The Power of Music to Affect Change – Discovering Cole Williams

Candid photo of New Orleans musician Cole Williams.

Image from Instagram

Music has the ability to move mountains – truly. It has the power to uplift moods and spark impromptu flash dances. It can bring you to tears with just one lyric or be a rallying cry – bringing whole communities together, united by a cause.  

Cole Williams' music does just that. A powerhouse vocalist and songwriter, lead singer of the The Cole Williams Band (CWB) and a community activist and organizer living in New Orleans, using her music to empower like-minded artists to be change agents and to share their talent in new ways to support the greater community – particularly those houseless and in need. 

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Cole recently to talk more about her musical stylings and inspiration, her latest projects - including a new album - and the work she has been doing - with and for - the New Orleans community alongside The Greater New Orleans Citizens Relief Team, including securing emergency houses in empty hotels for the houseless last summer.  

Described as having “the heart of Bob Marley, soul of Sam Cooke and grit of Etta James,” The Cole Williams Band (CWB) has rooted their sound in the tradition of Gil Scott-Heron, creating songs that reflect the everyday experiences and hopes of Black people all around the world. Their new album, “Give Power to the People'' is an anthem of the Movement for Black Lives and for people struggling to make sense out of this dangerous and hopeful moment. Over the course of her career, Cole has provided vocals and percussion for an array of artists like Joey Bada$$, Beats By The Pound and Aloe Blacc; performed live at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Joshua Tree Music Festival, French Quarter Festival and Blue Note NYC; and has opened for artists such as India Arie, Emily King, Ozomatli, The Wild Magnolias, Corey Henry and Treme Funktet, and Lauryn Hill.  

For your listening pleasure, below's a peek at a few of the band’s latest tracks - or grab the whole album for yourself. 

"Sign Of The Times featuring Corey Henry Of Treme Funktet"  

"Give Power To The People"