His Story: Bill Price

Can you take us back to the beginning? What are your earliest memories, and how do you think they’ve shaped who you are today?

I have a couple of memories from the house my family lived in until I was four. Those are just simple images of some rooms in the house, so I don’t think they mean anything profound. But the earliest memory I have of a song is one that I remember my grandmother saying to my sister and me as a prayer. It’s an old African American spiritual called “All Night, All Day.” I don’t remember where I heard the music/melody version first, but it probably came from her. I also remember a couple of songs from Sunday school that I learned at a young age. I still think they are beautiful. One is “This is My Father’s World.” The other is “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Both have themes that to this day, are important to me: the environment and peace.

I’m not sure how those early memories shaped who I am now. That’s such a broad topic. Understanding what events cause each of us to become who we are can be really complex. Isn’t this what psychoanalysis is all about? I do know that having a very stable family, home and upbringing has grounded me in a way that has been very valuable. I’ve been so fortunate to not have to deal with the unbelievably difficult conflicts and tragedies that many people have had to suffer through.

As you reflect on your life, are there any key moments or turning points that stand out to you? What made them significant?

I don’t know that there are exact turning points as much as an accumulation of events. I do know that the vacations to the American West that my family took when I was a child revealed to me places that I never forgot. Places that I’ve returned to again and again. Places where I feel very much at home.

In terms of music, one example would be hearing Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” for the first time. That was eye-opening. I’d certainly heard pop music and liked different songs I was hearing on the radio, but hearing that song drew me in, in a way that no other song had up to that point. I thought, what is going on here? It was so mysterious. The song and story seemed so unfamiliar but at the same time, I also felt like I could connect with it in some personal way. Hearing that song seemed to open up a world to me that I didn’t even know existed. A world in which a story could be expressed through a song that could be as powerful or more powerful than just written stories in books.

Who were the most influential people in your life, and how have they impacted your journey and development?

Again, what a broad question! My father was undoubtedly a big influence on me growing up. Not so much in a creative way, but in terms of independence. He was a very conservative person in most aspects of his life, but he was also a pretty independent person with a great sense of humor. As a kid, I think all my cousins had some influence on me. On my father’s side, I have three male cousins who were kind of like the brothers I never had. They are all older and I looked up to them a lot. They were full of sarcasm, wit, and humor. I ended up playing in my first band with one of them. He was a huge Beatles fan and was the first person I knew that actually wrote his own songs.

In terms of songwriting, I have many influences, as most of us do. The two most important are Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. They are not unique or obscure influences. In fact, it’s easy to take them both for granted because they are so well known, but I could not overstate my admiration for them. They continue to inspire me to this day.

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Being a creative artist of any kind is a challenge. I’m not talking about someone who is a good technician and can paint realistic landscapes or master complicated pieces on their instrument. Those are not easy professions either, but they are more acceptable in mainstream society than someone who is trying to create new art or music that people haven’t heard before.

I think it’s helpful to surround yourself with like-minded creative people so that you don’t feel too isolated. But in the end, I really think you just have to have thick skin, believe in what you’re doing and stay true to yourself.

If you were to pick a theme or a lesson that runs through your life story, what would it be?

Independence.

Are there specific accomplishments or milestones that you’re particularly proud of, and why do they hold such significance for you?

I must say, I’m at least modestly proud of all the recordings I’ve done. I feel like the time and effort that myself and all those involved put into those projects resulted in pretty decent quality records. Each time I release a record, I have some degree of pride in that. There’s a tremendous amount of effort in them and to complete them the way I envision, most of the time, takes a lot of persistence. So those are important milestones to me, each in their own way.

Part of why they are significant, is because the songs come from nothing. Nothing exists and then through a somewhat mystical and fascinating process, a song is written, arranged, and recorded. And just like that, you have something totally new. So, from my experience, that whole process tends to be a very rewarding one.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes and aspirations for the next chapter of your life story? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

My goal is pretty simple at this point, and that is to continue to create what it is that I’m inspired to create in a way that is true to the spirit of the inspiration. Hopefully, I can continue to expand my audience and expose more people to my work while doing that.

I don’t think I will leave any legacy, but that doesn’t mean that some act of kindness that I may do can’t be something that someone remembers for at least a portion of their life. So, I think for most of us, simply doing nice things for people is more important than try to establish a legacy.

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