“However vast the Darkness, We must supply our own light.” ~ Stanley Kubrick
When I first meet Michael Willett, it was onset for the shoot of our editorial with him in Malibu. At that time, I would have never guessed I would become utterly captured by Michael’s vocals. Michael is one of those rare individuals who possesses the ability to recreate themselves constantly. He is best known for his roles in Showtime series United States of Tara and starring in MTV’s Faking IT. Recently Michael has gone back to his first love music to rediscover his roots and find inspiration. Which is why it was perfect to pair Michael up with one of top photographers in LA, Joe Simpson. Joe, who no stranger to music himself having launched the careers of both his daughters, Ashlee and Jessica Simpson.
This editorial is dedicated to Joe Simpson, whose light never stops shining even in the darkness and whose generous spirit has fostered a whole new generation of talent. We here at Black Chalk are sending all our best wishes to him and his family.
Michael Willett, The New Sound
Justin Howard for Black Chalk – Did you want to become a singer when you were young?
Michael Willett – I’ve always loved music and I started singing at a very early age. It just made me feel good and other people seemed to enjoy it as well.
Justin Howard – What inspired you to get into music?
Michael Willett – Music is like oxygen to me. It always has been. I can’t imagine life without it. I’ve always had a compulsion to write and play music.
Justin Howard – What’s your philosophy about the ART of Music?
Michael Willett – Music is powerful. It touches people on an extremely deep level. And it’s my personal way of communicating the things I can’t say with words alone.
Justin Howard – What do you enjoy most about creating music?
Michael Willett – Almost every aspect of creating music is enjoyable to me. I love having an idea and working on it until it finally comes together. And then seeing people respond to it. It’s all very exciting and miraculous to me. Ultimately, music is a way for me to connect with people.
Justin Howard – As a musician what is the most challenging part of your job?
Michael Willett – I realized I’m a much better artist than I am a businessman. Which can be challenging. So, it’s been important for me to surround myself with people who can help me with the business side of things.
Justin Howard – Can you describe your musical style?
Michael Willett – It’s hard to describe something that changes as often as my mind does. But generally speaking, I like to combine pop music with 60s and 70s rock influences.
Justin Howard – What’s your favorite song? Why?
Michael Willett – I can’t pick just one song. But the only one coming to mind right now is Under Pressure. That song is insanely cool and always picks me up.
Justin Howard – Are you influenced by any musicians or art?
Michael Willett – My parents were products of the 70s and I feel like I inherited a lot of their music tastes. We grew up listening to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel… I think that’s where I got most of my songwriting education.
Justin Howard – How do you intend people to feel when hearing your songs?
Michael Willett – I like to leave it open to interpretation. My music is a way for me to cope with what I’m dealing with, which might cause the listener to be slightly introspective. But in general, I want people to feel good. I want them to know there’s somewhere out there who is going through the same stuff they are.
Justin Howard – What do you wish people would understand about creating music in today’s world?
Michael Willett – Because of technology, it’s easier than ever to create music and let your audience find you. You just have to have a unique perspective and put yourself out there.
Justin Howard – Anything we should keep our eyes open for in the future?
Michael Willett – My “Regeneration” album is currently available online where music is sold. You can follow me on social media @misterwillett and sign up to misterwillett.com for original artwork and music!