Musician First Class Nathaniel Willson was born in Bowling Green, Ohio. He was raised overseas in Japan and India and graduated high school in 1998 from the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati. His primary teachers include Randy Gardner, Duane Dugger, Jerome Ashby, Julie Landsman, and Bryan Kennedy.
Prior to joining the Navy, MU1 Willson was a member of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in Portland, Oregon from 2005-2008, and a member of the Sarasota Orchestra in Sarasota, Florida from 2008-2009. He has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera, and the Washington National Opera.
In 2009, MU1 Willson auditioned and was selected for assignment to the U.S. Naval Academy Band. Following recruit training at RTC, Great Lakes, he reported for duty as a horn player with the wind ensemble, marching band, brass quintet, and ceremonial units. He also serves as Assistant Coordinator for the band's Chamber Music Series, and as Assistant in the band's Administration Department.
MU1 Willson has been awarded the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Navy Pistol Sharpshooter Ribbon.