Faculty Spotlight: Jontavious Willis, Artistic Director of Acoustic Blues

Blues musician and multi-instrumentalist, Jontavious Willis, joined Centrum as the Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop back in 2020.  Mr. Willis grew up singing Gospel music at a Baptist church with his grandfather. Since an early age, he demonstrated a talent and passion for the music and the ability to sharpen his skills rapidly.  At the age of 14, he came across a video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and was immediately hooked on the blues. The 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2020 for his album, Spectacular Class. Through original lyrics written by Willis himself, the gifted musician delivers a timeless album that features dynamic vocals and all types of blues: Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and Gospel. His stand-out fingerpicking, flat-picking, and slide prowess are also on display.

“Jontavious Willis, that’s my wonderboy, the wunderkind,” says international Blues recording artist, Taj Majal. “He’s a great new voice of the 21st Century in acoustic blues. I just love the way he plays. He has just delightful timing and a real voice for the music because he was raised in the tradition and the culture. It’s just wonderful to hear him sing.”

“It’s an honor to assume the position as artistic director for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop. I love the potential Centrum is prepared to harness. My blues connections, deep interest on the genre and the current social climate make the timing great for me to take on this coveted role. I want to continue to help people explore their creative minds while submerging themselves in the blues. It’s going to be a great year.” – Jontavious Willis

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