Aaron James Williams is a former student whose star is rising fast, building a reputation via a distinct sound that appeals to many substantial artists and companies. He talks to Noa Enderli about his time at BIMM and how it helped shape him into the accomplished artist he is today
Aaron James moved to London in 2010 to study a BMUS in Popular Music Performance at BIMM. Besides being a fervent electric/acoustic guitarist and studying the instrument, he gathered a wealth of experience in the music sphere by expanding his skills to playing keys and composing.
He describes his style as electronic pop / cinematic composition, although says that he likes playing music that he wouldn’t necessarily listen to himself as he thinks it’s good to learn from other styles. He spent the early days of his career working extra hard on researching and connecting with people who hire session musicians, understanding that ‘networking plays a monumental role in this game’. His labours soon paid off as he started working with Jacob Banks and supporting artists such as Emeli Sande, Jamie Cullum and Alicia Keys on her UK arena tour.
“You find that as you play for a few artists it kind of snowballs and you get more work from the same label or management company.”
It’s that snowball effect that gave him opportunities to play with significant artists, whether live or in the studio, as well as composing for TV and various adverts.
He says: “I played with Laura Welsh, RAYE, Hilary Duff, Martin Garrix, Nicole Scherzinger, Kerry Ellis and Brian McFadden. I have also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Godspell and the X Factor.”
More recently he worked on Craig David’s new record, Follow My Intuition, (which went to number 1 in the UK) and co-wrote the track What If. He’s been playing with the veteran UK soul singer since then and is currently touring all around the UK. Aaron’s list of collaborations is as long as it is diverse, yet he’s always looking for new opportunities to challenge his creativity:
“I’ve written music and recorded as a session player for Olay, Renault, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, Nikon and various others. It’s quite a new path but it’s one I want to pursue further.”
His passion for creating music is as fervent as his commitment to excel. He is inspired by willpower to succeed and cites Tre Jean Marie as ‘a huge influence because of how much he works and how he constantly pushes the creative boundaries’. Surrounding himself with ‘people who are better than me so I can learn as much as possible’ leaves no room for arrogance but inspires him to give his best and thrive in the process.
Williams says his motto is ‘persistence guarantees that results are inevitable’ and his career more than backs that up. As a closing thought he says:
“You have to ask yourself, If money didn’t exist would I still be doing what I’m doing? That’s the bottom line for me, really. There’s no coincidence that the people who are the best at their jobs are the ones who are obsessed with it.”