Nicholas Williams was raised in the midwestern town of Worthington, OH where his days were filled with big dreams, music and skateboards. This relatively small northern suburb of Columbus was a bit sleepy, but that was perfect for fueling a youngster’s imagination. Equipped with an internal drive and a wholehearted commitment to self expression, he discovered lacrosse and his life was thrust into a new and exciting direction. “Lacrosse was my first love”, Williams said in a recent chat we had. Lacrosse certainly seems to have a quality that sucks people in like the world’s strongest vacuum.
Williams committed to lacrosse and opened eyes on the scene by becoming an All-State player at Thomas Worthington High School and receiving All-Midwest accolades. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2002 when he really hit it. As the star player for Team Ohio, Williams dominated the lacrosse world for a weekend amidst the monster Rocky Mountains. Over the course of three days he showed the lacrosse world that he was real. He walked away from one of the greatest lacrosse tournaments in the world, the Vail Shootout, with MVP honors.
Over the course of the next three years his college career as a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes lacrosse team would be one plagued with painful set backs and excruciating injuries. Not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions he tore his ACL and it ultimately left him unable to play lacrosse. In the highly competitive world of college lacrosse where teams see an influx of top tier recruits enter the picture every year, a season ending injury like a torn ACL could prevent you from ever seeing the Division I field in real gameplay.
The psychological aspect of physical injuries is an interesting topic. When you have practiced your whole life to be great at something and an injury prevents you from doing it great — your mind could go crazy. You can either sink into a self-pitying depression or you can persevere and overcome. After his third ACL tear, Williams was sitting at this crossroad and he knew he had to make a choice, get over it and adapt to the hand he had been dealt. Luckily, and may this be a lesson to all young people, Williams had other interests, hobbies and skills he had been developing alongside his lacrosse training. “I’m lucky that I had developed a way out from all the downtime that happens between surgeries and recovery periods. Without music, I’m not sure what kind of person I would be today and how I would’ve overcome those very dark periods in my life. I was given a gift during that time. And I worked just as hard to cultivate that gift as I did with lacrosse back in 8th grade.”
And just like that a new path in his life was being blazed. He went on an absolute creative tear using songwriting as a way to emotionally vent and turned music from a hobby to a career dream. With silky smooth melodies, soulful songwriting and a distinctive voice Nicholas Williams thrust himself onto the music scene. This was the birth of his stage name WHETHERMAN.
His music would be described by industry people as Americana/Folk/Singer-Songwriter. When I first met Whetherman in Jax Beach (where he currently resides) many moons ago we pulled out some guitars and played songs together for a night. It was clear even after only a few strums that he was different. I obviously get those genre pigeon holes that people like to put musicians in, but Whetherman is best in my opinion left undefined. He’s a very unique spirit that amazingly seems to match his music perfectly. If you listen to his sound, his lyrics and his albums you can be confident that you are meeting the real Nicholas Williams.
I think that’s why I admire him so much as a musician, he’s transparent, cool, and authentic. You can hear Worthington, OH in Whetherman’s music. You can hear the beachy surf towns of the east coast in his melodies. His music is all purpose. A perfect compliment to a morning with coffee in a hammock, surfing a swell or weaving through the mountains on a long distance road trip.
“Whetherman is the moniker of independent artist Nicholas Williams, who has released six full-length albums since 2007, with his first live album Whetherman Live at Blue Jay Listening Room releasing in June of 2016. Touring and being on the road for the better part of the last 5 years, Williams hasn’t just been performing the music he’s created, he’s been living it. So when you hear his colorful melodic range, over effervescent guitar and soulful harmonica laying beautifully on a bed of poetic prose, it feels familiar. Williams is making waves with raw talent as well as an exceptional work ethic. Sonicbids, the world’s largest DIY platform for independent musicians, featured Williams for their article “How to Make It as a DIY One-Man Band: Advice from Whetherman” as he’s been touring 150 shows a year in over 40 states across the US since 2012, as well as performing throughout the UK and Western Europe.”
The lacrosse world continues to amaze me. What a cool and special community we have! Our game is jam filled with positive people that are passionate about living out their dreams. Whetherman is just another example of how lacrosse can impact your life and inspire action. May you all, no mater what your age or circumstance ever stop chasing your dreams.
“The amount of lessons I learned through the game that reflected in the real world are abundant, and are still showing to this day. The obvious things, such as working together as a team for a common goal, unselfishness, and having a sense of pride and culture are of course there. But on top of that are things like learning to face adversity as an individual, self-commitment and dedication, reacting to pain, digging deep through the dips in life and never giving up… those qualities have stuck with me more than anything else.”
We were lucky enough to use a few tracks off of my favorite Whetherman album to date, “Streams and Pastures”, when editing our first videos for Powell. We figured it was such a natural connection and an authentic way to connect lacrosse and art. We wish you the very best of luck in all of your future travels and endeavors Nick. We are all super proud to say that you are a member of the lacrosse community. All of us in the Powell family are rooting for you brother. Golden fields ahead.