Interview with Wendy Williams from the group Taylor Made
©2011 By Bronson Herrmuth
You can listen to this entire 25 minute interview: Part 1 of 3 (3.5 MB) mp3 Part 2 of 3 (2.9 MB) mp3 Part 3 of 3 (3.8 MB) mp3
Bronson: So you're a mother of three?
Wendy: I am.
Bronson: Tell me about your children.
Wendy: Well I won't tell you their ages because then that gives up my age (laughing). But I have 3 beautiful little girls and they're absolutely my world. They are the reason I get up and go to work everyday and they are the reason I come to Nashville and chase this dream that I have.
Bronson: What are their names?
Wendy: The oldest is Mykayla, and Megan, and Bailey. (also 2 stepchildren, Scarlett and Ricky)
Bronson: Where are they right now?
Wendy: They are back home in West Virginia, hopefully with my husband Scott, cleaning house or something (laughing) 'cause school hasn't started yet.
Bronson: They're on summer vacation.
Bronson: So they're just hanging out.
Wendy: Oh yeah, I'm sure.
Bronson: You also have a job. Explain what your job is.
Wendy: Well it's a little difficult. It's funny because I got this job about 3 years ago. I went to work for a company called Spikes Chimney Sweep. Now the title of that is pretty self explanatory you would think right? However not the case. This company, for about the first year I was there we did do the basic heating, cooling needs, you know, Spike's Chimney Sweep. Of course that company expanded and we do everything from the chimney sweep to, we do grass mowing, snow removal, duct cleans, pool installations, hot tubs, chemicals. You know how people call and say, "'My cat's stuck on my roof or in a tree." You could call Spikes Chimney Sweep and they'd remove it for you (laughing) for the right price. The point is we expanded so much so I got a promotion as to kinda be the manger of some of those certain departments within that company. I work 40 plus, plus, hours a week and I am definitely a full time employee. Luckily my boss, he knows about the music and I was in a band when I got the job. If it wasn't for him letting me have the time off when I need it, I don't know what I'd do. I'd probably just be working some kind of minimum wage part time job somewhere. I'm very fortunate to work as hard as I do but to have a boss that works with me.
Bronson: So you go to work in the morning and come home and you spend time with your kids at night?
Wendy: Yeah, when I can. It's the typical, every parent of a teenager knows exactly what I'm talking about. You come home from work - if it's during the summer and they're on vacation - well one of them is over at the neighbors house, and the other one's in the pool, one's on the computer. You just try to tug at them and beg them for the attention, it just flip flops. The parent goes full circle in begging the child for the attention when it comes to a certain point where they get to a certain age. I long for them just to sit down and talk to me. Tell me about your day kind of thing, but I will say my absolutely favorite thing with my girls is all 3 of my girls are very talented in the fact that they can sing including harmony, and I guess that probably to a point, is some of an inherited thing. It's family, you know? To hear the 3 of them sing together - even on the computer when they don't know I'm around - I'm not even talking about sitting with me and a guitar. When they're in the other room and they're singing along with youtube or something, it just brings tears to my eyes. It really does and it must sound corny, but they blend and they just sound so pretty together and even if it's not my style music I think it gives them a taste of what I'm doing.
Bronson: What do they think about your singing and entertaining?
Wendy: I think they are proud of me, at least they say they are. I think that they almost don't see the big picture, so to speak, not that they even want to. I'm mom to them and it's uncle Greg and uncle Brian and that's all we are. That's in a band called Taylor Made that they get to go see sometimes.
Bronson: They do get to come out to shows?
Wendy: Every once in a while, yes. To them we're not these artists or these famous people, or "stars". It's just their mom and their uncles and they love the guys in the band. "Hey Tom, hey Dan, good to see you" and that's it. That's how I want them to always be. I want them to know why I do this because it sometimes can be very hard work and my whole reason for it is for them, but, I don't want them to ever get above their bringin's because I will never get there. If I ever headed that way I think my brothers would slap me back down ...
Bronson: I know they would (laughing).
Wendy: ... and I would do the same to them. We believe and stick with our roots.
Bronson: Have you gotten them on stage with you yet?
Wendy: I have. It's been awhile but yeah, they've been on stage, just sang along with us, which is another great thing. When they hear a song and they start singing the words and it's one of our original songs. That's a good thing you know, that they liked it enough, because in this day and age they don't like country music. You know, they're listening to the hip hop or something that I've never even heard of. I don't even know what you call it (laughing) what genre of music it would be, but for them to like our stuff is very encouraging to us.
Bronson: So when you go on the road, is that the hardest part? Not being with them?
Wendy: I'll also tell you this because I have traveled a lot and I know it's only going to get worse from here. Before my husband - you know we talked about me being a single mom before - the girls were really little and it didn't matter. I wasn't as far into this career as I am now. Back then it was just me playing in a local bar band and that kind of thing. Most everyone around me except my family was, "Well you're chasing a pipe dream.That dream is out of your reach." Well every year that dream gets closer within my reach of something that I never thought I could have and here I am about to release a new single and the last single was on Music Row and Billboard. This one could be the one, it could not, but the point is it's not a unreachable dream. Not at all. It takes a lot of hard work, I'm not going to lie about that, but it is reachable and if it wasn't for my husband staying at home with those girls when the boss lets me come here, and making sure they make it to school or to doctors appointments or whatever, I couldn't do it. It really boils down to being the support that I have from him is what gets me here and to be able to obtain a dream that some people think is unattainable.
Bronson: If you had achieved your goals and you were touring, and you had the bus and the planes and the where with all, would you take the girls with you?
Wendy: I would love to.
Bronson: Would you pull them out of school and home school them kind of thing?
Wendy: I don't know that I would do that, and going back I don't think I really answered your question. Yes, when I am on the road right now, that's the one thing I miss is my kids and my husband. I mean I really do genuinely miss them. Especially at night and early in the mornings. When I've got nothing to do or when I'm getting ready for bed or getting ready for a show, that quiet time just by myself, that's when I miss them the most. Now, in answer to that question, as far as pulling them out of school, I don't know that I would. They don't have lots and lots and lots of years left in school, at least not my oldest one especially, but the community I live in is not a big bustling community anyway and all the people around us there know what I do for a living so it's not like if I do make it - so to speak - that it's going to be a big shock to the people around us and the peers that my girls go to school with that they would be like "Woah!" and then it would become a problem for my daughters. I don't think, if it did of course I would bring them out but I would think for right now they would want to stay in school where they are and I want to make that possible for them if that's what they want. In the summers, the vacations come on along. Then I'll take them as much as they would like to go.
Bronson: Do you think they're going to pursue music?
Wendy: Well my oldest one tells me that she's interested in two things in going to college. One, she wants to be a lawyer and two, she wants to study music. Now I don't know how she will manage to get the two of those things together, but if anyone could do it my oldest daughter will figure a way (laughing). A singing attorney or something (laughing).
Bronson: How do you feel as a mom that your oldest daughter has any thoughts about doing what you've done?
Wendy: One of the things that my mom never had. She never had anyone when she was a single mom. I don't think she had that support system. Someone that said, "You can do this." Or taught her how to obtain a goal, or go to school or whatever it was she wanted to pursue, a dream. I don't think she had the support system or the knowledge from other people to help her get there. What's funny is with me, when I was growing up - and I know it's the same for all my siblings - one thing our mother taught us was independence, I guess because she had to be so independent. It was one of those things. You don't foolishly spend money and you love those around you and you keep your family close, and kind of thing that we all know and that just spills out of me to teach my children but on top of that, I also teach my girls independence. I want you to have a career in something that, for example, a lawyer. Pursue that dream, make that happen, so that you've got that there. I know it sounds crazy because here I am pursuing this dream, but I want them to be independent and firm and steady in a good career, but I want them to have the same love and desire of music that I have. How can you give them both (laughing)?
Bronson: Would you be okay if she said I'm just going to be a singer and there's not going to be any lawyer?
Wendy: I would be but I just want them to go about it the right way. I don't know how to teach them that but I don't want them to just for example, pack up, and go, and leave and just say, "I've had no training in this, I don't know where I'm going to start, I don't know what I'm going to do, I don't have a job, I don't have any money, here I go". I don't want that, but if they're going about it the right way of course, 100%, I'll support them and help them anyway I can and it would make me very proud.
Bronson: Is that your goal? That this would be full time? All you would do is the music?
Wendy: Yes, even the boss knows that and he even told me one time that he absolutely wishes me the best and that he hopes that I can reach an opportunity that so many people never had, so I have that support from him and between our mom, my husband, and the boss that lets me off work when I need too, I absolutely have the support I need to be happy in where I am. Of course I want it to go all the way but even if it doesn't, as far as I am is a lot further then most people will ever get and that's good enough for me. Like I said before I don't want to get out of my roots, past my upbringing.
Bronson: So are you writing about this? All these emotions, all these things that all mothers go through?
Wendy: Some yes I do. There are some things that (laughing) if it makes any sense, I have passing thoughts that I want no documentation of, whether it be on paper or on a computer (laughing).
Bronson: That's natural.
Wendy: An emotion that I feel over something that happened. It may be toward my brother, it may be toward you, I'm just saying, I'll think about that and then I'm like, what was that? No I wouldn't write that down but there are things that happen and experiences that I have that I do keep a little journal of at home or with me on most given days. Yeah I write them down. It could be a book some day (laughing).
Bronson: For other single mothers that are dealing with the same thing. Thoughts and things that helped you, that helped your mom get through it, things you did.
Wendy: Well that was one of things when I sing that song, when I perform that song. That's my opener. My introduction for that song is to tell people how that song came about. Why we love it, why it meant so much to us.
Bronson: Name the title.
Wendy: It's called, "Quiet Kind Of Crazy" and it's about a single mom. That was our last single and I would tell people. This next song is called "Quiet Kind Of Crazy" and this song really hit home for me, Greg and Brian, because we're siblings that grew up, 3 of 7 children that were raised by a single mom and at one point, I was a single mom for a period of time in my life. If you've been a single mom, you absolutely know that there are times during any given day that you don't know how you are going to even find the strength to draw your next breath. You feel like you are facing the world all alone and what do I do, what do I do, there's no one for me. That thought is constantly on your mind, it's just me and my kid, but there is. Like for me, I had my two brothers who would have done anything for me at any time. But ultimately it was my mom who looked at me, I'll never forget. I was sitting in her living room and I had been put on bed rest because I was pregnant with my second child and my oldest one was like 3 years old. Sitting in the living room and I was really second guessing myself for being single, so to speak. I really was like -What should I do? - kinda in the back of my mind, privately taking to my mother kind of thing - Should I go back to him? Did I make the right decision? Can I do this? - kinda thing. My mom looked at me and she's like, "Wendy. All the strength you need you already have." It kinda took me a second. Bam, It was like that light on smack in the back of your head, you know what I'm talking about. It was like wow. Here's my kids, they're the reason I do everything. All the strength I'm drawing from them. That's all I need, I don't need him, I don't need you. I need me and them and I realized then that thats what she had done through her separation from our dad, what she had done with us. All the strength she needed, she had, and she drew it from us and I was like, "Wow, she did it with 7 of us." I'm enough of her I can do this and that means you can do it. When you're at that moment, how am I gonna do this, where am I going to get the strength, you already have it. You just need to pull it in the right direction, to guide you in the right direction, that's all it is. It's so huge it's tiny. It's simple and so that's how that song came about. I never want that for my own children.
Bronson: Some people working at record labels think you have to be 18, it's all about young kids and if you're a certain age you can't do it. What are your thoughts on that?
Wendy: Well I don't want this to sound like I'm insulting the 18 to 20 or whatever, the younger generation because believe me there is so much talent bottled up in a lot of them that I could only wish for that, but what I will say to those that think it's only that age. The thing about Taylor Made is we are not young teenagers out there singing about things we know nothing about or talking about places we've never been. Every song that we choose, whether we write it or you write it and allow us to sing it, we choose it for a reason because it hit's home for us. Just like "Quiet Kind Of Crazy" was about a single mom. That meant something to us. We are real people singing real songs about real life experiences. That's the best way I can put it. We're not going to sing about something we know nothing about. How can you put the true emotion that a song deserves into a song if you've never even done it or have no idea what I'm talking about and you surely couldn't write that song. That's the only thing I have to say about that you have to be so young to be out there because they are most of the time singing songs that people like you and me wrote or performed before (laughing) because we've been there, done that.
Bronson: What's the most exciting thing you have coming up?
Wendy: We're here recording a 6 pack that's gonna come out in the next couple of weeks. The single called, "Good Love" is done and it's in the final stages to be released to nationwide radio, so to get this album done, this 6 pack done and get it all out into the distribution process and let America hear this song is the most exciting thing I can think of because this is the first time we're really getting out there. I mean, "Quiet Kind Of Crazy" did well but it didn't go as far as what we're hoping this is gonna go and what the plans are for this song to go.
Bronson: When do you think it will be out?
Wendy: I'd say in the next couple of weeks. I don't think I'm stretching the truth too far there. That's what I understand, the next couple weeks it'll be out.
Bronson: Have you taken your daughters into the recording studio yet? Have you put any of it on tape?
Wendy: I will say, I let Dan hear my three daughters sing together and he did say, wow, he thought that was recordable. I'll just leave it that away. Our lead player, Dan Bailey, has a recording studio in his basement and I have taken them in there to let them see the kind of process that it is and they love it. The oldest one is the only one that has ever actually had the head set on and sang into a microphone. I don't know we'll have to see how that goes. They act like they want to do it, but we'll see.
Bronson: Thank you for doing this Wendy.
Wendy: Oh, my pleasure.
Bronson: It's always good to see you and your new record sounds great.
Wendy: Thank you.
Bronson: I love it.
Wendy: Just tell the people to call their local radio station and request "Good Love" by Taylor Made (laughing).
Bronson: We'll do the best we can to get that out there.
Wendy: Thank you dear.
(Authors Note) Here's the story I wrote about Wendy Williams after we did this interview.
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