'Glee's Marshall Williams Knows Music IRL Too

by Jodi Walker

The (new) new kids on McKinley kids finally got their chance to shine on last Friday's Glee, and that meant "post-modern gay" jock, Spencer, got a whole solo all to himself for Marshall Williams to show off his musical chops. Like most of the New Directions who came before him, Williams' pre-Glee portfolio was rooted just as much in singing as it was in acting before he showed up in Coach Beiste's locker room. So, it's no surprise that he's fitting right into the "jerk with the heart of gold who can also sing like a headlining pop star but only if the Will/Kurt/Rachel/Sam makes him" role just fine; but Williams isn't exactly a "Childstar" like his breakout episode depicts, either.

In real life, Williams spent a lot more time pursuing football and a university education in his native Canada before he took on the idea of singing professionally. That's when he made his way to the televised singing gateway drug: the singing competition show. After that, rather than parlaying his experience into a singing career, Williams took the actor/model route, eventually landing him on Glee. But he's still making music outside network television too, and hopefully there's more to come.

Canadian Idol

Williams first tried his hand at singing in a very "Spencer" fashion: In 2007 he took a break from running the high school football field to try out for Canadian Idol. He made it to the Top 40, but was sent back to Winnipeg's version of McKinley High before the live shows. He got the exact same results when he auditioned again in 2008, but that year the producers sent him away with the advice to contact some modeling agencies, he told Winnipeg Free Press in 2013. Unfortunately, there's no video footage of Williams' time on Idol, but his time as a model (signed with Ford, no less) is very well documented...

Cover Star

The best place to find Williams singing in real life though is on his YouTube page. Though Williams is a self-proclaimed country music lover, and Glee keeps him more in the full-pop realm, his YouTube videos show a proclivity for indie rock, like this rather lovely cover of "Beacon Hill" by Damien Jurado. And I'm pretty sure this haunting The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers diddy was recorded in his Glee trailer.

The Future Looks Bright

Williams entered Glee with a timestamp on the role of Spencer, but his singing-on-camera career hasn't been limited to Ryan Murphy productions either. He's also got a little Disney Channel experience, having played the titular boy in How to Build a Better Boy in 2014. And, of course, any perfect boy knows how to serenade with a ukelele, introducing Williams to his first sing-and-act role. He might just pull an Anna Kendrick and let singing on camera be his thing now. Or maybe he'll follow Rachel Berry's footsteps to Broadway. Personally, I'd prefer a full transition into country heartthrob. But let's just get those kids to Sectionals first...

Images: Adam Rose/FOX; Marshall Williams/Instagram