BATAVIA — As a singer, songwriter, actor, mentor and friend a Western New Yorker has paved the way for his dream in reaching as many souls as he can.
Asheesh “Ash” Williams, 34, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the heart of Batavia. Williams had to learn to overcome his personal demons in the form of drugs and alcohol.
Williams talked with Genesee Country Express about his spiritual journey from the dark streets of Batavia to finding the light in Salinas, California.
It all started when Williams was 19 years old, and found a safe harbor in Jesus Christ. It was from that unconditional love that he saw hope in his future. Again, when he got his GED in Rosalie Kisiel’s class it was his second chance.
“I have failed many times,” he said. “To have someone (Rosalie) see what you can be when you don’t think you can be anything is powerful. She saw the potential in me. When I chose to walk with the Lord I saw what I could be.”
From there Williams went on to major in Criminal Justice at Genesee Community College in Batavia. Williams married Jazmin Williams, and moved to California to be with her family.
As Williams faith grew stronger so did his message he left on all who came in contact with him.
“This has been a mind blowing journey. Don’t despise humble beginnings. Don’t think anything is handed to you. You need to take the necessary steps in following your dream,” he said. “You can achieve anything by going for it. You need to have that drive to do something. I just Thank God, and not let all of this go to my head.”
“Immortal” by Asheesh features seven songs that get into the deep rooted honesty of failures, hope, love, pain, and above all faith.
Williams worked on the album for about two years and just released it a few months ago. He has already gotten positive feedback at his album signings. There have been many people telling him how much his music has touched their hearts.
“I worked on all of the songs myself getting them written and recorded,” he said. “I am in the works for doing more music videos. My good friend Bianca Sings worked on the ‘Jesus’ track with me. My music is very vulnerable and honest. People who listen to my music come for that honesty and raw emotion. I might not make you dance, but I can make you feel something.”
Williams is already thinking about his next album, and he keeps ideas and rhythms in his notes day to day. Williams’ sound is classified as rap and hip hop.
“Immortal was always in my mind as the title for my first album. I have that tattoo with the T as a cross. In Christ I am Immortal,” he said. “My pastor is glad that my songs are not all feel good. He listened to them, and said they are like the Songs of David set in urban context.”
Williams’ strong love for acting was rejuvenated when he was picked out of a crowd in Warner Brothers Studio to play a remake scene of “Friends.” From there his wife, Jazmin, has been his agent and manager getting him in the door of Hollywood’s future stars. Williams began taking an acting class to get his head around the process of it.
Williams just wrapped up a story acted out with a friend of his involving a husband and wife with marriage problems. He had 53 lines to memorize in a month.
“You do connect with them (castmates) on a deep level, because of how much time you spend rehearsing those scenes over and over again,” he said. “We will be friends for the rest of our lives. You build a special bond with them.”
Some of the influences in Williams' life include Eminem, Demi Lovato, and Erick Enon Catalano music producer of Truth Music Studio in New York City.
“Immortal” by Asheesh can be found at Google Play, Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify.
“God watched over me my entire life. There is a lot of complications that come along in acting. You deal with a lot of anxiety and depression,” Williams said.”You start to second guess yourself.”
Other things that drive Williams is his passion for fitness, mentorship, and humanity. Over the years Williams has helped troubled youth with Boys and Girls Clubs and Young Life Ministry. Salinas is an urban part of California that is filled with drugs, violence, gang wars, and a high homicide rate.
“I don’t think Christians should be afraid to hangout with different people. You hangout with non-believers to be a light for them,” Williams said. “You need to go out and be a light to the needy. We need to be the arms that welcome them in, and say there is hope.”
Williams showers everyone he sees with the love of God, and the knowledge that they are not alone in this world.
“I miss my family a lot. I only see them once a year or so. It is hard to believe I am from Batavia when I wake up and look out at the Palm Trees,” he said. “I am not going back to live in Batavia. I do like to go back to visit family and friends.”
As of now Williams is hoping to continue on the popular series he is working on, which he is under a strict contract not to talk about. Williams wants to break out and do other roles in the future. He would like to work with Ron Howard and do some Christian films like “Paul, Apostle of Christ” that just came out.
Asheesh Williams can be found on Instagram @AsheeshGodsMC or Facebook Asheesh GodsMC.