Hi! I'm Nathaniel "Nate" Tinner-Williams, and I'm an 4-octave vocalist from America living in San Francisco.
I grew up in Evansville, Indiana, raised on Black Church spirituals and the latest in top 40 pop music. In middle school, I discovered rap and rock, and by the time I was in college (in Los Angeles) I was listening to every genre under the sun. At college, I collaborated with artists ranging from folk to R&B to pop to indie music. Up to that point, I had also been singing classical music and contemporary Gospel in different choirs since elementary school. Overall, I was honing my craft as I discovered the things you can do with a 4-octave voice. After I graduated from college, I lived in New Orleans for a year, where I fell in love with jazz and funk, and where I realized I wanted to someday sing full-time. Always looking to collaborate!
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Interview with Nate Tinner-Williams
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I was a part of a singer-songwriter collective in Los Angeles that met weekly to brainstorm and collaborate. Some of the craziest singers I know would gather in one room and that's always a blast. I was a contributor like anyone else, giving ideas about lyrics, harmonies, progressions, and whatever else. It was cool to feel like everyone in the room was coming to the the same level to make something unique, even though many people in the room were in some ways more accomplished than others.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working with a jazz-funk band that's doing covers as well as original songs for the local scene here in Seoul, South Korea.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Getting a sing for a living. It's one of the few things I've been doing almost my whole life, and it's always fun to explore something I have expertise in.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I'm not a magician. While it's good to throw out singers' names to let me know the kind of sound you want, I cannot reproduce John Legend or Michael Jackson to the T, and I wouldn't want to. I will sound like Nate Tinner, but I can take on different styles to hearken to different popular voices.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What kind of vocal dynamics are you looking for? One style, or a fused style? Are you looking for me to match the vocal style of an existing well-known singer, or do you want a vocal style like no one has ever heard before?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make clear the sound you want to hear, provide the music in as final a form as possible, and watch me work.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: All I need is one (Shure) mic.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been singing for over 20 years, including in award-winning choirs, alongside indie bands, and in solo and ensemble groups. I started in a "Black church" choir singing spirituals, experienced a more classical style in school choirs between the ages of 6 and 23, sang in a contemporary Gospel choir during high school, and got into indie, pop, jazz and R&B during and after college as a part of various bands.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: A free-spirited, jazzy tenor voice with Gospel influences
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Snarky Puppy. Being on Family Dinner, Vol. 3 would be a dream come true.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't double or triple the vocals. Especially a cappella stuff. It makes for a robotic sound that can't be easily reproduced live, and it's hard to impress people with something that's clearly artificial.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Jazz, funk, Christian, and Gospel
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Vocal improvisation
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Smooth vocal precision, versatile styling, and improvisation if needed.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Snarky Puppy, Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Franklin, Mariah Carey, David Phelps, Amy Perry
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Recording vocals. I'm a simple man.