Chatting with Paul Williams: Academy Award and Grammy winner

Paul Williams at the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Paul Williams at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York. Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin, Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

Paul Williams, Academy Award and Grammy winner, chatted on the red carpet of the 2024 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The 53rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards GALA took place at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Background on Paul Williams

Williams is one of the most respected music creators in the globe. A lyricist and composer who has won an Oscar Award, three Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, an Ivor Novello International Award, and he earned an induction into the coveted Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Williams’ classics range from “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “You and Me Against the World” and “The Rainbow Connection” to “Touch” and “Beyond” on Daft Punk’s chart-topping “Album of the Year,” Random Access Memories, on which he also performed, receiving a Grammy as featured artist.  

As President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Williams is also a leading spokesman for music creators in the digital age.

Paul Williams at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York. Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin, Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

Williams on the Songwriters Hall of Fame

On being a part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Williams said, “This is the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Very specifically, it all begins with a song. When it happens… when you do wind up in the Hall of Fame, it’s amazing.”

Williams addresses the significance of the Johnny Mercer Award

“The Johnny Mercer Award is a special award that is given once you are already a member in the Songwriters Hall of Fame,” Williams said.

“Tonight, I have the honor of giving that to an amazing lady… I don’t know if it’s a secret or if it has been announced or not. Anyway, she has had so many Oscar nominations… you will probably figure out who it is,” he elaborated.

Williams presented the Johnny Mercer Award to Honorary Oscar winner Diane Warren.

Williams on the power of songwriting

On the power of songwriting, Williams said, “First of all, it has fed my kids for gas and a car to drive them to school. The main thing is that songwriting is my connection to the world around me.”

“When I say something authentically from the center of my chest, and somebody else hears it and responds to it, and they go ‘I feel that way too’ that is an amazing feeling,” he acknowledged.

Williams on the importance of connection

“All of a sudden, the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; it’s connection,” he expressed. “Long before I got sober 34 years ago, the way I connected with people was when I wrote honestly about myself and they responded to it.”

“So, when somebody gets married to ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ or a kid learns to play ‘Rainbow Connection’ or if they love a Daft Punk record, I feel a little less alone,” he concluded.

To learn more about Paul Williams, check out his official website, and follow him on Instagram.

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