Folk singer Dar Williams spoke today at a Davenport’s Master’s Tea about her path to musical success.

Though she was sick with a slight cough, Williams still sang three songs, including “The One Who Knows,” “Iowa,” and “The Beauty of Rain.” She invited the audience to join her for “Iowa.”

“There is nothing that beats someone that can get us all singing and together in this room,” Master Richard Schottenfeld ’71, MD ’76 said at the end of the tea.

Williams talked about how she got her start at open mic sessions and her time as a day care substitute teacher, a job she does not recommend for musicians because the children are sick all the time.

She said she considered getting a master of fine arts degree so that she could teach or becoming a playwright, but ultimately each time continued her music career.

Williams said found that the most successful songs and the ones that propelled her career forward were those that were the riskiest and written on her futon. She could never be a sell out because her best was what she wrote on her futon.

“It’s important to locate yourself,” she said.

Williams said she finds inspiration in museums and movies and that songs usually take months and months to write.

“I don’t rush that,” she said, referring to the songwriting process.

As for those looking for advice on songwriting, “Finish them,” Williams said.