Darryl Jovan Williams is a native of Ridgeland, SC and an alumnus of Brevard College, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Greensboro College. He began his career as a singer and pianist in the local churches of Jasper County at the age of 9.
At the age of 11, Darryl joined the prestigious Rev. James Cleveland Workshop in Savannah, GA, which earned him the opportunity to sing background for gospel artists Shirley Caesar, Dorinda Clark Cole and Dorothy Norwood. Williams' talent for choir directing earned him much regional notoriety and he was requested to lead several church choirs in Jasper County.
At the turn of the 21st Century, drug abuse and a struggling education system became looming issues for Jasper County and its economy. Firmly believing in the power of the arts to heal, Williams founded an 80 voice non-professional family choir to benefit the community’s cultural welfare. “The Fellowship Mass Choir” held initiatives that would inspire the youth of the local area, and ignite the community’s passion for grassroots social change. The choir met weekly not only to rehearse but also to discuss pressing social issues such as teen pregnancy and drug abuse and suggest solutions. As a result, Darryl became a community arts leader and traveled around the local area using music as a catalyst for change. Through this community work Darryl met and was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Michael and April Prow to perform for the Savannah Onstage International Soloist Competition earning the Gold Medal and a $10,000 Grand Prize. The competition also garnered Darryl the opportunity to sing for the Yachting Event at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Accompanied by the Fellowship Mass Choir, this performance was a highlight for Williams and Jasper County alike.
Darryl has an intricate understanding of choral etiquette and choreography as well as specific knowledge of gospel vocal technique. His vocal mechanics and arrangements alongside his extensive prowess as a conductor and teacher, awarded him an invitation to Europe to perform as a choir director and guest soloist with Queen Esther Marrow and the late Mr. Michael Brenner. Darryl received rave reviews in the Harlem Gospel Singers’ European tour that in turn provided him the opportunity to perform for Saint John Paul II in Bologna, Italy.
Darryl began his professional theatrical career with the Hilton Head Island Community Theatre (HHICT) performing in Singin’ in the Rain, Ain’t Misbehavin, and A Chorus Line. During his great relationship with HHICT, Darryl juggled his love of theatre, love of the church and love for his Community.
After a period of classical training in Genoa, Italy, Darryl returned to the states and was traveling with Smokey Joe’s Café when Gladys Knight joined the tour for a limited engagement. He also performed “I Who Have Nothing” with the original Broadway cast at the 20th anniversary reunion concert at 54 Below, and reprised his role in a production at the Hamilton Place Theatre in Ontario.
As an arranger, Darryl has performed and created background vocals for Gladys Knight, Louis St. Louis, Beverly Taki, Eric Jordan Young, Ann Nesby and Emmy award winner Dave Pierce. Darryl arranged and sang background for Leslie Gore’s NYC show at Feinstein’s, an entertainment lauded as one of the “Top Ten Cabaret shows in 2009.” Darryl headlined with Broadway star Capathia Jenkins in Calgary, Canada, with the Calgary Pops Symphony.
Darryl’s off Broadway credits include Streakin, Mama I Want to Sing and Big Mama Stringbean telling the life story of Ethel Waters (AUDELCO AWARD nomination.). At the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Darryl was reviewed by the New York Times as, "a charismatic performer" in the new musical "ACAPELLA!" and later performed in a new Hip Hop musical, Illa.
Regionally, Darryl has also performed in All Night Strut, Dreamgirls, Pippin, The Meeting and Once On This Island. In 2009, Darryl was co-music arranger and vocal arranger for Sir. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gospel version of Jesus Christ Superstar at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. His critically acclaimed performance as Judas earned him a Suzi Bass Award nomination for Best Actor. The following year he was invited back to the Alliance to music direct the a cappella dramatic musical, Avenue X earning him a second Suzi Bass Award nomination.
In February 2012, Darryl played to rave reviews at Arkansas Repertory Theatre as the Lion in a new adaptation of The Wiz and later performed in the show’s 40th Anniversary NYC concert with Tony Award-winning choreographer Mr. George Faison and the incomparable Timothy Graphenreed. Darryl received a Broadway World Best Actor in a Musical nomination for playing the lead in Passing Strange at Playhouse on the Park, Hartford, CT.
In solo performance, Darryl gained several awards and honorable mentions for his performance in Mr. Tom Jones and Mr. William Knowles’ original musical about the life of the legendary Frankie Lymon and debuted I Believe in Love - a new show by Broadway music legend Mr. Timothy Graphenreed at New York City’s Triad Theatre. Darryl is most proud of his performance at Harlem’s world famous Apollo Theatre, an amazing dream which he will cherish for a lifetime!
In the Fall of 2016, Darryl ventured into cruise ship entertainment playing the Quartet Leader in Warren Carlyle’s Tony Award winning After Midnight and debuting a guest entertainer show The Mind of a Tenor to great acclaim throughout the Caribbean on the Norwegian Escape.