Joy Williams is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who was one-half of country-folk duo The Civil Wars from 2009 to 2014. Williams was born in West Branch, Michigan, and raised in a Christian home in Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz County, California, where her parents worked in ministry.
She attended Valley Christian High School in San Jose and graduated as the class valedictorian in 2001. In addition to singing in church, Williams began writing faith-based pop songs while living in Santa Cruz.
At 17, she was signed by Reunion Records, a subsidiary of Sony/BMG based in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2008, Williams attended a writing camp in Nashville, where she met John Paul White. They formed the folk-rock duo The Civil Wars in 2009 and released their breakthrough album, Barton Hollow in 2011.
The album was widely praised by critics and went on to sell more than 650,000 copies in the U.S. White and Williams won four Grammy Awards as The Civil Wars. The duo announced an indefinite hiatus in November 2012, prior to the release of their 2013 self-titled album.
The duo was officially dissolved in August 2014 and in March 2015, Williams said her last conversation with White was after their Roundhouse show in London in November 2012. Williams began working on a solo album, Venus, in 2014, ultimately releasing the record the following year.
In 2018, while pregnant with her second child, Williams recorded fifteen songs in a five-day period; of those fifteen songs, twelve were included on her 2019 album, Front Porch. Front Porch was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards.
Williams cites Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, and Portishead as being her influences.
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