James Kimo Williams

Born January 8, 1950

Born in United States

As a child, when Kimo Williams wasn’t helping his grandparents on their tobacco farm in North Carolina, he was moving from military base to military base with his Air Force Sergeant father. In 1969, he embarked on the military path and enlisted in the US Army during the height of the Vietnam war. Amid the hardships of war, Kimo Williams traveled from zone to zone, playing music for his fellow troops with his ensemble called “The Soul Coordinators.” After returning home, he used his GI benefits to attend the Berkele college of music where he received a BA in composition (and where he also met his wife and musical collaborator, Carol Williams.)

Due to the stigma against Vietnam Veterans (a result of American Citizen’s disapproval of US involvement in Vietnam,) he felt unable to talk about nor process the traumatic and life-altering events of the Vietnam War. But, after learning about the art of composition, Kimo Willias found that he could express himself through his music instead! By mixing the influences of Jazz, Rock, and Classical, many of Kimo William’s works are autobiographical, sharing his feelings and experiences as a Black American Veteran with his listeners.

Beyond his own life experiences, Kimo William’s music also advocates for the recognition of US veteran experiences throughout history including veterans in WWI, Iraq, and Afghanistan. With his partner Carol Williams, he continues to run a music management and publishing company as well as a photography studio in Virginia.