Tony Williams grew up an only child in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Raised in a two parent household in which both mother and father had musical backgrounds Williams was given his first instrument, a saxophone, at the age of eight. He grew up singing in youth choirs at church and played in the marching band through his tenth grade year of high school. Williams love for music continued throughout his early adulthood as he went on to found and/or become the lead vocalist for more than half dozen bands that ranged from Funk, Rock, Alternative, and Christian Alternative.
...as a Songwriter
Williams’ name appears on West’s albums as Tony “Penafire” Williams which is the pseudonym he uses when crediting himself as a writer. He was credited as a co-writer on two songs on The College Dropout album. After successfully showcasing his talent on the Grammy Award winning 2004 album, Williams was invited to write on all of West’s subsequent albums.
On the 2005 MTV documentary, Composing History The Making of Late Registration, he was featured and shown producing vocals for Brandy on the song "Bring Me Down", which he co-wrote. It was during that documentary that West taunted Williams as being “a great writer with a cutting edge voice.”
...as a Singer
Tony Williams first came into popularity when he debuted on Kanye West’s Grammy winning album The College Dropout singing a version of the gospel hymn "I'll Fly Away". By the second album, Late Registration, Kanye was giving Williams shout outs on the song, "We Major" which birthed the famous line Kanye fans use in reference and reverence to Williams, “ I gotta say what’s up to Tony Williams”. On that same album Tony wrote the hook for the song, "Roses", which featured him singing with the legendary Patti Labelle. This album not only brought much popularity to the Tony Williams name, but for the first time fans were able to match his voice and name with a face. He was featured on the song and the video for "Drive Slow". Later, he was seen singing with Kanye when West was featured on the MTV television series, Life and Rhymes of Kanye West. By the time Kanye went on the Touch the Sky Tour Williams was known and recognized as the background singer that always accompanied West. Williams went on to tour with West on several world tours.
The soul singer is one of few performer that has had the privilege to perform at two different Inaugural Balls; the Neighborhood Ball where he performed with Jay-Z on the song, History, and at the Youth Ball where he performed with Kanye West.
Tony’s voice is recognized on some of the most popular songs in Hip Hop, having performed along side Jay-Z, Kanye West, Nas, and Rick Ross just to name a few.
...as a Featured Artist
The first time Williams had the pleasure of experiencing artistic autonomy was in 2007 when he made an appearance on Kanye’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing mixtape, singing a song he had written that was produced by Kanye, "Dreaming of Your Love". This legitimized him as an featured artist. It was at that time that Williams added “The World Famous” to his name to differentiate himself from the famous drummer with the same name, and because in the vocal sample of the song "Dreaming of Your Love" the intro says, “You’re listening to the world famous”. Tony had also done songs that hit Brazilian airwaves, that he sung some of the vocals in Portuguese and some musical chart success in France. Williams thought the moniker was befitting considering his travels around the globe. Three years later, in March of 2010, Williams released his first mainstream project in the form of a mixtape, The World Famous Tony Williams: Finding Dakota Grey which was released with the GOOD Music stamp. This project was a collection of original music, exceptionally rendered covers, and well mastered remixes. In October, 2010, Williams released his first single "Everything About You" from his first album, The King or the Fool, which is slated for release December, 2010.
1999 Rashani - Positive and Progress
"All Ah Dem" Vocals
"How long" Vocals
"Mickey Mouse Lovin" Vocals
2004 Kanye West - The College Dropout
"I'll Fly Away" Vocals
"School Spirit" Vocals
"Lil Jimmy Skit" Vocals
"Last Call" Vocals/Writer
2005 Kanye West - Late Registration
& The People's Champ "Drive Slow" Vocals
"Crack Music" Vocals
"Bring Me Down" Writer/Vocal Producer
"We Major" Vocals/Writer
2007 Kanye West - Graduation
"Good Morning" Vocals
"Flashing Lights" Vocals
"Everything I Am" Vocals
2007 Consequence - Don't Quit Your Day Job!
"Don't Forget Em" Vocals
"Who Knew My Luck Would Change?" Vocals
2008 Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
"Say You Will" Vocals
"Street Lights" Vocals/Writer
2009 More Than a Game soundtrack
2009 Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
"A Star Is Born" Vocals
2010 Kid Sister - Ultraviolet (U.K. release)
2010 Rick Ross - Teflon Don
"Live Fast, Die Young" Vocals
2010 Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
"Dark Fantasy", "Gorgeous", "All of the Lights", "Runaway", "Hell of a Life", "Lost in the World" Vocals
2011 The Outlawz - Perfect Timing "Remember Me" Vocals
2011 STS - The Illustrious "Here Tonight"
King Or The Fool
World To Me
Another You (Featuring Kanye West)
I Know You Missed It (Featuring John Legend)
Mr Safety (Featuring Raheem Devaughn & Stokley Williams)
Dreamin' Of Your Love 2012 (Featuring The Kid Daytona)
07- Cloud of Endo feat STS & Freddie Gibbs
12- You Got Soul ft Mama Sol
13- Marsha Braidy ft Mr Bentley & Chip tha Ripper
17- Not the One feat GLC (prod by Count Justice)
GWHH Radio TONIGHT with special guest The World Famous Tony Williams
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For the second time in as many weeks, GWHH Radio is opening up the GWHH Hotline as we are joined by ...For the second time in as many weeks, GWHH Radio is opening up the GWHH Hotline as we are joined by special guest, The World Famous Tony Williams! Tony has got a lot of exciting solo work on the way in the form of the upcoming album, King Or The Fool, and the new single and video for the smooth R&B jam "Everything About You". We are going to really dive into the creative process behind not only the album and the single, but also this year's Finding Dakota Grey mixtape, and his work on Kanye West's upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tune in for some interesting stories of recording with Kanye West at the beginning of production for the new album (which was New Year's Day), on the next single "All Of The Lights", and even how it all started with "Spaceship" (Fun fact: Tony is Kanye's cousin and has been working with him since the beginning of both of their musical careers). So get to know Tony in what will be a fun interview and make sure to download his songs that we will be playing on-air, below! Vocalo Music Vox host Jesse Menendez is running the studio from 7PM-9PM so be sure to try and tune into the entire block on Vocalo.org 89.5 FM! NOTE: We'll have a recap a la Mickey Factz in the near future in case you missed it!
We will be talking to The World Famous Tony Williams for the majority of our show tonight, but we will also touch on the week of big-name releases: the new songs featuring Chicago superstars Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Common and some follow ups to the "Runaway" film. You can download the week that was in new music, check out some of our recent features, and the "Runaway" film and more videos after the jump in one of the best weekly recaps yet!
Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/gowhere-hip-hop/2010/10/gwhh-radio-tonight-with-special-guest-the-world-famous-tony-williams.html#ixzz14FT9Js5o
Tony Williams of G.O.O.D. Music Talks Most Memorable Studio Sessions With Kanye
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Tony Williams. You’ve heard his voice before, but probably won’t be able to place the name. He’s bee...Tony Williams. You’ve heard his voice before, but probably won’t be able to place the name. He’s been a part of some of your favorite records, contributing vocals to classic songs off classic albums like College Dropout and Graduation, as well as singing the hook on Jay-Z’s coming-out party for J. Cole, “A Star Is Born,” and the smooth standout “Dreaming of Your Love,” from Yeezy’s stellar Can’t Tell Me Nothing Mixtape. The Dallas native recently dropped his first solo mixtape, Finding Dakota Grey, is featured on Consequence’s Movies on Demand mixtape, and has been back in the studio working on Ye’s highly anticipated Good Ass Job.
In addition to Williams being a part of Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music family, he’s literally fam, being ’Ye’s older cousin. They began working together after Mr. West admired his creativity as a writer and arranger, and talent for putting songs together. Complex spoke to Williams about his most notable studio sessions with Kanye and the stories behind the making of some incredibly memorable records…
STOLI CHILLS WITH G.O.O.D MUSIC ARTIST TONY WILLIAMS / MP3 / VIDEO
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Tony Williams has spent his time playing the back for some of the hottest artists in the game. From ...Tony Williams has spent his time playing the back for some of the hottest artists in the game. From Jay-Z, Kanye West, Common, Keyshia Cole, P Diddy, Tony has been creating classic records for years. Now, Kanye’s cousin is ready to step out on his own with some help from his friends. Join me as Tony Williams gets open about his realtionship with Kanye, his upcoming solo album, the exploitation of soul music, and so much more!
Stoli: You & Kanye are cousins which is simply awesome. How close were you coming up & did you always know that you two would be in the music biz together?
Tony Williams: Our relationship was like the sibblings on “smart guy”… he was always a little genius kid and I was that older cousin that was always taking him around showing him off. I take him around my friends and I’d be like “ya’ll watch this”, and then he’d do whatever it was that he was doing at the time and just amaze everybody. It was usually drawing or painting or something, but never anything musical. We have a very musical family that started with my grandmother and was passed on through all her kids and grandkids, but Kanye was the one that the gift missed, so we thought anyway. I remember when I was in my twenties and he was a young teenager, I had some of my band members at the house preparing to run out to a gig during the Christmas holidays back in Oklahoma City. Ye was at the house and of course he would have his equipment with him if he was gonna be away from home for more than two hours. He was at the kitchen table working on a track that he demanded that we stop and listen two before we ran off. I can just tell you from what we heard definately didn’t lead us to believe that we’d ever be working together, much less, me working for him…..
Stoli: How much of a role would you say that your love for soul music influenced Kanye’s sound & style?
Tony Williams: I don’t think that I influenced at all, however, recently he recently told me that from being around me and the types of music that i like has made him start to make “cooler” music. I think that we as black people are the “essence” of soul. I really don’t even listen to soul music anymore, neither does he. We try to take in other influences in order to expand. If I never here another soul record again I’m still soul to the core and thats what’s gonna come out of me. Its the other styles that we embrace that enable us make something really special.
Tony Williams & Kanye West “Dreaming of Your Love”:
SKOPE IT HERE!
Stoli: Is there more pressure on you as a family member being signed to Kanye’s GOOD Music label?
Tony Williams: Kanye definately sets a high standard for himself and a level of excellence that makes anyone around him strive for. But thats how we was raised. We come from civil rights leader, we was raised not to be no punks. I always focused on making the best product possible, even before his success. I felt then that the stuff I was writing for my bands back then was much better quality than most of the commercial stuff. It’s just that I was kool with driving around in my car playing it and letting a few friends hear it. You just don’t think you can actually break all the way in growing up in Oklahoma back then. So there’s no pressure at all, i’m already the shit in my neighborhood.
Stoli: What kind of mood & environment must you be in to create & record a new song?
Tony Williams: I’ve written quite a bit on airplanes. Sometimes my own home is the least conducive to being creative.. I’m an avid runner, and an ipod and miles of concrete is perfect for stimulating ideas.. it’s definately about finding a place or a situation that allows me to get into that zone. Studios can be like that, thats a place where creative juices can perpetually linger in the air, its just a matter of catching the vibes.. Most importantly for me its about routine or regiment that that allows me to mentally prepare to enter “the Zone”. One of my favorite studios to work is a small basement studio in Queens, The Edge of Madness, my guy Ed Roc’s spot. For convenience, in order to get out there i typically jump on the Long Island Railroad at Penn Station and ride for about a half hour to Queens and during the week there’s a connect in Jamaica. The ride on the train is when I enter the zone, I might start or even finish a hook by the time I get there. I have the good fortune of usually not having very harsh time restraints when I’m in sessions. Never that always looking at the clock feeling like years ago when i was first starting out.. Like with Kanye, usually the first hour or two ( and sometimes several hours) is didicated to stuff like reading blogs or just conversation while we wait on the vibe to walk in the room and say i’m here. we’ve done that for an entire day and then just got up and left cause vibe never showed up.
Stoli: Your new album, ‘King Or The Fool’ is ready to drop. What are you hoping to accomplish with this album for yourself & soul music as a whole?
Tony Williams: First off, lets establish that I’m not a “soul” artist. I can’t help it that i’m soulFUL, however thats a box that ain’t quite big enough to hold me but if “soul” music is your thing, please buy the album, I got something for ya!! But Tony Williams is is so many more things to so many different types of people. I guess indirectly and unconciously my goal would be to broaden what “soul” music is, its kinda like the term “black art”. If a person decides go with a “black art” motif to decorate a room or house, they go out and buy paintings of black “people” that are blatantly set in a black environment, but what if a painting is just something scenic like some flowers and it was painted by a black artist … doesn’t that qualify it as black art? But most people wouldn’t hang that tag on that one. I’ve never liked labels, too damn limiting and i don’t let anyone limit me. My daughter and I pick up one of her schoolmates every morning on the way to school and she happens to be white. If I play my music in the car and it doesn’t get her attention, I haven’t done my job well. I want to be known as a soulful guy that makes G.O.O.D. Music!!!
Stoli: On Tuesday 1/20/09, the US inaugurated Barack Obama as the President. What does that amazing event mean to you?
Tony Williams: Coming from a family like ours where people were active in the civil rights movement, its definately monumental. But I really stopped singing “We Shall Overcome” years ago. It’s the change he represents for the people that have been “backwards” thinkers for so long, of any color. I like that he’s changing peoples mindsets.
Stoli: You have worked with the biggest names in the music biz. How did you decide who you wanted to have join you on your own album?
Tony Williams: It was really about which songs begged for a certain artist’s style and not just trying to force something. I really think there will be other opportunities, its not the last album I’ll ever do. I do think I’ll shoot for a Jay Z feature on the next one. I was recently ask who I would choose to record with if i could pick anyone I wanted. I think I answered with Mary J. I’ve always admired her artistry. Lately I’ve been wanting to work with Keisha Cole. I really think we’re have a lot of simialarities. We’ve worked on projects on several occasions in the past. We could do something really dope!!
Stoli: What do you feel about certain “Pop” artists that exploit soul music and are only out to commercialize & profit off the art form?
Tony Williams: I’m not quite sure I know “who” your making reference to but I’d say it’s a tribute to the artform. Everybody has a tinge of “soul” in them. Look at Amy Winehouse, if you think her song “Some Unholy War” ain’t killin almost every “soul” song by any female artist in the game, you just hatin. You can’t fake that if it ain’t really in you.
Stoli: What track that you & Kanye did together do you still listen to in your own car today & why?
Tony Williams: Late Registration is definately the project that i”m most proud of to have been a part of. That’s Kanye’s “Song’s in The Key of Life”. Like Stevie, he’ll never be able to make another one like that in my mind. It’s funny that I don’t often listen to previous stuff that I’ve done since we never stop creating new stuff. Usually by the time a record hits the airwaves we’ve already started focusing on the next thing. “We Major” is the joint brings it home for me, like “yeah, WE ARE”!! Okay, so since you got me started, “Drive Slow” and “Roses” were phenomonal songs, weren’t they??
Stoli: You & Jay-Z created the beautiful track, “History” in honor of Barack Obama. What is a recording session with Jay-Z like and how did you two link up for that?
Tony Williams: The “History” track was just the perfect ally-oop thrown from Kanye…. so I just dunked it. We went to Hawaii and recorded all the tracks for Blueprint 3. Jay wasn’t even there when I laid that hook. Actually the first time I heard the song with his verses was on the radio. Jay came in to work on Graduation with us… he’s a methodical cat in the studio, I’m really fortunate to work in such close proximity to such great artist, it only makes your game stronger.
Tony Williams Feat Jay Z “History”:
SKOPE IT HERE!
Stoli: What is the most personal track on your album & why?
Tony Williams: It’s called “The Crown”. I composed the music and wrote the lyrics totally on my own. I actually wrote the music during the Late Registration sessions. I’d go tinker on the piano on my down time in the studio but it took me until just recently before the concept and words came to me. It’s a rock ballad and it’s the song on the album that is most representative of who i am as an artist, its really pure.
Stoli: Would you consider yourself the king or the fool?
Tony Williams: King or the Fool is about dichotomys, everyone has the potential to be both!!!
Stoli: Thank you Tony Williams!
The World Famous Tony Williams 'Everything About You' video + GWHH Radio [Recap]
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The World Famous Tony Williams drops one of the most complete music videos this year. The new single...The World Famous Tony Williams drops one of the most complete music videos this year. The new single "Everything About You" becomes even that much more powerful the way they took the song's concept and presented a multi-layered story in the video. It starts out with a scene showcasing a couple on the rocks and immediately giving the viewer a rooting interest for the female lead to deserve better than the crazy boyfriend. She leaves their argument to go to a play rehearsal where Tony and her have clearly been developing sparks with the song now playing to help convey the thoughts of Tony's character. Midway through the song, Tony's talking breakdown was so well-crafted to match the song and the video and everything after that in the video was pure art. The crazed boyfriend makes his return at the end and *spoiler alert* barges in, baseball bat in hand, on Tony and his now ex-girlfriend hanging out. What happens next is left for us to decide, which is a dope cliffhanger. The video, directed by Juan Salas, is masterful for stirring up emotions in the viewer and for the way it adds a whole new perspective on the audio. Job well done. You would be remiss not to watch it after the description above. "Everything About You" is the current single off the upcoming album, King Or The Fool, due out by the holidays.
In some bonus Tony Williams coverage, you may recall we had him on GWHH Radio just last week. Well, for those who missed it, you can now listen to the full show below! Tony spills exclusive details about the upcoming album King Or The Fool and gets into the creative process behind not only the album and the single above, but also this year's Finding Dakota Grey mixtape, and his work on Kanye West's upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In fact, you will find out about New Year's Day recording with Kanye, stories about his feature on "All Of The Lights", and even how it all started with "Spaceship". (Fun fact: Tony is Kanye's cousin and has been working with him since the beginning of both of their musical careers). Also during the show, we touched on last week's big-name releases: the new songs featuring Chicago superstars Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Common and some follow up thoughts on the "Runaway" film.
Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/gowhere-hip-hop/2010/11/the-world-famous-tony-williams-everything-about-you-video-gwhh-radio-recap.html#ixzz14TfmAtCF
Tony Williams- Everything About You (Stream x Trailer)
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Fresh off the success of his project, Finding Dakota Grey, singer Tony Williams, who those of you ma...Fresh off the success of his project, Finding Dakota Grey, singer Tony Williams, who those of you may know from a bunch of Kanye tracks, drops the first single from his upcoming debut album, King or the Fool, slated for a December 14th release. The song was penned by Haskel Jackson, Tim Fowlkes, and Tony himself. Peep the trailer for the video above and a stream for the track below (now available on iTunes), as well as a look at the official (HQ) artwork after the jump.
Miss P Edit: Also, tune in next week as Tony will be hosting a live Q&A session on UStream, as well as premiering the official video for “Everything About You”. Tony has already told me what he plans on talkin’ about during this session, & trust me, you will NOT want to miss any of it.
Tony Williams 'Everything About You' leads new videos
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Perhaps you remember the Finding Dakota Grey mixtape from earlier this past spring from the world fa...Perhaps you remember the Finding Dakota Grey mixtape from earlier this past spring from the world famous Tony Williams. No longer with G.O.O.D. Music, Williams has moved on and is free to proceed to drop his solo work, starting with the single above: "Everything About You". It is a very relatable R&B slow jam that I feel a lot of us can appreciate and is only available for purchase on iTunes above, where you can also peep the dope trailer for the forthcoming video. Instead of some generic scenes, the trailer spotlights an argument between a couple and leaves us hanging as the angry boyfriend grabs a baseball bat. Now that's what a trailer is supposed to achieve because I was left on the edge of my seat. Check it all out above and be on the lookout for much more music on the way from Tony Williams!
Down below, Kanye West chops it up with Access Hollywood about a multitude of topics including MBDTF of course. M.anifest delivers the video for the title track of his upcoming project, filmed in beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota. And finally, Chicago's own Add-2 drops the trailer for his upcoming mixtape, Tale Of Two's City: Vol. 4, which you'll see here on GWHH sometime tomorrow! Enjoy!
Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/gowhere-hip-hop/2010/10/tony-williams-everything-about-you-leads-new-videos.html#ixzz14FSUDUDM
G.O.O.D Music Vocalist The World Famous Tony Williams Releases Highly Anticipated Mixtape
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G.O.O.D. Music is proud to present the highly anticipated mixtape by The World Famous Tony Williams....G.O.O.D. Music is proud to present the highly anticipated mixtape by The World Famous Tony Williams. The World Famous Tony Williams: Finding Dakota Grey, available for download on WWW.DATPIFF.COM. FDG, offers a collection of dynamic original music, dope covers and remixes that showcases Tony's ability to perform as the centerpiece. On this expose, Tony steps to the forefront to play ringleader with a cast of featured artists including the remarkably talented Dakota Grey known for her soulful collaborations with some of today's most influential artists. Tony vocally tantalizes his listeners with an array of musical styles ranging from soulful ballads to edgy hip hop club bangers and tremendously differentiates FDG from the mixtapes of his R&B contemporaries by creating an organic texture through his intriguing and compelling writing, displaying his talents as a world class storyteller.
Tony Williams, though today, known primarily as a background performer, has dubbed himself, The World Famous and has earned the name from traveling the world over, more than five times, as the background vocalist for the iconic Grammy winning rapper Kanye West and from being the actual artist who has written, produced and performed the vocals on a majority of the chart topping hits he has performed. Tony has been featured on hits that include "Heartless" from Kanye Wests 808s and Heartbreaks album, "History" by Jay-z for the More Than A Game soundtrack, "Flashing Lights" from Kanye's Graduation album, "We Major" featuring Nas from Kanye's Late Registration album and many more. It is Tony's ability to authenticate the true essence of Rhythm and Blues that has urged influential rappers such as Jay-Z, Nas and, of course, Kanye West to work with him. Because of his first-hand roots in Rhythm and Blues, he is considered a must- have when creating the sounds that characterize the Hip Hop Movement!
FREE Download: The World Famous Tony Williams: Finding Dakota Grey (G.O.O.D Music)
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A brand new mixtape fresh from the G.O.O.D. Music camp by ‘The World Famous Tony Williams’, backgrou...A brand new mixtape fresh from the G.O.O.D. Music camp by ‘The World Famous Tony Williams’, background singer for Kanye West. The World Famous Tony Williams: Finding Dakota Grey, offers a 27-deep collection of original music, covers and remixes. Good song, good voices. A pretty solid body of work!
On this expose, Tony steps to the forefront to play ringleader with a cast of featured artists including Dakota Grey; who has “referenced R&B vocals for Mariah Carey and Busta Rhymes [and] worked for Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado, Bebe Winans, Melanie Daniels, BilaL, Diddy and Jay-Z.
Tony Williams lays claim to his title for traveling the world over more than five times as the background vocalist for Kanye West – and having written, produced and performed the vocals on several of the hits he has performed on.
Tony has been featured on hits that include “Heartless” (Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreaks), “History” (Jay-Z – More Than A Game OST), “Flashing Lights” (Kanye West – Graduation) and “We Major” (Kanye West – Late Registration).