Michelle Willis Group
Gig Seeker Pro

Michelle Willis Group

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Frank T Nakashima"

The intimate clarity of this EP demo recording of original songs by singer/pianist Michelle Willis captures and reveals every expressive nuance of her silky voice. Twisting and turning, these songs explore the lyrics’ journey, creating musical textures that enwrap the listener. “Shining” does exactly that, glistening with freshness and energy. The funky Quincy Jones-like groove of “Psychology” gives us a taste of Willis’ blues-R&B chops. She is able to make perfect sense of the quirky almost-anti-melodic semi-tone dissonance of “Rain” and brings a wonderful spontaneity to “Weightless” and “Love Song.” Like other songs on this recording, “Open Hands” constantly entices and surprises with shifts of time, style, and texture. Backed by Heather Crawford (guitar), Charles James (bass), Shawn Rompre (drums), Kristjan Bergey (tenor sax) and vocalists Marla Walters, Janee Olivia, and Andre Reid, Michelle Willis has a seemingly endless resource of vocal colours – breathy whisper, feline purr, bluesy growl, soulful wail – all used so naturally. You’ll definitely be hearing more about this extremely talented singer-songwriter. - Wholenote


Shining Bits and Pieces (EP)



Michelle Willis has been writing songs since she could balance herself on the piano stool... at least, that's what her mom says. A Toronto native, born in North Yorkshire, England, Michelle's musical upbringing involved the rich harmony of cathedral choirs, singing through ye old blue hymnbook, and eventually setting the tone for the intricate harmony and melody that weave their way throughout her music.

Upon graduating Toronto's Etobicoke School of the Arts (Music Theatre), Michelle pursued a degree in Piano at Humber College's reknown Jazz program, and met fellow classmates Heather Crawford, Shawn Rompre, and Charles James. It was here she also met and played with a host of beautiful musicians, students, and teachers alike, all of whom would soon make up the basis of her band, the Michelle Willis Group.

Since it's inception, the band has been taking cues from artists across the board, from Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Aretha Franklin, to Erykah Badu, the Beatles, Ben Folds, and Radiohead. The list goes on. Always dedicated to the craft of songwriting, and playing original, soulful and communicative music, the Michelle Willis Group feels their sound is best described as an intricate and lyrical fusion of jazz, folk, pop and R&B.

Most recently, you can hear the group getting airtime on CBC Radio One, and at local Toronto jazz watering-hole, The Rex Hotel. A Canadian tour is set for the fall (October), after featured appearances at this summers Markham and Toronto Jazz Festivals.