On July 3 at Watford Football Club Stadium in North London, Sir Elton John while performing his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour gave a shout out to Ray Williams.
“Thanks to the guy who started the whole thing off,” John told the crowd.
Williams, now a Sanford resident, is credited with discovering John and introducing him to longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin. Williams managed John through his first five albums and is also known for discovering artists such as Jeff Lynne of ELO and Gerry Rafferty.
Williams helped found the Sanford Music Circle this year, with “Writers Round” performances in area venues and restaurants, documenting progress of each artist and their collaboration with mentors.
The success of the Writers Round caught the eye of filmmakers, and on August 25 the Temple Theatre in Sanford will play host to a performance of members that will be recorded for an upcoming movie.
Guests and collaborators include:
*Award winning actor, writer and director Chris Mulkey, who has a long and diverse career in film, television, stage. Best known for “On The Basis of Sex,” “Whiplash,” “Captain Philips,” “Twin Peaks,” “The Purge,” and more, he is also a songwriter with music featured in film and television.
*Britton Buchanan, Sanford native and runner up in Season 14 of NBC’s “The Voice,” who is now a singer-songwriter and has written with Rob Thomas, J.D. Souther, Alicia Keys, Kevin Griffin, and more.
*Frank Bruno of Wilmington, who draws songwriting inspiration from generations of artists including Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler, Wilco, and more.
*Paige King Johnson of Angier, whose debut single “Water Down the Whiskey” climbed to number 29 on Music Row charts. She has worked with Pam Tillis, Scotty McCreery, and other Nashville music royalty.
*John Norris of Sanford, a founding member of the Sanford Music Circle who has recently become active in the country music scene.
*Jason Adamo of Raleigh, a songwriter who recently received a RIAA Gold Platinum Plaque for writing Brett Young’s “Beautiful Believer.”
*H.G. Murrell of Charlotte, who studied songwriting at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and won a songwriting lesson with Sir Paul McCartney.
*Erik Hawks, a North Carolina native who spent five years writing songs with the Raleigh based “Young Yonder Band.”
*Whit Grumhaus of Chapel Hill.
*Emerson Bruno, a 2022 graduate of N.C. State University.
*Jesse Fox of Greensboro, who has been compared to a young Bob Dylan.
*Dalton Davis of Mamers.
The event will be hosted by local musician Chad Spivey.
The show is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 25. Regular tickets ($25) and front row tickets ($35) can be purchased at http://www.templeshows.org.