Kenji Williams

by Maho from San Diego

Flashing lights, trance-like music, and unbelievable sights. Feel the smooth water, the cold air, and the white-hot flames. Fly through the sky and gaze down on the glory of the earth. It is 70% water, and the only known planet stable enough to support life. Bright colors flash, bodies bend and twist, and at the center of it all, a single man with a violin. Williams has allowed his unique experiences to lead him to his own way of bringing together everything he loves into one amazing art to help his home and the people in it. Seven-year-old Kenji Williams took up the violin in a classical setting. Born and raised in Malaysia until he was three, Williams moved to the U.S. with his parents, where he attended both Japanese and international schools. Throughout his school career, Williams participated in his school music programs and also took up other visual arts experiences. "'I began producing music in high school, performing with orchestras, while also becoming interested in Computer graphics, animation, and film production. I went to 5 years of film school in Toronto, and Boulder Colorado.'" (Slepian). Through his high school career and into his adult life, Williams kept going with his musical training in a rather interesting tangent. He went into ethereal and trance music. "Tracking Kenji's multimedia career, from serious classical violin training, to his early influences in Detroit and European techno, to a BFA in Film Production, to 4 years touring with trance group Medicine Drum, while simultaneously producing and directing films and music videos, the combination of ingredients that make Williams's art fuse into an exotic, tantalizing, and intoxicating audio visual experience."(Slepian) Williams has progressed through his music career and has continued on to create an organization named BELLA GAIA, meaning beautiful earth, and also raised funds for other organizations like NASA. Williams, along with the rest of the world, is in a race against time to save the planet we thrive on. Kenji Williams, an accomplished filmmaker and composer, has devoted his life to his cause through his dedication regarding his work, his selfless contributions to the development of education, sciences, and eco-centric awareness, and his innovative techniques and approach to his own art form.

Music is an extremely risky and unstable path to take in a career, but with his passion for his work, Williams' dedication allowed him to push through all of the obstacles of being a musician and carried on to his work in the arts. Williams has spent the past 30 years of his life studying and perfecting his music and skill in visual arts. The music industry is a shifty place, where anyone can become successful and just one mistake can end a career. Even though there is a lot of doubt and risk in investing so much time in such a fragile dream, Williams still used all of his time and experience to push his way into the music and visual arts world. Throughout his career, Williams had Williams spent 4 years on tour with the trance group Medicine Drum while also spending time directing and producing several videos. These events in his life allowed him to create a striking, otherworldly visual experience. (Slepian) Williams has been trained both in classical music and in his own ethereal style music. Both are two of the most unstable types of music, especially in the States where pop music is the most popular. Williams' dedication to his music is a great accomplishment in the time and place that he has decided to share his music in. Plenty of musicians probably would have given up any other occupations, since it is a demanding profession, and most musicians are full time musicians who teach or play in some kind of ensemble. Williams, however, was so determined to realize his own ideal of a better earth, that he found a way to combine the two, though completely unrelated, and create amazing and beautiful works of art from them. Also, Williams was able to create his own style of music. Most musicians have a hard time making it through to being professionals with a set form of classical, jazz, or lyrical music. But Williams has worked hard to achieve his own particular blend and style of music. "Williams has been focusing on fusing his visual arts, music, and live performance work into a unified experience. In 2003, he composed and directed a multimedia project called Worldspirit, which combined Williams' music with animated paintings and spoken word poetry performed by painter Alex Grey."(Lam). Combining music and visual arts is not an experiment that is unheard of, but Williams has worked hard to achieve his own particular blend and style of music. To be able to train classically, which in itself takes a lot of time and effort, and to also find the perfect blend and balance of sound and sight is an amazing feat. Williams, at only forty, has not only successfully created his own style of music, but has also watched his music take flight, created an organization based off of that music, and also helped save the natural world. Williams has a dedication that is significantly unstoppable.

Williams has become an extremely successful musician and has performed all around the world. However his ultimate goal calls for him to be selfless and give back to the world he lives in. Most musicians will express how music allows them to bring joy and other emotions to their audiences. Others will say that they love the way music makes them feel. Williams holds a goal that is only slightly different, but makes all the difference in the message he sends. "Use my works to bring Harmony, by opening yourself to the deeper layers and refined detail of my work. In this way, you refine your own awareness, and open deeper layers of peace within. Through this meditation, translate this refinement and deep peace in your actions, your words, your thoughts. This integration within the self, and within a species, to me, is what creates Harmony."(Williams) During his interview with Don Slepian, Williams made this statement. There is no asking for profit or to donate to certain charities or organizations. It is a drawn out way of saying a simple message. Enjoy the music and let it bring peace. There is so little asked of the audience in return for his hard work. Even in his goal for his music, he works towards harmony in the world. Williams is truly playing his music for the health and well being of his audience. It is a small detail, but it makes all the difference in the effect of the deed. Not only has Williams contributed to the general well being of the public, but he has also taken to the task of supporting the knowledge of man as well. "In addition to public and critical acclaim, Williams has raised over half a million dollars in funding from NASA and other foundations, and Pioneer, Panasonic, and Sony corporations have sponsored Williams with technology to support his artistic vision." (Takahashi). Williams has collaborated with NASA on many occasions and has even developed a new form of visual arts technique called "the Overview Effect". Most musicians will dedicate themselves solely to a single organization or cause. Williams has somehow figured out how to support several organizations along with his own. His selflessness gives him versatility and allows him to extend his kindness into many areas of education and art. For him to achieve the level of success he has, Williams must be innovative with the things he does.

Williams has extended his hand to many different organizations and causes, but to do so he has become innovative and has experimented in many ways. Williams has proven his brilliance through his experimentations and success in creating his own style of ethereal/ambiance music. "Kenji Williams is creating the cutting edge of musical composition and performance, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of film & visual communication. Collaborating with the most respected artists of our time, Kenji Williams is literally re-shaping the context of electronic music, film, and live theater. Considered by many as the "next level" of electronic music and performance, Kenji Williams delivers unique and un-matched audio visual talent to the audience, with a violin that shatters any stereotypes of cold electronica." (Slepian). Being a musician is a hard career in itself, but to create a personal style is an amazing accomplishment in itself. An even bigger accomplishment to refine and finish it until it is recognized by the current generations. Another huge move he has made is great steps in visual entertainment. A lot of the effects in his shows are comprised of light shows and amazing on screen visual effects. "Inspired by astronauts who spoke of the life changing power of seeing the Earth from space, award-winning filmmaker, composer, and violinist Kenji Williams created BELLA GAIA to simulate this transformative effect called the "Overview Effect". Working closely with NASA's scientific visualization studio, BELLA GAIA successfully simulates space flight, taking the audience on a spectacular journey around planet Earth."("Bella Gaia Featuring Kenji Williams."). Williams, along with his new methods in sound production, has made huge success in his visual arts profession. In collaboration with NASA, he's created an entirely new visual effect for his shows. His creative views on environmentalism and his effects onstage have drawn a rather large crowd to his work in both film and music. Williams' most defining quality is his innovative mind both in his music and his visual arts.

Dedication and innovation are two of the key elements in Williams' journey towards raising awareness for the earth and his selfless gift to the advancement of sciences and education. Williams has devoted most of his life to his music. That kind of steadfastness is a trait that is valued everywhere. Of course, there are many who have wholeheartedly thrown themselves into their music, but Williams has committed his life to two causes, rather than just one. His ability to combine his interests as well as his new discoveries in both visual arts and in the musical world has been extremely successful. His dedication and innovative nature pave the way for his selfless actions. Williams works tirelessly to help save the earth. Years and years of work have only just begun paying off. Williams has worked with several different organizations and artists and that on its own is very impressive. But his effect on our world today makes the difference. He has raised funds for organizations like NASA, which in turn helps with advancement in science and knowledge. He has also created advancements in visual technology and has had an overall positive effect on everything he's done throughout his career. Williams, especially during the process of research, has really hit a point with me. As a musician, I have come to expect more of myself, especially when it concerns my dedication to my art. He has allowed me to see music in an entirely different light. To me, it is no longer a simple way to heal the soul, but a physical way of healing the earth and the things in it. In spite of the fact that the new trend in lifestyles has become more aimed at being "green", people are still very largely the cause for the deterioration of the condition of Earth. Williams may only have a small impact in returning the earth to the way it once was; yet he has made a greater effort than most. The current world is so in need of harmony, both between people and with the world around us. Our world is so full of violence and neglect that it is painful to watch. There is need for the peace and amity that once existed in this world, and we can all work towards that pure, green earth once more. However, this is no sprint. It is a marathon. Although Williams is only part of the first step towards that goal, the first push is what sets off the sprint. 


Works Cited

"Bella Gaia Featuring Kenji Williams." Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment. Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment, n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. .

Lam, Sophie. "Grantee Spotlight." Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. .

Slepian, Don. " Biography." Mood-Elevating Visual Music for Your Body, Mind and Soul. Harmony Channel, 2008. Web. 21 Mar. 2014. .

Terao, Nozomi, and Nanami Takahashi. "J-COLLABO.ORG." JCOLLABOORG. N.p., 2014. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. .


Page created on 10/24/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/6/2024 9:50:05 PM

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