Last week on my Nashville Access Facebook Live show, one of my guests was Tim Williams. Now, the name may not be familiar to you, but if you’ve seen the Trivago tv commercials anywhere in the United States and Canada over the past few years, you know who Tim is. He’s the Trivago guy.
The interview last week was our second meeting. Our first was a couple of weeks ago at the Country Music Association’s offices for a private album release party. Last week’s interview was an opportunity to do our “twin sons of different mothers” routine, talk about acting, and get a couple of performances from his new, country album called “Magnolia City.”
First of all, I had a blast with Tim, got great feedback from our interview, and I hope I get the chance to work with him again.
Secondly, it gave me an idea for this week’s blog. This week, I’m going to talk about crossing lines.
Most of the people I grew up and went to high school or college with have either stayed in one job most of their lives—or, at least, stayed doing the same thing most of their lives. They’ve saved well, had families, and, if not retired already, are planning for their retirement.
Some of the people I knew back then went on to by cops or firefighters. Those men and women, in a lot of cases, had side gigs—working security, building decks and fences…that sort of thing, to supplement their incomes.
I haven’t exactly fit into either category.
I tried university for a year, but it didn’t hold my interest—and I drank a lot. I did community college for two years (one year, year off, then final year), and graduated a Radio Broadcasting course on the Dean’s Honor Roll. After graduation I worked in the marketing department for a national pizza restaurant company, and worked part time at a radio station.
I left my marketing job when a full time job doing afternoon drive traffic reports opened up. After a couple of years of doing traffic and overnights on the weekends, the inevitable happened.
I was young. I was cocky. I was fired.
So I moved to a different market, to a different radio station and ended up being there for 11 years. That’s the longest I’ve worked in any one place.
In England, I was an advertising copywriter, brand strategist, and Creative Director. I love doing that sort of thing. It kept me on my toes, kept me sharp. I worked in Maidstone, Kent; Nottingham; Mildenhall, Suffolk; Peterborough Cambridgeshire (where I had the most fun and did my most creative work with a great team of people); and London. I enjoyed working in London, but hated the commute.
Here I am in Nashville. I’m no longer doing just one thing. And, for the most part, neither are the vast majority of people I come into contact with.
I’m a co-host of the syndicated radio show, Nashville Access. I’m a co-host of the Nashville Access Podcast. I host the Nashville Access Facebook Live shows. I’m a blogger/writer. Every once in a while, I pick up an advertising copywriting gig. I’m an actor. I’m a model. And I’m always looking for other side gigs.
Most singers and songwriters here in Nashville do several things: tribute bands, studio session work, church musical directors, teaching guitar/piano/vocals/etc, cover bands, their own bands… it’s how Nashville works.
But it’s not just Nashville. I think most people who work in the “creative industry” are pretty much the same. Everyone is hustling to find that side gig that allows them to spread their creative wings, help fund their main gig, or to show themselves as multitalented.
It’s not easy. Sometimes…it’s not fun.
People who have never experienced the way we live, crossing lines, don’t get it.
But we do. With many of us, it’s not a choice. We’d love the steady income and security.
It’s just not what we are made of.
Which brings me back to Tim Williams. As an actor, Tim has done Broadway and American network tv…not to mention the Trivago commercials that made him famous. In Germany (where he lives), Tim has played on a German soap opera and done other projects…but he’s also had other side gigs, like being road manager for a band.
But his latest side gig is music. Tim is a talented singer and songwriter who has just released an album called “Magnolia City,” a sort of tribute to his hometown of Houston, Texas.
Actor, singer, songwriter. Like all of us, Tim is just crossing lines.