"Life is a stage," says Cole Williams, host of Tuesday WWOZ New Orleans Music Show, Punk Empress of African Rock, and 2017 French Quarter, Freret Street and Congo Square Rhythm Festival & 2016 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performer, with the authority of a seasoned artist, entrepreneur and educator. More than a singer/songwriter/producer/ composer, Cole has expanded her repertoire to reflect an increasingly eclectic assortment of creative endeavors. Blessed with a powerful voice and superlative musical instincts, Cole is forging a “fearlessly original sound that is as eclectic as her outré fashion sense”.
East Flatbush, Brooklyn gave birth to this multi instrumentalist (voice, piano, percussion), and New Orleans has given this butterfly wings, as she fearlessly pioneers her African Rock Revolution. In her early years, Cole attended Brooklyn Technical High School (known for its breadth of alumni, including Nobel Laureates, as well as Mos Def and Talib Kweli) and majored in psychology before studying classical voice at New Jersey City University. This rich background coupled with Cole’s foundation in classical piano (trained from ages 4-17), church upbringing and childhood love affair with her parents’ record collection provided her with the foundation to eventually broaden her artistic output, and become a diverse force in the entertainment industry.
Cole’s stage presence has been likened to Grace Jones with a girl next door flare bends and melds sound breaking traditional genre distinctions, making her a unique musical entity, comfortable singing rock ballads as she is reggae or a blues tracks. Williams studied voice with Ankh Rah Amenhetep from 2000-2002, Carol Sylvan from 2002-2004 and Aria Firestone and Lori Mirabelle 2005-2007, to develop her vocal personality, and soon began writing and recording demos in some of NYC’s top studios.
Cole's vocal stylings are featured on “Curry Chicken” (Joey Bada$$) , “Peaches N Herb” (premiered by Wax Poetics), "Stand Tall” (premiered by Offbeat Magazine), "Ray Charles" (Chiddy Bang) - commercials such as CoverGirl, JC Penny, Suave Professionals, .
In addition, she has contributed background vocals for Aloe Blac, Little Jackie, Lisa Lisa and The Cult Jam, Diane Birch, and Cole's velvet presence is felt with Somi (2002-2004), Kaissa (2003-2006), Dana Fuchs, Neurotic Drum Band and the Pimps Of Joytime (2012-2015). William's vocal performances have been featured on television shows as prominent as Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, The Wendy Williams Show, The Jools Holland Show, The Craig Ferguson Show, WWL4 Morning Show, Live With Kelly & Michael, 90210, and The Today Show.
This innovative multi instrumentalist, an ASCAP affiliated Writer and Publisher, Recording Academy Member, WWOZ show host and documentary producer, endorsed by Regal Tip. Williams is also listed in the "Hear Dat", "a charmingly irreverent guide to the world-famous music scene in New Orleans". Cole has released 4 albums through the record label That’sMy Worldwide LLC (The Basement Sessions EP, Out Of The Basement, Part 1, Out Of The Basement, Out Of The Box and Sin City the mixtape), between 2006-2016. Her latest album “Sin City, the mixtape” is carried at Louisiana Music Factory in New Orleans, iTunes, Amazon, and all digital retailers.
Cole has participated in photo shoots for designers such as Elyvette and Makabu, and for publications and photographers Bill Cunningham, Essence, Italian Vogue, Bill Wadman, New Orleans Magazine, Where Y’at and LiveForLiveNola.
Education and Outreach
Her strong passion for community has allowed her to inspire thousands as a facilitator for enrichment after school programming and career development within New Orleans and NYC. Cole began teaching piano at age 15 and in 2003 began vocal instructing, coaching and arrangingvocals for artists in the studio. In 2010, Williams began teaching piano and choir classes at The Action Center (Queens, NY) and organized a class trip for her top students to record vocals in her original song “Make A Change” at the Cutting Room Studio in NYC. In 2015, Williams joined Community Works Of Louisiana as a music instructor, and organized a class trip to WWOZ show, Jazz From The French Market for a performance of the youth’s original compositions. In 2017 through a grant from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, CWLA, Arise Academy and That’sMy Worldwide LLC (TMWW), Williams founded and led the Community Works Children’s Choir. Williams has volunteered for WWOZ, Sticking Up For Children, Habitat For Humanity, created a partnership with Books To Kids that has placed over 3,000 books in the homes of children in New Orleans between November 2016-June 2017 and continues to create partnerships through TMWW. Williams has spread her altruistic wings as the Director of Education and Outreach with Community Works Of Louisiana.
Cole Williams Band
Est. in 2007 under the pseudonym "That'sMyCole featuring Cole Williams" in Brooklyn, NY,
Williams performed nationally and internationally at Blue Note, Joe’s Pub, Agora FM, BAM Cafe, Le China, and had a monthly residency at Rockwood Music Hall. In 2015, Cole relocated to New Orleans and rebranded Cole Williams Band (CWB) into the unique and inspiring African Rock Band. CWB has opened for India.Arie, Lauryn Hill, Emily King, Corey Henry and Treme Funktet, SLV and Hank and Cupcake- performing at iconic venues across the globe, including Blue Note, Maple Leaf Bar, Ooh Poo Pah Doo (2015 residency) BAM Cafe, Martyr’s, Ace Hotel, C’mon Everybody, Prime Example and House Of Blues. Most recently CWB performed at the iHeart Radio DDICL in the Z100 studio. Cole Williams Band performs live at Marigny Brasserie in New Orleans every Saturday night.
On June 1st, 2017 in partnership with WWOZ, Williams and TMWW produced “Up Close: Tank And The Bangas” private documentary premiere event at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center in New Orleans. Williams is also credited as the documentary’s producer.
Cole Williams has forged a multi-faceted media identity that defies the standard definitions of being an artist. Her expansive resume is abundant with a deep talent, grounded in creativity, truth and creating continued partnerships and opportunities of expression and expansion.
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