Despite what his sound might indicate, Alex Williams didn't start out as a traditional country musician. Williams grew up with a dad who favored '80s hair metal acts, so he didn’t get his first taste of country music until he was in high school ... but as soon his grandparents introduced him to Dreaming My Dreams by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s Red Headed StrangerWilliams was hooked.

Enthralled with Nelson and Jennings' “fearlessness," and the fact that “they did whatever the hell they wanted to do," Williams traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic, started writing his own music and, 10 years of hard work later, released his debut album, Better Than Myself, in August of 2017. The disc is full of eclectic songs that speak to Williams' diverse musical upbringing; they're traditional country music … with a modern twist.

Scroll through the photo gallery below to learn a few things about Williams, an up-and-coming artist you need to know.