US singer, visual artist, and artist.
Born: 1963 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA.
Willis began singing and writing songs in New York with bands "Blue Period" and the "Hello Strangers" in 1984, then sang with a group called "Washington Week In Review" alongside members of The Brand New Heavies in London in 1985.
In 1989, she sang back-ups and lead vocals on The The's 'Mind Bomb' tour. The following year, she joined band Repercussions, releasing "[m=1567486]" (1992) on Mo Wax, collaborating with Curtis Mayfield on "Let's Do It Again" (1984) on Reprise Records, and recording two albums "[m=207069]" (1995) and "[r=4273733]" (1997), as their vocalist and songwriter. She also recorded track "[m=100029]" (2000) with Leftfield from their album... Read More|
... "[m=100010]" (1999).
She relocated (and now lives/works) to Helsinki, Finland, producing and recording with Maurice Fulton and ex-husband Jimi Tenor, releasing the albums "[r=3576]" (2000) and "[m=216922]" (2004) on Sähkö Recordings/Puu.
Between 2003-2015, she recorded three soul/funk studio albums with Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators, "[m=52897]" (2005), "[m=519682]" (2013), and finally "[m=893876]" (2015). She also returned to working with Tenor during this time, releasing two house music albums under the name Cola & Jimmu, "[m=574436]" (2013) and "[m=709195]" (2014), with which she began her label Herakles Records, along with the eponymous album "[m=696719]" (2014) which she produced with Tenor.
Further collaborations followed on Persephone Records (a sublabel of Herakles Records) with artists Jonathan Maron; Jimi Tenor; with UMO Jazz Orchestra on album "[m=1250099]" (2017); and with Banda Palomita on album "[r=13272669]" (2019).
Education wise, Willis graduated from the High School of Art and Design in 1980. She later graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from her studies at Lahti Institute of Fine Arts, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, with professor Markus Heikkerö in Finland, and Erasmus studies at Sir John Cass Department of Art, London Metropolitan University in the UK, in 2008 & completed in 2009. Willis' concentration in her studies were oil painting, time-based media, and performance.
Ex-wife of producer Lassi Lehto (aka Jimi Tenor), between 1999-2016.