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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."