News / Arts & Entertainment

Texas Teen Examines the Music of the Backyard

Texas Teen Examines the Music of the Backyardi
X
March 25, 2013 9:17 PM
Austin, the capital city of Texas, bills itself as “The Live Music Capital of the World” and supports a vast array of local musical talents. One of the newest singer-songwriters on the scene is William Graham, the 13-year-old son of well-known Austin musician Jon Dee Graham. William made his debut at this year's "South by Southwest" Festival - held in Austin earlier this month. And as VOA's Greg Flakus reports, he is a gifted young man whose interests range from music to engineering.
Texas Teen Examines the Music of the Backyard
Greg Flakus
Austin, the capital city of Texas, bills itself as “The Live Music Capital of the World” and supports a vast array of local musical talents.  One of the newest  singer-songwriters on the scene is William Graham, the 13-year-old son of well-known Austin musician Jon Dee Graham.  William made  his debut at this year's "South by Southwest" Festival - held in Austin earlier this month.  And  he is a gifted young man whose interests range from music to engineering.
 
At this year's South By Southwest Festival, the Saxon Pub put established Texas singers and their musical offspring onstage together.
 
For singer John Dee Graham's 13-year-old son, William, this was a debut.
 
Hanging out with famous performers like Jimmie Dale Gilmore is natural for William.
 
His father says he grew up among musicians. “His first question, when he was learning to talk and he would meet someone, he would go ''What do you play?' because he thought everybody was a musician," he said. 
 
William is now a skilled guitar player and writes his own songs. “I have always been around music and I have always loved going to shows and listening to music," he said. 
 
But William also enjoys some quiet moments in one of Austin's nature preserves, where he has time to think about his music, his writing and his many other interests, like architecture, engineering and environmental architecture. 

He has taken classes in these subjects at Northwestern University's program for gifted and talented youth. But he has also had to endure a hipbone disorder that kept him out of competitive sports.
 
“It has been hard living and not being able to do the things that other kids have done and I have always observed the world in a certain way and it just gave me all this different stuff I wanted to write about," he said. 
 
William Graham has great empathy for people suffering from hardship and abuse; he wrote one song about children caught up in wars in Africa.
 
“It is raising awareness about African child soldiers and the children who are being taken away from their homes and given guns to go and fight in an army," he said. 
 
William credits his father as an inspiration, but John Dee Graham says he provides minimal guidance to his gifted son.
 
“As little as possible, because, as an artist, he needs to find his own way, and he is, and, as a kid, he has to find his own way, and he is," he said. 
 
Jon Dee Graham and his son William, carrying on a family music tradition.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings: Nnekai
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
August 26, 2015 2:42 PM
Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.