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These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

William Hinson on his playful, poppy new album 'Live! At The Flat Iron'

William Hinson's new live album drops on Friday, March 15.
William Hinson's new live album drops on Friday, March 15.

The new live album by singer-songwriter William Hinson begins with an overture. Ethereal notes and voices echo through his opening track, all snippets of his poppy songs to come.

The album was recorded over three shows in Greensboro in 2022 and 2023, but the 28-year-old has been working on the album and writing music for years before that.

We reached him at his home in Winston-Salem this week, where he was just getting over a brief illness, but was still excited to talk about the album ahead of his performance in Charlotte at The Evening Muse on Thursday night.

"I sound amazing (compared) to where I was like early yesterday morning," he said through coughs and sniffles. "But yeah, just ripping the Dayquil, Bubbe, I’m going to be fine."

With a slender frame and side-swept mop-top, Hinson looks like he could be the fifth member of the Beatles. He spoke with WFAE's Nick de la Canal, and said he started coming up with songs at an early age.

William Hinson: I started writing songs for school projects and stuff in the fourth grade.

Nick De la Canal: For school projects?

Hinson: Yeah, cause like it was always like you could write a book report, you could give a presentation or you could do something creative. You could like write a song, and I was like, well that seems super easy. So I might as well just do that.

De la Canal: What were some of those songs about?

Hinson: Oh god, like books, you know, just random books and stuff. But I started writing for myself in the sixth grade, I guess, and I started writing about girls.

De la Canal: You sing a lot about the Beatles, and you even have a song titled “George Harrison” and another titled “Paul McCartney,” and you sing that maybe you’ll never be a Paul McCartney. Were the Beatles a big influence in your life growing up?

Hinson: Definitely, and they still are. I mean, Nick, I might be the biggest Beatles fan you’ll ever meet. Certainly the biggest 28-year-old Beatles fan you’ll ever meet.

De la Canal: When did you start listening to them, and what was it about them that made you want to honor them in your own music?

Hinson: My mother was a big Beatles fan. She still is, and so there was a lot of influence like James Taylor, and Billy Joel, and Earth Wind and Fire from my dad. But as far as the Beatles go, I mean, I grew up a Wake Forest fan, so I’m used to losing. But being a Beatles fan is like, you’re always winning, you’re always cheering for the winning team.

De la Canal: I want to ask about a song on your latest album called “She’s Hot.” This is sort of a soft rock number about a girl who’s hot but doesn’t know it.

Hinson: Very hot, yeah.

De la Canal: Now I read that you wrote this song not about your girlfriend, but about your girlfriend’s best friend.

Hinson: That is true, yes.

De la Canal: Talk about that.

Hinson: So yeah I mean, well first of all, I grew up with two older sisters, so doing the sort of little brother-y thing, and being the one that you can go and gossip to, I sort of became this for my girlfriend’s best friend during a particularly difficult period in her life. But I recognized it in so many of my other friends, and I felt like I was doing this all the time. So really this song is about me trying to fix my friends. And me trying to say, you know, you literally have no idea how hot you are. Like, if you did, none of this would be a problem. This would be a very nonissue.


De la Canal: Something that stands out to me is how specific a lot of your lyrics are. You use words like “ostentatious” and “abscond.” In your song “Sephora Explorer,” which is about a girl, you use some Swedish I think.

Hinson: Yeah it’s Swedish.

De la Canal: And you go on this tangent about this girl’s thoughts on Taylor Swift.

(Soundbite of song, “Sephora Explorer”)

Hinson: She doesn’t like Taylor Swift. It's not the music, it’s just too much commitment, but she still thinks Kayne’s a dick. She loves everything.

De la Canal: That’s a really specific lyric. And I’m wondering, why get so specific when you’re writing for a broad audience of people?

Hinson: I think the thing that you relate to — at least for me — the thing that I relate to most whenever I listen to someone’s tune is — are the very specific things. It’s very easy to write something broad. 'Oh you loved me, I loved you, and then we broke up and now I’m sad and you’re sad too.'

But trying to reframe all of the classic tropes in new ways, I think that’s the goal of every songwriter. You know, I love the fact that my girlfriend does not like Taylor Swift, but I also love the fact that it’s not that she’s hateful about Taylor Swift. It’s just that being a Taylor Swift fan has become such a commitment, and she just doesn’t have time for it. She’s too late to the game.

De la Canal: I want to ask about another one of your songs called “St. Patrick’s Day.” This is a really fun song and it’s about how every year on St. Patrick’s Day you ruin your life. But the examples that you give are dropping your phone out of a car, losing your keys, losing your girlfriend in a crowd. So I really have a two-part question here. First, you say that you ruin your life, but is that all that happened?

Hinson: Well I wrote that with my best friend Josh Earls. I think that was the first song that we wrote together. I said something about Halloween, like, there’s no songs about Halloween. There’s no real songs about Thanksgiving, and he said, ‘Oh god, St. Patrick’s Day.’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, St. Patrick’s Day.’ He said, ‘I hate St. Patrick’s Day. Every year I ruin my life.’ And I was like, 'That’s literally the song.'

De la Canal: OK. So the second part is this weekend is St. Patrick’s Day. What are you expecting, and is there potential for this song to get another verse?

Hinson: Well, I don’t know ...

De la Canal: And I’ll say this, too. I can’t help but notice that you are getting a little sick and almost losing your voice just before a gig and a radio interview.

Hinson: I think it’s St. Patrick. I think he’s striking back again. No, I don’t know. I probably would have told you prior to this sickness, I probably would have told you that we were going to have a really fun time at the two gigs this weekend, but now I’m not sure. If my convalescence continues as planned, then potentially we will get into some shenanigans on Friday.

De la Canal: Well the WFAE staff certainly hopes you make it through this holiday weekend scot-free.

Hinson: Well thank you.

William Hinson's new album, "Live! At The Flat Iron," is out on Friday, March 15. Charlotte fans can catch him performing Thursday night at The Evening Muse in NoDa.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal