NEPA Scene’s Got Talent spotlight: Scranton solo bassist Grant Williams
Every week of NEPA Scene’s Got Talent, our free open mic and talent competition at Thirst T’s Bar & Grill in Olyphant, we feature a quick Q&A with the latest audience vote winner, which was solo bassist Grant Williams on Sept. 1.
The weekly winner receives $50 in cash, courtesy of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, and the headlining slot for the following Tuesday, and all other performers are encouraged to compete again as often as they’d like or simply show off their talents for fun. The event is sponsored by Samuel Adams; LT Verrastro, Inc.; Fireball Cinnamon Whisky; Fuzz 92.1; TwentyFiveEight Studios; and Thirst T’s.
After 12 weeks, the 12 winners will face off against each other at the Finals Showcase on Dec. 1 in front of a panel of local celebrities who will determine the winner of the grand prize – a winter getaway package with ski passes and more, $250, an interview broadcast on Fuzz 92.1, and a free 10-hour recording session at TwentyFiveEight Studios in Scranton. The second place winner will receive $100.
We asked Williams, a 28-year-old Scranton resident, about winning Week 1 with his original bass compositions.
NEPA SCENE: You were a weekly winner and finalist in Season 1 of NEPA Scene’s Got Talent. What brought you back for Season 2?
GRANT WILLIAMS: Really had fun during Season 1. Returning was an easy choice.
NS: What was your experience participating in Season 1 like?
GW: I used Season 1 of the event to “get on my feet” musically and find my voice in this new avenue. I think many artists that I shared the stage with were doing the same. It’ll be interesting to see them all back for Season 2.
NS: For those who don’t know you yet, tell us a bit about your background as a musician.
GW: I picked up the bass 10 years ago, and I remain just as hooked as day one. It’s just the coolest instrument to me. I played in a lot of rock and metal bands throughout the years and recently started writing and performing these solo bass compositions.
NS: What are you working on currently?
GW: I want to put out a music video to accompany every song I write. After releasing the first one, “A Single Step,” I got a lot of attention and work from it. A good problem to have, but it prevented me from releasing the second one as quickly as I wanted to. Now that the dust has settled, I’m in contact with several videographers to produce more.
NS: What are your goals as an artist? What do you want audiences to take away from your work?
GW: That’s a damn good question. I guess I just want to create something I’m proud of, something people can relate to. Since I don’t have lyrics, I try to give a background on some of the songs and their meanings. It’s nice to hear someone come up after a performance and say that they related with the music.
NS: What was your reaction when you won the audience vote last week?
GW: Simply thrilled.
NS: What will you be performing for your headlining set this week?
GW: I’ve been hammering out a new one over the past two weeks. It should be finished in time for the show. Hopefully a second new one will fall out of the sky and I can do a whole new set.
NS: How will you spend your $50 prize?
GW: “Date Night.”
NS: What are you most looking forward to about the Finals Showcase?
GW: Same as Season 1. Being a part of all those people and watching them do what they love? Find me a better hobby/profession.
NS: What is your opinion of the local arts and entertainment scene? What is great about it, and what needs improvement?
GW: I truly think the scene here is great. On any given weekend, you can find an amazingly talented group of musicians who will put on a wonderful show. But there are two big problems here – one is dedication. Success in music (or anything) takes years. It takes your full attention and heart, and I notice a lot of people who don’t dedicate the necessary time to it rarely stumble upon success. A lot of them get frustrated fast. They start to give up, and turn into the second problem we have – haters. A lot of the people who bitch about the scene being “dead” or “not what it used to be” are doing only that – bitching. Put down your keyboard and pick up your instrument. The scene is great to people who don’t fight it.
NS: Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to promote?
GW: I’ll be at the Irish Wolf Pub in Scranton on Sept. 19 with drummer Chris Langan for the Electric City Music Conference.
NS: Where can people find your music online?
GW: Facebook, ReverbNation, and YouTube.
For more information on Season 2 of NEPA Scene’s Got Talent, which is always free and open to anyone, click here.
See more photos from last week’s event here.
Photo by Robb Malloy/NEPA Scene
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, photographer, and podcast host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.