William Shatner, renowned for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek, caused quite the stir over the weekend. There were several unsubstantiated reports that the 90-year-old Canadian would see life imitate art and board the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket ship into space. While Jeff Besoz (owner of said rocket) and Shatner could not confirm nor deny the reports, Shatner took to Twitter to drop his latest album, Bill.
Shatner has dabbled quite a bit with his musical styling going from covers, to blues, to spoken word poetry slam type tracks, which is to say, that he’s not afraid to experiment with sound. His latest project is referred to as autobiography, delving deep into untold stories of his life.
An article in Spin says the album has tracks, “…ranging from when he nearly drowned after leaving his rural Montreal home in his old Morris Minor to pursue his acting dreams (“The Bridge”) to the ongoing fear of dying alone (“Loneliness”) and how he constantly feels like he’s wearing a mask (metaphorically, not medically) both as an actor and in society in general (“Masks”).”
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) September 25, 2021
Renowned for his storytelling and cadence (undeniably one of the most recognisable voices in the world), Shatner has pioneered a new way of making music incorporating spoken word to a tune. Although he received widespread criticism for his approach in his earlier albums, he knows his limitations and doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not.
“It fills me with joy to [perform music],” Shatner says. “I get a physical thrill out of doing it. When it happens and it works, I go ‘Wow, I really did it! I’m singing a song in my own way.’ I think maybe I’ve devised a whole new way of performing a song. It’s spoken, but it’s not spoken. When you hear some of the great singers speaking, I guess that’s what I’m doing up to a degree. If I hit it right, it’s thrilling to me.”
Shatner calls on a host of artists to join him in laying out his life in song including, Joe Walsh, Joe Jonas, Brad Paisley, jazz musician Dave Koz, and gospel artist Robert Randolph.
Whether you love or loathe his musical styling, the album Bill is a tremendous insight into a truly extraordinary life, spanning 90 years! A must-listen for any Shatner fan, you can wrap your ears around it here.