Jaik Willis is a nationally touring independent performer based in Chicago. He has shared bills with artists such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Wilco, Bela Fleck, MMW, Del McCoury, NIN, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Leftover Salmon, Justin Townes Earle, Digital Underground, Blueground Undergrass, Garaj Mahal, EOTO,The Schwag, Ekoostik Hookah, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, and performed on stage with acoustic blues dynamo, Corey Harris, and Chicago blues legend Billy Branch as well. He has performed at innumerable festivals and major venues around the US. In the Summer of 2010 he performed at Bonnaroo (Stevie Wonder & Jay-Z headline), Summer Camp Festival (Govt Mule, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Avett Brothers), Cavefest, Funk You Festival, Cosmic Railroad Family Gathering, Wuhnurth Festival, Michigan Peace Fest, Widow’s Peak Music Fest & dozens of others.
Jaik has moved well over 15,000 CDs by hand with no outside assistance. His song “Leaving Vancouver” was featured on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times website accompanying an article and a 2 page photograph in the paper itself. Chicago Tribune ran a feature article in 2009. His song Checks & Balances was featured on Neil Young’s website for over a year.
His 4-octave voice stretches out in vocal solos, scatting and beatboxing; over his high-energy acoustic guitar work on original songs that are accessible and lyrically intriguing. The focus is on keeping the show fun for the audience.
Jaik trained at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Illinois and California State Universities’ music departments, and in Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute as their youngest student when he was 16 years-old. He spent all of his teen-age years practicing 10-16 hours per day. After studying jazz and Euro-classical music, Jaik received an ethno-musicology/ anthropology degree with a thesis on microtonal guitar music from Mauritania. He is always seeking performance opportunities and new avenues forward for his music.
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