“First-rate compositions...” wrote critic Ken Tucker. “…Williams sings his song in a warm, sexy, wry tone, in a voice that has felt the influence of everyone from Hank Snow to John Sebastian." “Something of a classic…” was SingOut! Magazine’s comment on one of Williams’ early songs. Karl Williams songs have aired on NBC, ABC, Fox, public television, and cable, as well as on German TV, Sirius, and on radio stations around the world.
In the ‘90s Williams began writing songs for the “self-advocacy” movement (folks with intellectual disabilities working for respect and for their civil rights). His songs, from the album RESPECT: SONGS OF THE SELF-ADVOCACY MOVEMENT (recorded with members of the US national group), have become a kind of soundtrack for the daily struggles of self-advocates. Williams has performed at self-advocacy conferences and retreats across the US and in Canada and Germany.
In late 1999 Williams’ CD-single "To the New Century," featuring toasts in 17 languages, was picked up by radio stations around the world. The story of the song’s travels appears in “Working Musicians” (HarperCollins, 2002).
Also in 1999 Williams published two as-told-to autobiographies written with leaders in the self-advocacy movement: "Lost In A Desert World: The Autobiography Of Roland Johnson" (as told to Karl Williams) (Speaking For Ourselves, 1999); and "If Your Dreams Are Big Enough The Facts Don't Count" by Michael S. Long (as told to Karl Williams) (Massey-Reyner Press, 1999) - recently reworked and reissued as "A Life Like Anybody Else" (Michael Long, 2020). A reviewer called these “works of pioneering authenticity” for their innovative approach to capturing in the print for the first time the true voices of people with this disability.
In 2019 Williams’ "Hello, Stranger," also an as-told-to first-person story - this one written with autistic graphic artist Barb Moran - was published by KiCam Projects.
In 2005 Williams’ first short play was produced at The Philadelphia Fringe Festival. His short stories have been presented on stage at Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre Company. And in 2010 Williams’ play "Lost In A Desert World" had a modest premiere in San Diego.
Williams’ prose and lyrics and poems have won awards and have been published in books and magazines; his recordings have been used in videos, on websites, and on the stage. Early Childhood Magazine included Williams’ first album for children, "Big Fish Little Fish," in the curriculum it developed for a program of The Jane Goodall Institute.