Zach Williams’ life could have taken an entirely different path, and almost did, if not for a pivotal moment while he was on the road. Speaking on recent episode of Apple Music Country’s Country Faith Radio with Chrissy Metz, Zach recalled to the actress how his life and career completely changed, thanks to one surprising occurrence.
“I was on a tour in Europe in 2012, and we were driving across Spain,” Zach recounted. “I was just in a really dark place and really pretty reckless. I remember kind of having this prayer that I shot up to God. I was like, ‘Hey I know you’re real. You need to prove it to me.’ All these stories, everything I’ve heard. I knew it all in my head, [but] I had never had an encounter or experience.
“We’re driving across Spain, and a guy driving one of our buses, I hear ‘Redeemed’ by Big Daddy Weave come across a radio station,” he continued. “This guy is scanning stations and it just hit me. I was like ‘Wow, what is this?’ And I knew it was a Christian song because my dad owned a construction company and he listened to Christian radio on his job site all the time.”
It was in that instant that Zach realized he needed to leave his partying lifestyle, including drugs and alcohol, and return to his faith.
“I was getting that dose of music whenever I was working for him and then I was going and living this other life every night,” Zach said. “I just remember hearing this song and I called my wife and I said, ‘I’ve been listening to this song in my hotel room tonight.’ I said, ‘I’m done. I’m coming home.’
“I canceled my shows, quit my band,” he added. “We started going to church and that was it. I never looked back. It was one of those things … all the things I had wanted, all the dreams I had had to do this for a living, it was like God gave them to me the second I chose to follow him. So, it was really cool.”
Being a musician wasn’t even part of Zach’s original plan for his life. Instead, he planned on being a basketball player, receiving a scholarship from a college, before an injury derailed those plans. To comfort himself, and occupy his time, Zach focused on music instead.
“I think had none of that happened, I wouldn’t be playing music,” Zach admitted. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I continued playing basketball. I would have probably been a coach. I’m glad I’m a musician. I didn’t realize it was in me until I picked up a guitar when I was 19 years old. I moved off to college to play basketball. I tore my ankle up and I couldn’t play my freshman year and so my roommate had this old guitar, and it was sitting in the corner of our apartment. They were traveling, and I was sitting at home, and I started teaching myself how to play his guitar. I remember coming home one weekend and I told my dad, ‘Hey I’m going to take your old Gibson back to school and teach myself how to play.’ He kind of laughed a little bit and I sat on the edge of my bed for a year with a chord chart and I taught myself how to play.
“I took a poetry, creative writing class in my next year in college and started writing these poems,” he added. ‘I was like, ‘Yeah, I can write a song,’ and so through the next really ten years of my life, I just really worked on writing and playing and my voice. It was almost ten years before I really played in front of somebody. I remember playing an acoustic set at a bar. Some guys heard me, and shortly after that we formed a band and I was in a southern rock band for about seven years.”
Zach just earned five Dove Awards nominations, including for Song of the Year, for “Rescue Story.” His “There Was Jesus” collaboration with Dolly Parton became a No. 1 hit. Download or stream all of his music by visiting ZachWilliamsMusic.com.