There is charisma, and then there is Jarreau Williams whose showmanship is bar none when it comes to DC’s Pop R&B scene. The 4-time Wammie Award winner has been stealing shows and hearts with his catchy tunes and unstoppable charm since he was a kid coming up in Alexandria, Virginia, and he continues to keep his sights set on the future with new shows and music for 2023.
Despite the accolades that he’s accumulated in his career in music so far, he remains humble and grounded about his process and his role in his local music scene. “I never want that to be the focus – that I’m making this to win an award. I’m making it because I like it. I love it. These are the kinds of sounds I want to create.”
In chatting about his musical upbringing and current interests, it’s clear that Jarreau is moved by moments of spontaneity and connectivity with people in his community. His latest EP, All The Cards, shows off his proclivity for collaborating with various producers and singers (including the single “Starting Over” with Stephanie Mathias, which we covered in fall 2021). There’s an earnestness in the way he talks about both his past and future vision, and his ongoing experiments with danceable pop and R&B continue to speak for themselves when it comes to the level of heart that goes into them.
So, it should be no surprise that his forthcoming single “Cherry” is all that and a power-packed bag of chips. In an exclusive preview, I got to experience the track firsthand, and I can say that within milliseconds the vamped synthesized vocals had me captivated and transported to the nearest possible dancefloor (my kitchen), grooving like there would be no tomorrow. Like so much of Williams’ music, it is a straight-up good time ready to happen for anyone who presses play.
The energy of the song exudes a high level of swagger and confidence, which stems from the lyrical inspiration: a seemingly random encounter with an alluring stranger.
“I was eating dinner at the bar, watching my friends play, minding my business when a young woman sat down next to me. Out of nowhere, she asked me if I was finished eating my bread and asked for a piece. Immediately, I was hooked. Anyone THAT bold and charismatic is worth knowing,” Williams jokes. “She was waiting for her friend and starving. We chatted until she got there and made fun of it; but I never got her name.”
Unbeknownst any average bystander, the electric conversation that spawned from this otherwise mundane question about bread transforms into something magical with Jarreau’s musical prowess. That moment may not have looked like a lot from the outside, but looks clearly aren’t everything here. It’s the feeling he got from the conversation’s spontaneity that takes centerstage in the lyricism, and ultimately, the song’s fearless strut. The flawless singing, the intoxicating backbeat, and the sublime synthesizers make for an unstoppable musical force.
Produced by Austin Bello, who also collaborated on Williams’ title track from last summer’s EP, All The Cards, “Cherry” will have you ready to take on the world. For fans of Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake, this song will be a must-add to your pre-Spring playlist when it releases on February 10, 2023.
And if that’s not enough Jarreau Williams for you, he will be debuting the live charismatic funk of “Cherry” the very next day at a special Valentine’s Day themed show being held at the Hard Rock Café in Washington, D.C.
When it comes to his artistry, Jarreau is very clear in his intention first and foremost to be an entertainer. “The main thing is that whether they hear my music, or if you come to see me live, you’re going get an experience. You’re going get a show. I’m about entertaining and giving people the best experience they can have while they’re out with me.”
If you are familiar with his larger-than-life presence in a recorded song, there is so much more to experience when it comes to his unbreakable live persona. Do not miss this show!
Ticket information for Jarreau Williams at Hard Rock Café are available now on his official website, and if you aren’t already, but sure to follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, and his other social media profiles for future updates.
Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.
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