Del Rio native William Beckmann is heating up Nashville and beyond with his latest album
Country music has evolved into many forms over generations, and Del Rio-born William Beckmann has channeled youth and an old soul into his country music.
His new record, “Here’s to You. Here’s to Me,” showcases a country roots vibe and his growth as a songwriter – and he got an early start, taking piano lessons at a young age and then learning to play guitar.
“I didn’t come from a musical family at all. So a lot of it was kind of learning on my own,” he said. “Growing up in Del Rio I think had a big part of it, because it’s a small town and there’s not a lot to do. And that’s just what I did to pass the time. And then the older I got, I just never really stopped doing it. And then I turned it into something I wanted to pursue professionally.”
It was when Beckmann was in high school that he met Del Rio songwriter Radney Foster, who became a mentor to him.
“He’s kind of the one who helped me hone in on my songwriting and really kind of gave me tips and taught me the ins and outs of the songwriting world,” Beckmann said. “So I credit him a lot to helping me discover my own interest as a songwriter and how to take what I liked and apply it to my own music. So Radney’s been a very big influence on me.“
Beckmann said he found inspiration from country musicians including George Strait, George Jones and Waylon Jennings.
“My friends and I were really big into the Randy Rogers Band and listening to a lot of the Texas country that was coming out at that time. So it was just a combination of all these different genres of music that I liked and I wanted to emulate in a way,” he said. “And my connection with Rodney was really important too, because he produced several of the Randy Rogers Band albums and wrote some of those songs. So it was really cool to have like a direct line into that world.“
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Another huge influence? Beckmann’s Hispanic heritage and the Spanish songs on radio stations up and down the border.
“Everybody in my family speaks Spanish. My grandparents, their first language is Spanish. And that’s why I incorporate that into my show, because it’s part of my culture, it’s a part of my upbringing,” he said. “Just listening to the radio and listening to mariachi music and listening to what they call norteño music, which is banda music – there’s all kinds of different genres of Mexican music that I was surrounded by when I was growing up. It’s an important part of who I am, and that’s why I continue to showcase that.“
Beckmann said that he’s always gravitated toward really honest songwriting, appreciating the lyrical aspect of it – and that he pushed himself into new territory on “Here’s to You. Here’s to Me.”
“These songs on this record I’m very proud of, and it’s kind of the first body of work that I’ve ever released where I had a real opportunity to collaborate with other fantastic songwriters. I brought ideas to other people and they helped complement the song in a way that I’m not sure I would be able to do it by myself. So definitely it was a different process for me creatively,” he said. “When you write so much by yourself, you can kind of get stubborn in some ways. I’m really proud of myself for being able to let people into my world a little bit and help me write these songs.“
Beckmann also made his Grand Ole Opry debut earlier this year and said it was everything he ever dreamed it would be.
“It goes without saying it’s every country singer’s dream to get that invitation and to get the opportunity. Of course, I had half of Del Rio flying to Nashville to watch it – my parents and my grandparents – it was really cool,” he said. “I was able to come back about a week and a half ago and make my second appearance, which was great too. And it was almost a little bit better for me because I didn’t have quite as many friends and family fly in, and so I think I was able to kind of really soak it all in and enjoy it.
“You got to remember that the Grand Ole Opry, it happens every day. There’s people from all over the world that come to Nashville, and that’s something they try to check off their bucket list. And so there’s a lot of people in the audience who have no idea who you are. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself and introduce them to your music and really walk away with a couple of new fans.”
Beckmann will be playing a run of Texas shows starting Aug. 12, with more dates later this fall. Details and tickets are available on his website.
Listen to an extended interview with William Beckmann – including his favorite places to play in Texas – in the audio player above.
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