Close your eyes when Michelle Willis sings and you might feel like you are at the Brill Building in the early ’60s when Carole King ran the show with her prolific pop melodies. Yet this singer-songwriter also has a modern flair that plays along with the spirited jams of Lake Sreet Dive and the hearty roots of Tedeschi Trucks Band. Willis has just announced the release of her highly anticipated new album Just One Voice (out 4/8 on GroundUP Music) and Glide is premiering the vivacious new single “Green Grey” (below).
“Green Grey” features Willis’ fervently emotive singing along with a cross-pollinated soulful musical background that runs the gamut from neo-soul, pop, and ’70s rock. While festival organizers gear up for the summer season, Willis’ colorful and danceable music presentation makes for an ideal later afternoon slot
Michelle Willis has made her voice recognized amongst her peers and mentors through a variety of collaborations as a session keyboardist and vocalist, as well as the critical reception of her debut, See Us Through on the GroundUP Music label. Even more impressive is her persistence as a songwriter. A Toronto native, she moved to New York in 2016 with few prospects, save for a monthly residency at Rockwood Music Hall. Within months she was touring in two bands led by David Crosby, another by pop/jazz composer Becca Stevens, and opening for jazz/funk collective Snarky Puppy across the globe.
Just One Voice was written during the intensity of non-stop travel, penned from the cramped seats of buses, planes, and countless green rooms. One night, out on the open road, Willis played the title track for Crosby, her mentor, and bandmate, who urged: “No one else sounds like this. This is you. You have to make this record.” Soon after Willis was able to land a promising grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to set Just One Voice into motion. The album features contributions from Crosby, Michael McDonald, Gregoire Maret, Taylor Ashton and Becca Stevens. Not too shabby!