Coming to the Abbotsford Convent for the first time this month, The Boite Singers’ Festival 2017 is an exploration of music and its many facets, from songwriting to performance. With top local and international talent, this celebration of music from around the world includes what will surely be illuminating song-writing workshops with Geoffrey Williams. We talk to Williams about who and what inspires him, performing at the Abbotsford Convent, and how he came to write music for the iconic Michael Jackson.
What is your creative process for writing music for others, versus writing your own music?
The process is similar but when writing music for others, I have a little more objectivity. I consider them as artists and what may be needed in terms of lyrical content and melody, etc. But essentially, it’s the same, coming up with musical ideas in between teaching, cooking and admin.
How did you come to write music for Michael Jackson?
I was signed to a publishing company called Hit & Run Music and while there, I wrote a song with a friend of mine Gil Cang, who was also signed to them. H&R sent the song around and it was recorded by an artist signed to Sony. He was dropped and his manager took the song to Teddy Riley, then a producer with the late Michael Jackson, who recorded it.
As a performer and writer who hails from the UK and has performed and written music for other musicians around the world, what do you like most about the Australian music scene?
I like its homemade/home-grown quality. It’s very down to earth and seems very community centric. How long that will last is anybody’s guess, but it feels like one’s music can find a home, especially with community radio, like PBS and 3RRR.
How would you describe your musical style?
Loose, fluid and funky.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Loose! I’m just sharing the information I’ve been lucky enough to gain.
Name the top three influencers on your music?
The fact that life is short. Many of my heroes have passed away recently, i.e. Bowie, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Muhammad Ali, Prince. It must be our turn to take up the mantle. So, I’d better say what I came to say. Remembering the things/people I love and why I love them. Creating music that reflects the many-sided figure that is me.
What’s the best thing about The Boite Singers’ Festival?
Being among other people who love singing nearly as much as I do.
The Boite Singers’ Festival is open to people of all levels of ability and experience. What would you say to encourage people who love signing, but are lacking in confidence?
Join a community choir. Singing together is a great experience and is actually good for you.
What are you most looking forward to about teaching and performing at the Convent?
Just being among the throng at the new venue.
What advice do you have for musicians and singers starting out?
Follow your heart, be good at what you do, persevere and be nice.
What are you currently working on?
Producing an EP for my partner’s band The Winter Berries, collaborating with poet Nathan Curnow on a poetry/looping project, writing and producing my own EP and creating pieces and arrangements for the new choir I’m running in Melbourne, The October Choir, among many other things.
The Boite Singers’ Festival 2017 at Abbotsford Convent runs from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 January 2017, 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Online sales through Trybooking close at 3pm on Thursday 12 January. Tickets can still be purchased at the door after this time.
For more information visit boite.com.au