Milwaukee singer/songwriter Hayward Williams experienced perhaps the biggest turning point of his life in an airport returning home from an Australian tour. While navigating through the terminal, the Americana singer became unusually sick with panic. What happened that day at the airport changed the course of Williams’ career. Following his panic attack, Williams’ stage performance changed; he began playing at half-speed so as not to injure himself and avoid feeling nauseated mid-show. “If this is how I am now,” Williams said, “how can I continue to do my job, the only thing that I’m qualified to do?” It seemed the only solution was to seek help, so that’s what Williams had to.
Following medication and therapy, Williams’ artistic personality changed. The Reef is Williams’ first new album since that panic-stricken day at the airport. Having to slowly re-learn the process of writing music and playing shows once again, The Reef finds Williams exploring a new perspective and style. In fact, the album (available November 18) explores his long history with anxiety and fear, creating a relatable and soulful record.
“Helpless Hands (If I Go Under)” candidly examines Williams’ fear of bringing his lover down with him. An uninhibited confession and a resonating call to his wife, Williams asks, “If I go under, will you go under with me?” Listen to “Helpless Hands” below, exclusively through Elmore.
– Samantha M. Lopez