The early spring of 2002 was a major turning point in my life. My second marriage had just collapsed and laid smoking on the ground back in Michigan. I had been married for ten years and felt as though I had wasted most of my life in an abusive relationship with someone, who had been diagnosed with a personality disorder. I lost everything including my son and my old guitar I had since the army. She had sold it. For the first time in ten years I felt free to do what I had always wanted to do – be a country music star!
I was born in December under the Sagittarius zodiac, the adventurer, so a new life and a fresh beginning to me were very much exciting. I welcomed it with an open heart and mind.
Directly in front of me was a road sign on highway 17 South that said ‘Phoenix 72 miles’. Now most would think that a fellow with big dreams of being a country music singer would go to Nashville Tennessee, but there was something inside of me, a still small voice saying, “Arizona! Go to Arizona!”
I did not question this inspiration even for a moment; I just went with my gut feeling for the first time in years. As a result, there I was in Arizona. I had nothing with me, no suitcases of things, except a small brown bag with a couple of things in it. I did not know a single soul there, but for the first time, as I was dropping in elevation towards that Desert, I felt at home like no other time in my life. It was a very strange feeling but a good one. I did call ahead and made arrangements with a man, who owned a hotel, for he was in need of a plumbing repair. Unfortunately, when I got to town, he had changed his mind and I had no place to stay. Well, step one was not working too great, there I was 2000 miles from home and homeless.
I pulled into a corner gas station to cool down and get something to snack on. The lady at the till started talking to me and asking questions, so I began telling her my story. She was horrified. “Oh my God!” she said, “What are you going to do?” I answered that I had no idea, but even then I believed everything will be just fine. Just then a local man walked in and she said: “Steve, you are a single guy, right?” He nodded in conformity. Then she said: “Listen to this guy’s story.” I told Steve my story of how I came out to Arizona for a new start, about the hotel and the man who ran it and the fact that I had nowhere to stay.
When I finished, Steve said that his place was a very tiny one, he had a pop up camper on a lot just down the street, but I was more than welcome to stay in his new “Jeep”, where the seats reclined. Finally, I had somewhere to stay, I had a home. I used his bathroom everyday to clean up and shave. Life was good. I lived that way for about three months. Later I found a place of my own. Steve helped me when I was most in need, even though at that time he did not know me at all. He was also a musician.
After moving into my new home, which was Steve’s Jeep, I landed a job as a plumber the next day and the Phoenix valley was booming at the time. With the job came benefits and a van…. A bigger home! The van was supplied by a company; it was a plumbing van, with a door on the side. Each night I would lay a piece of plywood on the floor in the back, with a pad and a sleep-craving for successping bag that Steve gave me. At last I was able to lay flat and stretch out.
On my first payday the inner voice came again saying that it was time to buy a guitar. I had played guitar since 1984 while in the army. I used to write songs as well. So my supervisor from work took me to his favourite music store, introduced me to a few people and I walked out of there with my first guitar of my new life. I felt truly wonderful! I poured my soul into that guitar and began writing songs about my life.
Soon afterwards I met the President of the Arizona Songwriters Association, Mr. Jon Iger. I met him at a Nashville Star competition in Phoenix. After I played my song there, they took a break from the judging, and then Jon asked me if I wrote the songs myself. He then gave me his business card and asked me to get in touch with him. I did exactly that and since that day he has been one of my good friends. I felt as if fate had guided us together, because before that particular competition I had to stand for three long hours in the hot Phoenix sun in order to get in and play my songs. Well, it was worth it!
I do not know what it was that Jon had seen in me, but he tucked me under his wing and began introducing me to various people in the music world: producers, record guy’s that would fly out to Phoenix. It was a great thing, however, my songs only worked for me, as these guys were looking for songs for guys that had already made their mark in the music industry.
A few years had gone by and life just kept on rolling by day after day. About three years had passed. I worked as a plumber from time to time, until it began interfering with my music. So I did side jobs to survive and played music out whenever I could. I had given up the plumbing trade to pursue music on a full time basis.
Now remember, I had nothing. Nothing!! When I arrived in Phoenix, I had a brown paper bag and couple of things inside it. One night I was at some friend’s house playing music in their backyard at a big barbeque they were having when I was approached by a fellow with beer on his breath telling me he had a friend who was best friends with the guy named Johnny who recorded Leann Rimes “Blue” and “Unchained Melodies” albums. He told me he really liked my songs and my sound and that I had a voice, which should be heard. My good looks and great personality helped as well. He thought Johnny would like my music as well.
A year had passed by pretty quickly. I found the woman of my dreams, we got married and I was living life with my best friend. She is spiritual, fun to be with; she has high morals and seriousness about the things she does. She is happy and secure with herself, tall and drop dead beautiful. We keep one another’s lives more exciting! After we got married, we got our own home. My wife is a nurse. We have been married for over four years now.
I was telling her the story about the barbeque party and the guy, who told me about Leann Rimes Producer. My wife then said: “What did the guy say about your music?” I told her I heard nothing from him, because I had never sent him anything. She then said: “Why not?” She then told me I needed to send him a copy of my CD to get his opinion on it at least. So naturally being the man of the house I did what she said. I felt great following her advice; it was something I had always wanted to do. I wanted to settle down in my career as a country musician and have a normal life. I believed I could succeed. With my wife’s belief and support I could conquer the world.
I sent my CD to Mr. Johnny Mulhair in Clovis, New Mexico, and then started pacing the floor wondering what he might think. I questioned myself whether I was good enough. There were just a few of the thoughts that ran rampant through my mind. Johnny called me about a week and a half later from Clovis, New Mexico: “Is this Finch Williams?” I said it was. Then he said: “I got your CD. Did you write those songs?” I answered positively. He then exploded: “You are one song writing son of a gun!” This comment of his blew me away.
Johnny agreed to produce my first album “My Life’s Road”. I went to Clovis, recorded the album of ten songs and came back home to wait for the finished product. The Recording took about three weeks; the mixing took a few months. We had our album complete and in hand in six months, ready to sell! I felt on top of the world.
I could not believe what was happening to me, my whole life was in the process of a change. I actually had attracted a Multi-Platinum producer into my life! I was dreaming of the right person to come along, who would believe in me and be honest and trustworthy. My dream finally came true!
The album was a huge project. The album was going to be expensive and I did not have much money at that time. I don’t know why I said this to Johnny, but I told him that I was a plumber. He then said: “Oh, you’re a plumber! I need a plumber to look at my daughter’s house.” It needed to be totally re-plumbed, so we swapped labour. I still had to pay for the musicians, and so folks around us here in Arizona and back home sent us sponsorship money.
I needed help, I looked for help and people one by one began to emerge. My neighbour, Pete, was a website guy and graphics designer. He jumped with both feet into the project; he developed my website, my whole album, cover, inside stuff. All of it!
I then started promoting the best way I could. I sent my album to many places and people. I sent the album to the folks who put on one of the biggest country music festivals in the Midwest. The National traditional country music association (NTCMA) loved my album and invited me to come and play it at their festival. While there, I was awarded “Americana Album of the Year 2009”! It was something I least expected and something that paved a path for my music career. By the way, we have done all of this without the help of a major label, and it keeps getting better as time goes forward.
Since this has happened I have received airplay on FM stations all over the place and on the World Wide Web. I have been invited to play for the St. Judes Radiothon, Professional Bull Riders (PBR), various events, folklore and blue grass festivals, I joined the Americana Music Association, and my fan base keeps growing stronger every day.
Above all, I have touched other people’s lives too, which means more to me than any amount of money. I have touched people in various ways. I have had people come to me crying after a show, saying it felt like I had followed them their whole life, my songs helped people grieve for lost loved ones and I have inspired many people no matter what age that it is never too late to follow your dreams. I am forty five now and I am having the best ride of my life!
Country Music Singer/ Songwriter
Phoenix, Arizona, US
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