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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Gui Williams strums on Stony Brook’s heartstrings

Gui Williams, above, is a senior biology major at Stony Brook University who is also pursuing a career in music. Music is currently more of a hobby to Williams and he would like to make a career out of it. ARACELY JIMENEZ/THE STATESMAN

Every day, Paula Pecego hears her brother’s music. Her brother sings in the shower, taps rhythms for new songs at the dinner table and stays up until 4 a.m. composing music. Even as she talks to her brother, he will take out his phone and begin typing away new lyrics he just came up with.

“Gui, I’m talking to you. What are you doing?

“Oh I just thought of a line for a song.”

Gui Williams is a senior biology and psychology major who is also pursuing a career in music. Music has always been an important part of his life.

Music has connected his family, helped him assimilate to new cultures and become more than just a hobby, but a possible career.

Williams was always surrounded by music as a child growing up in Goiânia, Brazil.

His entire family is talented at one instrument or another, such as his mother, who can sing and play guitar and piano.

When Williams was six, his mother noticed how much he loved his toy guitars and decided to have him take guitar lessons.

But the biggest musician in his family was his grandpa, Stênio Jório de Messias, one of the most famous bossa nova guitarists in the state of Goiás.

“I remember going to my grandpa’s house and we used to sit, my mother, my grandpa, my brother and I,” Paula Pecego, a junior biochemistry and English major and Williams’ sister said. “And we used to sit for two hours and just talk and play.”

Williams never forgot those Sundays with his family and continued to steadily improve as a musician in Brazil.

His career officially began when he was 15 and started playing in churches. By 17, he started to sing and play the piano.

Then, in 2009 at 18, he spent a year in Germany as an exchange student; he said this was where he learned how to write songs.

Williams was living with a German family and realized that he had to learn the language.

He did not just pick up the language in six months, but composed his first songs in a completely different language.

After a year in Germany, he came back to his home in Brazil, but within a year a love story changed everything.

In 2011, Williams’ mother received a message on Facebook. It was from her first fiancé, who she fell in love with at 17 but was separated from because the families did not agree with the marriage. Yet after more than 20 years, they still loved each other.

The only problem was that they lived on two separate continents. So, the Williams family moved to America.

“I had friends in Brazil, I had a life, and all of a sudden it’s gone,” Williams said.

But Williams still had music. He spent six months waiting to go to school and begin taking English classes. With his free time, he immersed himself in the music of English-speaking musicians, such as John Mayer and Coldplay.

Williams then began to write songs in English to understand the language better. He said that he was going to enjoy his time in a new place and deal with the stress of moving to a new home through making music. He said that when he began to write songs in English, he found the pronunciation and flow of words more musically inclined compared to German and Portuguese.

Four years later, Williams is now hard at work to turn his songwriting into a possible career and is planning to release his first EP, sung in English, soon. Williams said his future EP will be about love and ideal relationships.

“You want [relationships] to be that way, and you create a whole story about it. It’s not realistic but it is something you can call love. Something you want even if it is not there,” he said.

But despite his talent, it is not that easy.

“It’s not just getting a guitar up there and playing it. There is so much behind it, it’s insane,” Williams said.

When Williams is not studying for his MCAT or writing 30-page lab reports, he is in the studio constantly recording and practicing his songs.

His sister said that Williams has nearly 70 songs fully written.

However, recording music takes time, especially with limited resources.

Williams said if he can not find a backing bass or guitar player he does it by himself. He spends hours mixing the tracks instead of paying a producer who would either want 50 percent in royalty from the song or to be credited as a songwriter.

He said what he really needs is a record deal so that he can only worry about writing the songs and have a team handle social media, studio mixing and all the other hurdles that come with putting out professional music.

Despite the complexities that come with making music, there is a simple reason for why he does it.

“I’m trying to make people happy, I’m trying to spread love.” Williams said. “It kind of sounds cheesy but that is the idea of writing songs.”

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