William was born in Waukegan, Illinois and raised in Southern California. In 2009 William started a percussion instruction podcast that grew to reach thousands across the globe and released his first solo project Freedom… Joybeat. Joybeat is a percussion featured meditation album. Since then he has recorded on nearly two dozen projects including three solo albums.

Johnson founded the yearly worship event Heartbeat for Worship, which ran from 2007-2013. The Heartbeat for Worship included a production of seven drummers playing simultaneously with a host of other musicians performing a fusion of music influences from around the world.

In October of 2011 William released his sophomore album Flor de Vida, a Latin jazz fusion project. Flor de Vida is a spirit and rhythm filled album combining the strength of Grammy award winning musicians along with several internationally accomplished musicians from all over the world. Sacred Roots, William’s latest album was released in August of 2014 and received positive press and radio play in the US, South America, and Europe. Sacred Roots was on the 2014 Grammy Ballot as an alternative album.

Having spent nearly eight years in the Air Force, William traveled extensively across the globe and developed a love for diverse forms of music. Drawing upon his Latin heritage, and being inspired by such musicians as Sheila E., he began to study the congas and bongos. This later developed into a passion for a number of other cultural styles. William has shared the stage with and recorded with award winning and renowned musicians from around the world including Dorothy Norwood, Ben Tankard, Luis Conte, Alberto Salas, Eric Lige, Vahagn Stepanyan, Eric Moore ii, Aaron Spears, Ramon Stagnaro, KJ Scriven, Melvin Lee Davis, Darwin Hobbs, Morris Mingo, Tavarius ‘Varo’ Johnson, J. David Bratton, Kenneth ‘Kaybass’ Diggs, Scott Coats, CS Cleverson, Giles Blankenship, Marvin Winans, Phil Routszong, Frank Fluker, Tony Murnahan, Michael Parlett, Josh Davis, Nikki Lerner, and many more. He has also recorded on projects mixed and mastered by talented engineers such as Alex Anders (Glee, Descendents, Captain Underpants), Andy Merril (Adele, Lady Gaga), Glen Tabor (Grammy and Dove award winning engineer), Alen Konakoğlu (Top Turkish engineer/producer including: ‘Gökçe, Melvin Lee Davis).   

William Johnson holds an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Liberty University and a bachelors in history (with a minor in finance) from Fayetteville State University. William continues to instruct classes, private lessons, clinics and master classes on college campuses, music stores, schools, and online from his personal studio. Currently William Johnson endorses Bonham Cajons, and Saluda Cymbals.