When the lyrics and melodies of Will Michiels reach your ears, they go straight into the blood. His music is caressing the soul: sensitive, yet so powerful that it carries you away into the remarkable world of the Belgian musician. Known as TheColorGrey, Will has long been established outside of Antwerp and is no longer an underdog. The single “Out Of My Hands”, from his 2020 album “OVERCOME”, has nearly 3 million streams on Spotify.
The artist name TheColorGrey is not a coincidence. Will Michiels could be described as a man of subtle shades on more than just one level. As the son of a Congolese mother and a European father, his background combines two worlds and various influences since early childhood. His mother’s African music met his father’s faves, reaching from Prince to Bob Marley. And while the granny played classical piano, the brother preferred to play loud Hip-Hop and RnB tunes in his room. The personal history of Will is also reflected in his music which doesn’t follow conventions. Several genres, from Hip-Hop to Pop Rap and Blue Jazz, merge into an orchestra that makes his tunes and live performances a unique experience.
“Nobody’s perfect. People are not black or white, people are grey.”
This musician frees himself from all theoretical restrictions and mixes seemingly difficult transitions in a virtuous way. This creative liberation is one of the principles that he wants to convey with his music. Also, the story behind the rapper’s name reflects this precisely. TheColorGrey is based on a book that stuck with his teenage self. Its message: One should not be disappointed because people are not perfect. They should not be seen as black or white, but as shades of grey.
“I think first and foremost, music has always been like a tool for people to forget about their everyday life, their everyday struggle, their problems.”
For Will, music combines two aspects of liberation. First, it is a tool to forget your everyday worries, but also the chance to find representation and make single voices be heard. Music offers him a stage on which he can be himself, where he doesn’t have to care about others’ opinions. After all, the mere fact that someone like Will, who grew up in modest circumstances, can now make a living off of the creative outpourings of his heart and brain is not only priceless but a personal liberation. And perhaps it is precisely these numerous shades of freedom that appear like a rainbow to give his serious music the lightheartedness it needs. Just like that, it does justice to both musings and dreams.