Most Belmont musicians wait until after graduation to make waves in the music scene. But Lee Williams, a previous Belmont student and current bass player of the up and coming band Sleeper Agent, left the comforts of his dorm halfway through his freshman year for a life on the road.
Known for their boisterous riffs and kick-the-can sing-alongs, Sleeper Agent has engaged in a steady upward climb since the group first broke on to the scene in 2010.
The sextet hails from Bowling Green, Ky., where they got their start playing college gigs with local buddies Cage the Elephant. It wasn’t long until the Southern rock stomp assemblies and playful dueling vocals drew the attention of Jay Joyce, a producer for Mom+Pop Records.
Soon enough, Sleeper Agent was on the way to recording a debut album, “Celebrasion.” At the same time, William enrolled for his freshman year as a commercial bass major at Belmont. He quickly recognized that it would be impossible to fulfill the time commitment for his major while simultaneously recording and promoting, so at the end of the first semester, he deferred his enrollment.
“Belmont was my dream school and being accepted was a pretty huge shock to me,” he said. “I plan on coming back at some point.”
Presently, Williams’ out-of-college life consists mostly of touring.
“The travel is amazing,” he says. “I’ve seen 43 states this year, met so many cool people, tried so many cool things and have had every type of food imaginable.”
It’s not all fun and games for Williams, however. Touring is a great experience, but he said he finds the instability is a hardship.
“I’m away from most of the people I love almost all of the time. I had to give uproot in a lot of comfort in my life to get here,” Williams said.
Although touring has its drawbacks, Williams is happy as he lives out his dream. His biggest advice to aspiring recording artists is to stay humble.
“If you’re going to survive playing professionally, you have to keep your ego in check,” he said. “Your part is only a piece, never the whole puzzle.”
Sleeper Agent has gained notable recognition in the past year with rave reviews from Spin, Esquire and Rolling Stone. Through opening for Cage the Elephant, the band earned a growing fan base on its cross-country tour. As the tour continues, Sleeping Agent is playing with notable acts such as Circa Survive, Company of Thieves, Cake and Foster the People.