William Fitzsimmons (musician)

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William Fitzsimmons
William Fitzsimmons at Schubas.jpg
Fitzsimmons in 2009
Background information
Born 1978 (age 37–38)
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U. S.
Genres Folk, indie folk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar, banjo, piano, melodica, ukulele, mandolin
Years active 2005–present
Labels Mercer Street
Website www.williamfitzsimmons.com

William Fitzsimmons (born 1978[1]) is an American singer-songwriter, based in Illinois, perhaps best known for his songs "Passion Play" and "Please Don't Go", which aired during pivotal scenes in ABC's medical drama Grey's Anatomy.[2] His first two full-length albums, Until When We Are Ghosts (2005) and Goodnight (2006), were completely self-produced and recorded by Fitzsimmons at his former home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His The Sparrow And The Crow (2008) was his first studio record. In addition to the above, his music has also been featured on ABC's Brothers & Sisters and Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, MTV's Life of Ryan and Teen Wolf, The CW's One Tree Hill, CBS's Blue Bloods, ABC Family's Greek, Lifetime's Army Wives, and USA Network's Burn Notice, and he has been given reference in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Paste, Spin, Musikexpress, Uncut, Q Magazine, and Performing Songwriter Magazine.


Fitzsimmons was born the youngest child of two blind parents and was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[3] He is said to have developed his multiple instrumental abilities from his mother and father, both of whom were recreational musicians. His childhood home even housed a fully functional pipe organ, hand-built by his father. He was taught the piano and trombone during elementary school, and began teaching himself guitar while in junior high school. He is also proficient at the banjo, melodica, ukulele, and mandolin,[4] and is known for mixing folk music with electronica in some of his production. In addition to performance abilities, Fitzsimmons is credited as the engineer and producer of his first two releases. He is often compared to contemporaries Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, and the late Elliott Smith.[5]

Fitzsimmons' career in music came only after completing a Master's Degree in counseling at Geneva College and working as a mental health therapist. Prior to his graduate studies, Fitzsimmons worked with the mentally ill for several years. It was during a summer break in the midst of graduate school that Fitzsimmons recorded a collection of songs on home recording equipment which would subsequently become his debut album.

Fitzsimmons' writing often includes reference to personal and family subject matter. His 2006 effort, "Goodnight," is said to have been based largely on his parents' divorce during his adolescence, and his 2008 work, "The Sparrow And The Crow," was written entirely about and following his own divorce.[3]

Fitzsimmons' music was noticed initially largely through MySpace, and touring with fellow artists Ingrid Michaelson, Brooke Fraser and Cary Brothers among others, and from several featured song placements on popular national television programs such as "Grey's Anatomy." William currently resides in Springfield, Illinois.[6] "Hazy," a duet with Rosi Golan, was featured in Dollhouse.

A music video for the song "The Tide Pulls From The Moon" was released on February 8, 2011.[7] In June 2011, Fitzsimmons toured in Europe, presenting his recent album "Gold In The Shadow," which was released March 22 via Nettwerk.[8]

Fitzsimmons' new album, "Lions," was released on February 18, 2014.

On May 12, 2015, Fitzsimmons released his seventh album, a 7-song mini-LP entitled "Pittsburgh." The album is his first self-produced, performed and mixed album since 2006's "Goodnight." The album is "a memorial for my grandmother, who lived her whole life there, and it’s an honorarium to my hometown,” per his website.[9] Fitzsimmons embarked on a tour to support his new album in May 2015, visiting 18 states and 11 countries along the way.[10]


  • iTunes US Best Singer/Songwriter Album 2008: The Sparrow and the Crow
  • iTunes Australia Best International Singer/Songwriter Album 2009: The Sparrow and the Crow
  • iTunes UK Best of 2009 Singer/Songwriter category: Goodnight
  • Beards NOW (Aust. publication) Honorable Mention in category 'Bushrangers Beards on non-Australians' 2010
  • The tour poster for the 2009 European tour designed by Stefan Guzy and Björn Wiede has been awarded for typographic excellence by the German Art Directors Club[11] and was selected among the 100 best posters of 2009 in Germany.[12]



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