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

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."