AUSTIN, TEXAS —
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.