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Marlon Williams (born 31 December 1990) is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Lyttelton, New Zealand. He has performed solo as well as with current backing group the Yarra Benders (Gus Agars, Dave Khan and Ben Woolley). He first came to attention as front-man of The Unfaithful Ways and has also performed and recorded as a duo with Delaney Davidson. Williams' music style straddles folk, country, bluegrass and the blues.

Marlon Williams
Marlon Williams.jpg
Oxford Arts Factory, November 21, 2015
Background information
Birth nameMarlon Williams
Born (1990-12-31) 31 December 1990 (age 28)
Christchurch, New Zealand
OriginLyttelton, New Zealand
GenresAlt-country, folk, bluegrass
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active2009–present
LabelsCaroline Australia, Universal NZ
Associated actsMarlon Williams & The Yarra Benders, The Unfaithful Ways, Delaney Davidson, Grand Ole Hayride, The Harbour Union, Tim Moore


Early life and familyEdit

Born in Christchurch and of Ngāi Tahu descent, Williams is the son of David Williams and Jenny Rendall. He was educated at Christchurch Boys' High School and was a member of the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, which toured Europe in 2009–10.[1]


2007–11: Early career with The Unfaithful WaysEdit

Williams founded The Unfaithful Ways at 17 with his high school friends Sebastian Warne and Ben Woolley, along with science teacher at the school, Simon Brouwer. They quickly gained national attention in New Zealand, playing the Big Day Out,[2] touring with Band of Horses and Justin Townes Earle, and picking up a Critics Choice award nomination at the 2011 New Zealand Music Awards for their debut album 'Free Rein'.

2011–14: Collaboration with Delaney DavidsonEdit

Williams met acclaimed country singer Delaney Davidson in 2011, and the pair began performing as a duo. Over two years they released three volumes of the series, Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting, garnering critical acclaim, including the New Zealand Country Song and Country Album of the year in 2013.[3]

2013–present: Solo career and with The Yarra BendersEdit

Relocating to Melbourne, Australia, in mid-2013, Williams began performing solo around town, releasing the live album 'Live At La Niche', touring Australia with US acts Robert Ellis, Cory Chisel and playing Mullumbimby Music Festival.[4] In 2015 he did his first national television performance on SBS Australia's music quiz show RocKwiz, and at the Sydney Opera House for TEDxSydney.[5] While working on a new record in 2014, Williams embarked on a co-headline tour with Melody Pool, playing 26 shows around Australia and New Zealand,[6] before closing the year with performances at Queenscliff Music Festival, Wave Rock Weekender, Mullumbimby Music Festival, and a full band tour alongside Justin Townes Earle and Lindi Ortega in Australia and New Zealand.[7] In April 2015 Williams released his debut self-titled solo album to critical acclaim, debuting at number 10 on the New Zealand Albums Chart,[8] and number 31 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart.[9] The album was called "captivating" by Rolling Stone Australia,[10] a "revelation" by Metro Magazine[11] and "one of the most impressive country records this year" by ToneDeaf.[12] Williams and the Yarra Benders will open two shows in 2017 for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on their Summer '17 tour.


Marlon Williams has won New Zealand Music Awards. In 2013 his collaboration with Delaney Davidson on Sad but True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Vol. 1 album won Best Country Music Album,[3] with the track "Bloodletter" winning the Silver Scroll for Best Country Music Song. In the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards Williams won Best Male Solo Artist and Breakthrough Artist of the Year, having been nominated for five awards.[13]

As a member of The Unfaithful Ways, Williams was also nominated for the New Zealand Music Award for Critics' Choice Prize in 2011, and was a finalist for the 2012 APRA Best Country Music Song for his song "Ghost of This Town".[2]

Delaney Davidson & Marlon Williams’ Sad But True Volume III was a finalist for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album 2015,[14] and as of July 2015 Williams' solo release Dark Child has been nominated for the 2015 APRA Silver Scroll Award for best song.[15]

Film and television appearancesEdit

In 2015 Williams appeared on the ABC Television series The Beautiful Lie, and he will act in an independent movie being shot in New Zealand.[16]

Williams also appeared as a subject of the documentary The New Sound of Country on Prime Rocks in New Zealand, alongside Tami Neilson, Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders.[17]

On June 14, 2016, Marlon Williams and the Yarra Benders made their US television debut as the musical guests on the American late-night talk show Conan.[18]

In 2018, he appeared in the feature film A Star Is Born, alongside Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.


Studio albums

Live albums

  • Live at La Niche (2014)

With The Unfaithful Ways

  • Four First Songs (2009)
  • More Townes Van Zandt by the Great Unknown (compilation, 2010)
  • Free Reign (2011)
  • The Harbour Union (compilation, 2011)

With Delaney Davidson

  • Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Volume One (2012)
  • Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Volume Two (2013)
  • Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Volume III (2014)

Chart historyEdit

Make Way for Love (2018)
Chart (2018) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 8
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[20] 149
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[21] 60
French Albums (SNEP)[22] 137
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 1


  1. ^ "The ballad of Marlon Williams". New Zealand Herald. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Country Music Song finalists". The Big Idea. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b "BEST COUNTRY MUSIC ALBUM 2013". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  4. ^ "From port to pub: Marlon Williams' first Australian LP won't fit in any pigeonhole". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Marlon Williams". TEDxSydney. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Marlon Williams and Melody Pool Announce Co-Headline Tour". The Music.
  7. ^ "The Music Announces Justin Townes Earle Tour with Marlon Williams and Lindi Ortega". The Music. The Music.
  8. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart - The Official New Zealand Music Chart". The Official New Zealand Music Chart. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Chartifacts: Wednesday 6th May 2015". ARIA. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Rolling Stone Australia – Marlon Williams - Marlon Williams". Rolling Stone Australia. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Marlon Williams: Marlon Williams - review Metro Magazine". Metro Magazine. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Marlon Williams wins two Tuis at NZ Music Awards". Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  14. ^ "2015 COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS - THE WINNERS". Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Apra Silver Scroll finalists announced for 2015". Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Something About Marlon". Taste In Music. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Country music, history, comedy and brain power – new local programmes in the pipeline". NZ On Air. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Kiwi Marlon Williams performs on US talk show Conan". Stuff. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  19. ^ " – Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  20. ^ " – Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  21. ^ " – Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  22. ^ " – Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  23. ^ " – Marlon Williams – Make Way for Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 May 2018.

External linksEdit