Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time, when at the age of eight he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his merchant-marine father brought home from Spain, and also felt the same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat.
Bernie was signed by the New York Yankees after high school in 1987. In his 16-year career patrolling centerfield for the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. Throughout Williams’ years with the Yankees, his passion for music never waned, and the sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights. Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag, and it was no surprise when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, The Journey Within in 2003. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock, and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ Latin heritage and was met with both strong critical praise and instant chart success- reaching #3 on Billboard’s “Contemporary Jazz Chart.”
Bernie Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album Moving Forward. Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz, and an All-Star cast of renowned studio musicians, Moving Forward debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz album in the country, and continued to hold that chart position for five straight weeks, and spawned two consecutive Billboard #1 singles, Go For It, and Ritmo de Otono. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.
On June 13, 2019, Bernie became “Dr. Williams”, as he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the State University of New York through SUNY Potsdam and the world-renowned Drake School of Music, considered the “birthplace of music education”. Williams was recognized for his record-setting achievements as a New York Yankee, as well as his artistic accomplishments as a musician and dedication to philanthropy.