Michelle Willis Group

Michelle Willis Group

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandFolkJazz

Music with a message. Lyric Based. Lyrical harmony. Original songwriting. Progressive pop.

Biography

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.

Lyrics

Becoming

Written By: Michelle Willis

Everyday I am waiting to see you
Every day I wake up just to hear you in
Every way, for I know that I'm right
when you're near me

Wait for me I am slowly becoming
Wait for me I am slowly becoming
What you've always seen in me
You've always seen me clearly

Wait for me we are slowly becoming
As patient as can be
Yes we're slowly becoming what we're meant to be
Every day, and I'll wait.
Wait for me

More

Written By: Michelle Willis

I'd always thought a man would be
Someone who would hold my thoughts at ease
Not much to prove but much to see
Yes he'd be the man for me

But with each man that I would meet
I'd bend just a little more
Thinking it must be wrong of me
To think that a man should be more

I met you here in the park today
And soon it was clear to me
That every hope I'd tossed away
Was there right in front of me

Not much to prove but much to see
With you every word fell so gracefully
And for the first time I believed
That hope had a place in me

For you, you brought dreams back to life
And I won't question anymore
I know that I've been blessed tonight
For there's a man who taught me more

Shining

Written By: Michelle Willis

Suddenly the ground became so interesting
And my eyes distracted by bits of light
The air has grown thick here, our words seem to fail here
No matter their intention
All the light gets blocked out

(chorus)
You know me as I know you lets not push ourselves away
We stretch our conscience further and somebody's bound to break
We test the water, it gets colder every day
I must say you're shining brighter in every way

Each word gets packed with assumptions
Yes each word I say has some pain behind it, for you to find it
And I'm growing so tired, so tired, so burnt out and tired
of unpacking

You know me as I know you lets not ... (chorus)

This isn't how it's meant to be
This isn't how I want to be
Something is tightening
Something is tightening
So that all I ever see from you
And all you ever see from me
All I ever hear, is what you never say
You never let go, of what you never say
You never let go of what you
never say

Say say say it, do you need it?
Say say say say say it.
Did you say what you needed?
Do you need it?

Weightless

Written By: Michelle Willis

hopeful sunlight
come drift through my window
make me remember
what’s worth remembering

I’ll stare at daylight
until the pieces come to mind
daylight,
keep me forgetting
all that’s worth forgetting

how can I contain this might
I get so tired
if all I see is disguised
then bring clarity
please some clarity
weightless can I be

in this light

it comes again tonight
this empty space so thickened by the light
and I remember
it’s you, remember me?
I’ll stare at moonlight
until the peace comes to these closing eyes
just let me linger
a little long here

how can I escape this flight
I get so tired
pull me out
I can’t fight with fire, I need clarity
from all that I’ve tried to see
please some clarity
from all that I’ve tried to be
weightless can I be

in this light

Rain

Written By: Michelle Willis

when it rains I remember to breathe in deep
catch the scent of the earth at its finest moment
as it wakens

I remember to sit still
and pause
let my skin soak up each drop of rain
how lovely to feel fresh again

the greens seem deeper, the browns seem clearer
the streets are murky and grey
the faint hearted don’t come out today
and as I watch it hit
the pavement
I think of wild women dancing, stamping their pain away

everything looks better when it rains
damp and dark and wet and new again
~
strange the rain brings a calm in me
while everything else is thundering

my bones soaked through I think of when we went dancing
how sweet the smell of your skin
wet beneath the trees
and there was thunder and puddles and lightening across your eyes
pray you still run to be outside
catch the moonlight
catch the moonlight

everything looks better when it rains
damp and dark and wet and new again
~
strange the rain brings a calm in me
while everything else is thundering

everything looks better when it rains
damp and dark and wet and new again
~
strange the rain brings a calm in me
while everything else is thundering, crumbling

(repeat)

Open Hands

Written By: Michelle Willis

pulling onward I have no sense of time
forcing strong hearts to pour out from each others’ minds
can’t there be a feeling
can’t there be some open ground
free of defense lines
free from all the words I’m trying to find

pulling my hands, pulling my hands

empty pages
they come at me with a judges eye
and I’m tired of seeing the same old words with the same disguise
can’t you see me?
can’t you hear me I am crying out
but all the words I know are being shouted from another crowd

pulling my hands, pulling my hands

desperate gazes
as a misty city lights the streets
I’m alright but there’s a restlessness which needs to be
sat down, talked to
told to focus in
hold me in
hold me in
hold me in, hold me in

pulling my hands, pulling my hands

as you fire away there’s no place that I’d rather be
for spaces fill in time
but hearts don’t change I do believe
I’ll be standing by the doorway
standing with these open hands
praying for understanding
praying for your sweet commands
praying for understanding
praying for your sweet commands

pulling my hands, pulling my hands
open hands, open hands, open hands, open hands

Discography

Shining Bits and Pieces (EP)

Set List

Originals :

Water
Rain
love song
Turning
Shining
Psychology
Fascination
More
to come home to
Weightless
To Be
Trying To Move
Open Hands
After the Storm
Sugar Rush
home
Let Your Baby Breathe

Covers:
All I Want (Joni Mitchell)
Help Me (Joni Mitchell)
Girl, Put Your Records On (Corrine Bailey Rae)
Mystery (Bruce Cockburn)
All Will Be Well (Gabe Dixon Band)
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (Joan Osbourne version)