The Travis Williams Adventure
BY VAN-CITY JOKER
I first met Travis through Instagram as he knows a few people I know. He’s just a regular guy, like you and me, but it’s not about you and me. It’s about Travis. He grew up in a small town where mental health wasn’t something people believed in and was relatively dismissed. Growing up, Travis’ unresolved mental health issues had resulted in him being excluded from many things. As a youth with mental health issues, it’s only understandable that he felt helpless. “The only way I feel I was able to express myself, was through anger”, Travis recalls. Fast forwarding to Travis being 18 years old, finding himself in Saskatoon, Canada. He disclosed that this is a place he was starting to confront a multitude of past traumas. Eventually, he was dragged to a metal show. Immediately falling in love. The pure and raw emotion was, as he described, amazing. For the first time in his life, he finally felt power. Keeping up with attending, he became one of the many regulars. Finding a friend group, he also found an outlet in writing. He wasn’t a rapper or a singer. He was and is a poet. Soon enough, he’s introduced to the works of Henry Rollins to Shane Koyczan, at that point...It was on! From open mic sessions down to opening for his friends punk band to even collaborating with a blues band, he eventually found himself wanting to become more involved with the music scene. Feeling like poetry wasn’t what people wanted to hear, he picked up a bass guitar and started to learn. Finding himself involved with a few bands, Travis got his taste in touring and continued learning more about the music industry. A couple years pass and jumping from band to band here and there wasn’t cutting it. He returned to his poetic roots, starting up an exercise he calls “Peppermint Tea Time”. This consisted of writing, recording and uploading a new poem each week. He did this for up to 41 consecutive weeks. This lead Travis to partnering with some amazing musicians, creating instrumentals to which he would recite his poetry. “Eventually, my first release called ‘Too Soon’ which started as a poem I wrote for my brother just three days after he committed suicide. Three months later, I released the song version on all platforms”, Travis recalled.
I want to quickly just veer off track for a moment to offer my condolences to Travis and the family. May he rest in power.
Just a bit before the pandemic we all know now as COVID-19 had changed our world, Travis spent his time engaging with youth through writing based workshops. “We would talk about art as an outlet and doing some creating together, as well as touring.” He reveals. Travis goes on to tell me about how he had been focused on the front person aspect, using his mix of poetry alongside instrumentals as well as just straight poetry, has now shifted gears. “Right now, I'm focusing on growing as an artist. I have never considered myself a rapper, singer, bass player, poet, or anything else. I don't play just punk, hip hop, rock, indie, or any genre specifically. I don't put myself under any label. I write my words. That is my consistency! However I choose to say, yell, rap, or sing them; and whatever music, if any, I decide to pair with them is however I am feeling that day.” He concludes.
In our later discussions, he doesn’t see himself advocating for mental health, per se, much rather hoping that by telling his story it may give a voice along with the strength to others to make the steps in finding support. I really can’t think of any artist, musician, poet, or person in general like Travis Williams. He’s a very down to earth person who knows he’s got his own flaws. He embraces them with a level head and a rational mindset. Huge shoutout to him!
Catch his latest episodes of Peppermint Tea Time every Monday on his Instagram