Update 2 p.m. Thursday, July 23: Just heard from Michael Williams, The Voice contestant who's singing at Kings Island today through Sunday, and July 30-31. He says he's passing on college this fall for some "exciting" out-of-town projects with "some amazing artists/writers."
Here's an update on the 18-year-old Deerfield Township resident who was singing in the Festhaus country music revue a year ago:
Have you booked many gigs during the pandemic?
"It is a crazy time to be booking gigs and getting opportunities and a lot of the music world is on hold right now. But I have been blessed to sing at a few weddings and events over the past couple months. I feel so grateful to have my own show at Kings Island because of the fact that a lot of the music industry/entertainment business is down right now."
Did you put together a band for your Kings Island shows?
"For my show at Kings Island, I was able to connect with a few of the musicians that have played past shows at Kings Island. One of these musicians has been a family friend for a long time so it’s really nice to work with a band that I am familiar with."
What are you doing this fall?
"This fall I will be focusing my energy on a couple different projects that have been in the works for a little while now. I won’t say too much to spoil anything, but it is going to be exciting. For now, college will be on hold but I will be traveling to work with some amazing artists/writers."
Original post Tuesday, July 21: After his three months on The Voice, Michael Williams has returned to Kings Island to sing on center stage.
Williams, 18, who was part of the "Country Flashback" show in the Festhaus last summer, will sing on the International Street bandstand stage at the base of the Eiffel Tower Thursday through Sunday, July 23-26, and Thursday through Friday July 30-31, says Chad Showalter, Kings Island communications director. Show times are 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
His performances come before Kings Island reduces operations next month. The park will be closed 15 of 31 days in August, including every Wednesday and Thursday. It will begin a weekends-only schedule after Aug. 16, according to the calendar posted Monday. The park also no longer requires an online reservation to enter the park, Kings Island announced on Facebook.
The Deerfield Township resident will perform songs he did on The Voice, "as well as other favorites," Showalter says. Williams made his TV debut March 8. He was coached by pop star Nick Jonas, who said Williams "has got the voice of an angel." Williams was the ninth person eliminated last season, on May 5, two weeks before the season finale.
"Come see the performer that Kelly Clarkson called a 'young Tom Cruise' with 'an incredible gift,' " Showalter said in a media release. Social distancing markers have been set up "so that the audience can be mindful of social distancing while viewing Michael's performance," Showalter says.
Williams told me on WVXU's Around Cincinnati in April that doing about 200 "Country Flashback" performances last year in the Festhaus was "a learning experience for sure."
"People were eating while they're watching. Some people would be very involved, and others would look up at you and then look back down and keep eating their food, so you didn't always get that energy from the crowd," he said.
Williams started taking singing lessons at age 6. Within two years, he was performing in Acting Up productions in Mason and other Cincinnati area community theater groups. He also appeared in Ursuline Academy's Les Miserables.
Williams could not be reached for comment about his decision to pursue a music career or a college degree this fall. On Around Cincinnati in April, when I asked him if his career goal was to be a touring pop star, Broadway musical star or a Nashville-based singer-songwriter, he said:
"I would say all of the above! I'd like to get… my music to as many as possible. And yes, I'd love to tour around the country or the world, and bring music to as many people possible. And I'd also like to see my music be successful on platforms like Billboard, and make the charts and stuff, because that's always an artist's dream. I'd love to tour, I'd love to release a few albums in the next five or 10 years, and I love writing music as well, so I'd like to do all of the above. And if those opportunities to do Broadway shows come along, I'd gladly take them.
"I never really thought that I'd be here right now," he said in April. "When I originally auditioned, I sent in a video audition and I just kind of said, 'Let's send it in and see what happens.' I don't know if I felt completely ready, and I went for it. I'm so glad it paid off. Each step of the way was definitely a confidence boost. I'm here for a reason. I can do this. It's been a wild time, and I'm happy that I get this opportunity, for sure."