Born and raised on the south side of Chicago and a graduate of Bogan High School, Columbia College Chicago junior Marketing major Alijah Williams has seen his career grow in leaps and bounds over the past few months due to perseverance, confidence, and the ability to entertain.
A natural born performer, Alijah has gained quite a following as a musical artist. Known as, “Alijah Tha Great,” his performing career began at an early age. “I've always known that being a performer of some sort was something I wanted to do. Around the age of 10 when one of my next-door neighbors started offering me an opportunity to perform at her backyard parties and seeing the type of response I'd get from the people there, I started making it a habit of just performing on the spot for people. It just became poetry in motion. Whether I was performing music, in a play, or playing basketball, I LOVED the idea of me being in front of a crowd!"
Describing his music as, “Art Without Limitations,” he refuses to put himself in a genre by itself. As he relates, “To the music industry I'm labeled as a Hip-Hop or an Alternative artist, when in reality I never truly limit myself to one specific style of music because of all of the early influences in my life. I have drawn inspiration from artists across several genres like Jim Johnston, The Game, Eminem, Kanye, 2Pac, Craig Robinson, Chris Rob, Justin Bieber, Big Time Rush, XXXTENTACION, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith. All have shaped not just the artist, but the person I am today.”
Alijah’s music has made an impact through his engaging live performances as the headliner for the WCRX-FM/Greater Chicago Food Depository event, “After, After, After Party,” as well as performing nationally as part of Music Forward Foundation’s Open Mic series. In fact, the performance with the latter earned him acclaim and a winning prize from the Foundation. Ever humble, Alijah had this to say. “Thanks to my amazing girlfriend who hosted a watch party for the event and made sure everyone there tuned in and voted, plus the consistent support I was receiving from friends, family, and fans that were tuning in from multiple locations, I ended up winning the fan vote. The reward I received for this was a brand new Sennheiser e835 live microphone!”
An outstanding student, he like many students, strives to find proper balance in order to manage academics, performance, and personal life. But he has found outlets. As he explains, “I've spent years practicing Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi Yoga technique to help balance out the stress that comes with living those multiple lives. In those practices, I find myself becoming more centered to where I, as an artist, friend, scholar, etc., am all represented in one.”
As he continues his ascent in the industry, the coming months will be filled with activity. He has just released a new ep of music; the Music Forward Foundation has asked him to return for a Showcase; and... drum roll please… this big announcement: “I have been selected to perform at this year's Manifest event on May 13th on the State Street Stage! I'm really excited about this performance, and I look forward to turning the State Street Stage into the Alijah Tha Great Show.”
Last but not least, a diehard Chicago Bulls basketball fan, Alijah has a future goal that he would love to achieve. “You know, I rarely think about future goals because everything I've manifested for myself has come to fruition through me putting trust in my ability to persevere through the storm. But if there was one goal I'm really focused on the most, it'd be getting booked to perform at Bulls Fest. If you know me, you know I live and breathe Chicago Bulls, and will proudly sport a Bulls snapback, jersey, etc., any and everywhere. Performing at Bulls Fest would be one of those moments that just solidifies all my trials and tribulations. Honestly, this would mean more to me than any award I could ever receive. So Bulls Nation if you're reading this, I hope to see you in September!”