James Kimo Williams was born in Amityville, New York. He moved to Hawaii in 1967 with his dad who was serving in the Airforce.
In 1969 before joining the Army and eventually serving in Vietnam, he attended a Jimi Hendrix concert where he was so inspired by the music of Jimi Hendrix, that he dedicated himself to music and playing guitar.
Using his GI Bill, he applied to and was accepted to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. As a composer his symphonies have been performed by the symphonies of Detroit, Atlanta, Savannah, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Alabama and Dallas among many others.
He is A Fulbright Specialist and the Lancaster Symphony’s 38th Recipient – “Composers Award for Contributions to American Music”
He co-founded The “Lt. Dan Band", in 2003 with actor-musician Gary Sinise (Forest Gump, CSI: NY).
After 30 years of teaching, Kimo retired from Columbia College Chicago in 2015 where he was an associate professor in the Management and Music Departments.
Kimo is an avid award-winning photographer and owns a gallery in Shepherdstown, WV (KimoPics.com). His works have won several awards dating back to the early 1980s. His photography has been featured in the Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic Editor’s Choice, and the National Veterans Arts Museum in Chicago. Recently, Kimo’s photography has been jury-selected and curated at; The Berkeley Arts Centerin West Virginia, The Scarab Club in Detroit MI and the Cooperstown Art Association Galleries in New York.
His photography has been awarded:
He is currently a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Organization) Advocacy member representing the State of West Virginia to the 116th US Congress.
Kimo and his artist, partner, and wife, Carol live outside Shepherdstown in West Virginia.