting up her own record label, CAW Records, to release her debut album Dog Leap Stairs. After her second album, Little Black Numbers, was nominated for the Mercury Prize, she signed a licensing deal with Eastwest Records. Little Black Numbers reached No. 70 in the UK Albums Chart in 2001.[6]

Her influences include Nina Simone, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Simon And Garfunkel and Velvet Underground[7]

Throughout her career she has toured extensively solo and with bands as well as supporting roles with David Gray, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontange, Damien Dempsey, Melanie, Be Good Tanyas, The Riptide Movement, David Gates, Beth Orton, and in 2006 she was a special guest on Tom McRae's Hotel Cafe Tour,

In 2010, Williams signed with One Little Indian Records, who released her album The Quickening, produced by Kate St John later that year.

Williams performed the title song "Beyond the Sea" for The Cafe, first screened on Sky1 in 2011. Her songs have also featured on episodes of How I Met Your Mother , Coronation Street, Holby City, Weeds, David Walliams' Big Swim, and C.S.I.

Her second release on the label, Crown Electric, was produced by Neil MacColl. Its lead single "Heart Shaped Stone" featured a video produced and directed by James Serafinowicz & Al Campbell.

In 2013, Williams was commissioned by New Writing North to produce songs in celebration of 50th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. She performed five of the resulting tunes – "When Nothing Meant Less", "Battleships", 'The Mind Has Its Own Place", "Tango With Marco", and "Part Of Us" – at the 10th Durham Book Festival. Teaming up with Ed Harcourt as producer, she released Hypoxia on 15 June 2015.[8]

In 2015 Emji, a finalist on the French TV talent show Nouvelle Star, won the 11th series singing "Toboggan (You Are The One)", a song written by Williams, David Saw & John Quarmby, which was her first single.[9]

Williams appeared with Maxïmo Park at BBC 6Music Festival, Sage, Gateshead on 21 February 2015.

The Crayonettes[edit]

Williams collaborated with friend / former member of punk band Delicate Vomit, Anna Spencer, on a new project entitled The Crayonettes. Williams and Spencer, both tired of the same old children's CD format, decided to make their own record using their own children as an in house focus group. They released the album Playing Out: Songs For Children & Robots from One Little Indian (6 September 2010). The Guardian wrote that "Pirates On the Bus" "sounds like the Moomins playing The Slits."[10]

The Pond[edit]

The Pond consisted of Williams alongside Simon Edwards, formerly of Fairground Attraction and fellow singer/songwriter Ginny Clee, releasing their self-titled CD in 2012.[11]

BBC.co.uk called it "An elegant, charming and quietly profound record",[12] and MOJO magazine "A whirling magimix of hypnotic, funky loops, vintage beats and sensuous harmonies".[13]

Songwriting & art[edit]

Williams has been involved in writing retreats & sessions that enable songwriters to share, collaborate and produce ideas as well as learn new skills and techniques. Firstly tutoring at such events alongside Tom McRae, Samantha Parton and Chris Difford whose own retreats Williams has attended.[14] As a result, Williams has established her own writing residential courses which took place in 2014-16.

Williams was given a New Writing North commission as poet in residence at Alnwick Garden in 2006. An audio CD Words from the Garden was released in 2007 featuring writings from Williams, Nev Clay, Emma McGordon & Anna Woodford set in a soundscape by Caroline Beck, with music by Williams and Clay.[15]

As well as creating artwork for her debut album and Two, her collaboration with Neill MacColl, Kathryn produced the cover art for David Rotheray's Life Of Birds album.[16] & Mardous' "Revolution Over The Phone" single.[17]

Williams collaborated with Guardian writer Tim Dowling, Chris Difford & Ed Harcourt on a 2014 Christmas single "Snowfall" in aid of The Guardian's Christmas charity appeal.[18]



Side projects[edit]


  • 'The Fade EP (1999)
  • 'Soul to Feet' (2000)
  • 'Jasmine Hoop' (2001)
  • 'No One Takes You Home' (2001)
  • 'In a Broken Dream' (2004)
  • 'Shop Window' (2005)
  • 'Beachy Head' (2005)
  • 'Hollow' (2006)
  • 'Come With Me' - with Neill MacColl (2008)
  • '50 White Lines' (2010)
  • 'Heart Shaped Stone' (2013)
  • 'Monday Morning' (2014)
  • 'The Mind Has It's Own Place' (2015)
  • 'Mirrors' (2015)

Appearances with other artists, compilations and soundtracks[edit]

  • Field Of Play \ Can't Live Without - John Martyn 'Glasgow Walker' album (2000)
  • Day By Day - Badmarsh & Shri 'Signs' album (2001) & 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' soundtrack (2002)
  • Easy & Me - 'Total Lee! : The Songs Of Lee Hazelwood' album (2002)
  • Part Two - Pedro 'Early Pedro' album (2003)
  • Heavy World - Shiri 'East Rain' album (2005)
  • Buzzin' Fly - 'Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim & Jeff Buckley' (2005)
  • Night Baking - 'Colours Are Brighter' album (2006)
  • Thea Gilmore 'Harpo's Ghost' album (2006)
  • You Already Know - Bombay Bicycle Club 'Evening Morning' single (2008)
  • Take It Easy - Tobias Froberg 'Turn Heads' album (2008)
  • I'm Still Saving All My Love For You - EP's Trailer Park 'Scissors & Knives' album (2009)
  • Crows, Raven & Rooks - Dave Rotheray 'The Life Of Birds' album (2010)
  • Father Us / Secret Smile - Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight 'The Days That Shaped Me' album (2011)
  • Beyond The Sea - 'The Cafe' Sky1 TV series theme (2011)
  • Chris Difford 'Cashmere If You Can' album (2011)
  • 'Kath With Rhodes' - James Yorkston 'I Was A Cat From A Book' album (2012)
  • Julius You Still Care / A Simple Little Beat - Ian McCutcheon & The Astral Rangers single (2012)
  • Hushabye - Lisa Knapp 'Hidden Seam' album (2013)
  • 'Answer Ballads' Dave Rotheray album (2013)
  • Parliament Of Rooks- Ed Harcourt 'Time Of Dust' album (2014)
  • One Day At A Time - Blue Rose Code 'Ballads Of Peckham Rye' album (2014)
  • Alone - 'Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan McColl' album (2015)
  • Beyond The Serenade - Alex Cornish album (2015)
  • 'I Can Hold You Back' - RM Hubbert 'Telling The Trees' album (2016)

Notable live appearances[edit]

TV appearances[edit]

  • Never Mind The Buzzcocks, BBC2, UK 23 January 2003
  • 'What Leonard Cohen Did For Me' BBC4, UK (2004)
  • Never Mind The Buzzcocks, BBC2, UK 5 December 2005
  • Daughters Of Albion, BBC4 (2006)[26]
  • BBC Late Review, BBC2, UK (2009)[27]


  1. ^ "Kathryn Williams | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Kathryn Williams | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Mercury Prize - 2000 Shortlist - Albums of the Year". www.mercuryprize.com. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  4. ^ McDaid, Carol (29 July 2000). "Sweet Williams". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "How we met: Kathryn Williams & Paul Smith". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 604. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ "Kathryn Williams - Contributors - Greenbelt Festival". www.greenbelt.org.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Hypoxia by Kathryn Williams reviews | Any Decent Music". www.anydecentmusic.com. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Toboggan (You are the One) - Emji | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  10. ^ Lester, Paul (27 August 2010). "The Crayonettes (No 856)". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  11. ^ Knott, Alex. "Kathryn Williams – new band, new album, new single + tour details | Music News". Frost Magazine. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Mulholl, Garry. "BBC - Music - Review of The Pond - The Pond". Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Presents... The Pond by Kathryn Williams reviews | Any Decent Music". www.anydecentmusic.com. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Kathryn Williams - a tutor at Arvon". Arvon. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  15. ^ ""Sound Idea" - The Journal (Newcastle, England), February 27, 2007 | Online Research Library: Questia". www.questia.com. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "David Rotheray - The Life Of Birds". Discogs. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "The Mardous - Revolution Over The Phone". Discogs. Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Dowling, Tim (11 December 2014). "Can I write and record a new Christmas single in a fortnight?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  19. ^ Spencer, Neil (11 February 2006). "Dark tales of the riverbank". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  20. ^ "BBC - Electric Proms 2007 - A Tribute to Lal Waterson". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  21. ^ "Twisted Christmas - 2008". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  22. ^ Denselow, Robin (18 December 2008). "A Thompson Family Christmas". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  23. ^ Green, By Thomas H. "Songs in the Key of London at the Barbican, review". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  24. ^ "Love and Other Crimes: The Songs of Lee Hazlewood". barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Wonfor, Sam. "A folk-soaked line up of which dreams are made will assemble at Sage Gateshead for a tribute to Ewan MacColl". nechronicle. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  26. ^ Sperktorholic (27 September 2013), Kathryn Williams (Ft. Eliza Carthy and Lou Rhodes) - This Woman's Work, retrieved 24 March 2016 
  27. ^ KennyZilch2009 (22 April 2010), Ballad of Easy Rider - John Head, Kathryn Williams & Romeo Stoddart, retrieved 24 March 2016 

External links[edit]