Jaik Willis has hundreds of hours worth of cover material stretching all genres from Duke Ellington to Metallica to Alicia Keys to Neil Young, and Everything in between. He studied classically at CSU & ISU, studied Jazz at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and rock at Musician's Institute in Hollywood. He is enormously versatile.
Jaik is a nationally touring independent performer based in Chicago. He has shared bills with artists such as Willie Nelson, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Ani Difranco, Wilco, Bela Fleck, MMW, Del McCoury, NIN, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Drovers, Leftover Salmon, Merl Saunders, Justin Townes Earle, Drop Q (Kris Meyers of Umphrey's McGee, Kalyan Pathak of Fareed Haque Group), Digital Underground, Blueground Undergrass, Garaj Mahal, EOTO (members of String Cheese Incident), The Schwag, Ekoostik Hookah, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, Devon Allman & Honeytribe, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and Victor Wooten; and performed on stage with acoustic blues dynamo, Corey Harris, and Chicago blues legend Billy Branch as well. He has toured through IL, MI, WI, MO, IN, TN, NJ, NY, CT, GA, OH, MN, AZ, TX, IA, NE, CO, SD, ND, WY, UT, MT, CA, OR, WA, and BC. He maintains a long mailing list from these regions and schedules over 100 shows a year. He has performed at many festivals around the country and major venues from coast to coast including the House of Blues Chicago main-stage, the Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Colorado, Camp Zoe in Missouri, Summer Camp in Illinois and Horning's Hideout Amphitheatre in Oregon. In 2009 he performed at dozens of festivals including prime-time main stage slots at Cavefest and Chicago's Metronome Celebration street festival, along with 8(!) appearances at the Summer Camp Festival on a bill with Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Umphreys McGee, Moe, Les Claypool, Keller Williams, John Scofield, Cornmeal, etc. The 2009 Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest had him play following multi-grammy winner Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. At the 2009 Bonnaroo festival (featuring Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Al Green, etc) he was gave an hour long 10pm friday set in the gap between the Beastie Boys & Phish. Over 95,000 tickets were sold. For Summer 2010 he has been confirmed for Bonnaroo (Stevie Wonder & Jay-Z headline), Summer Camp Festival (Govt Mule, Umphrey's Mcgee, Avett Brothers), Hoodilidoo, Cavefest, Funk You Festival, DuckFest, Cosmic Railroad Family Gathering, Wuhnurth Festival, Michigan Peace Fest, America Folk Yeh, Widow's Peak Music Fest & more TBA
has moved well over 15,000 CDs by hand with no outside assistance, one by one, hand to fan. 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. A new album is in the works for 2010.
Jaiks 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 is an educated musician, having 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.