Micelle Willis "See Us Through"
November 13, 2016
Prior to launching a solo career, British-born, Canadian-raised singer/songwriter Michelle Willis amassed an impressive résumé through a variety of collaborations and work as a session keyboardist and background singer. After graduating from Toronto's Humber College jazz program, Willis became active in the city's music scene, eventually expanding beyond its limits to work with a variety of different acts like David Crosby, Zac Brown Band, and Parachute Club, among others.
She came from a family of "let's sing that James Taylor song again" kind of people at holidays. Her music is inspired by years spent lifting Carole King and Ray Charles records, singing in choirs and finding a home in the songwriting and artistry of musicians like Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, and Donny Hathaway.
A 2009 collaboration with acclaimed Toronto alt roots band The Henrys led Willis to form a new group with Henrys' slide guitarist Don Rooke and veteran violinist Hugh Marsh. Thus began Three Metre Day. The trio recorded the 2012 album Coasting Notes, and scored the 2013 independent film Still Mine, the latter of which earned them a best original score nomination from the Canadian Screen Awards.
During one of their tours, Willis and the band befriended an unlikely ally in Iggy & The Stoogesguitarist James Williamson, who eventually brought them out for some shows and enlisted them to play on Pop's 2013 album, Ready to Die.
By 2015, Willis was busy balancing her schedule opening for Brooklyn-based instrumental fusion band Snarky Puppy, backing up indie folk artist Peter Katz, all while wrapping up sessions for her first release as a solo artist.
Her debut solo record, See Us Through, was released on GroundUP Music, a label started by friend and Grammy Award-winning founder of Snarky Puppy, Michael League. She has since toured her album across Europe, Scandinavia, USA, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.