An exclusive interview with multi-talented Al-Tee Williams
Alfred “Al-Tee” Williams started mixing and producing music as well as videos as a teenager in his friend’s basement. He has since become one of the worlds’ sought after engineers. Williams has three decades of experience and massive knowledge in the realm of production and has worked on television shows such as, Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres and has toured with groups such as, Kool and the Gang, Ludacris, Kelly Rowland, Teddy Riley, Blackstreet, and GUY just to name a few. His company “The OPP Group, Inc”, an Audio Video Systems Integration provider, is the first minority company to obtain BOSE Professional distribution deal.
Twist Online : First of all tell us about the start of your professional career?
Al-Tee Williams : The start of my professional career was in 1984. I was in a Gospel group called The Word. We toured and recorded around the country.
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to get into music industry?
Al-Tee Williams : When I was young, there were many musical influences around me. However, the artist that inspired me the most is James Brown.
Twist Online: What stimulates you more, engineering live performances or working in studios? and Why?
Al-Tee Williams: Engineering live performance
When you are engineering live performances, it challenges you. It not only requires you to use your skill set and knowledge to creative the best sound but you have to tailor that sound to fit the environment such as areas, theater, arena, clubs or outdoor venues.
Twist Online : You have toured with a number of artists, what kind of experience it had been?
Al-Tee Williams: Each artist and tour creates a different experience. Artist has different personalities so it is important to maintain a positive attitude and create a great rapport.
Twist Online: What advice would you give to audio/sound engineers trying to be successful in this business?
Al-Tee Williams: Artist can be very temperamental so it imperative to learn your artist personality so can develop a good working relationship.
Twist Online : Do you have any plans on expanding into other areas in the music industry?
Al-Tee Williams : Absolutely, for more than 30 years I’ve been able to thrive in the music industry. I have had a few happenstances but I was able to overcome them and learn from it. One thing I would like to do is educate younger engineers on is being financially stable and gainfully employed in the entertainment industry. You have to financially prepare in this field like any other occupation. You need to pay taxes, contribute to social security and unemployment inurance, and even invest in a retirement plan.
Twist Online: What are some mistakes that you have made that encouraged you to better your craft?
Al-Tee Williams: As in any career, you learn as you go but not knowing the artist and not stabilizing my finances was some painful mistakes I made in my career.
Twist Online: If you were asked who is the real artist the sound engineer or the artist what would your response be?
Al-Tee Williams: This is a good Twist Online; I would say Both but definitely both one cannot do it without the other.