Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

As we approach the holidays, where family is the center of most activities, I can’t help but miss my dad more than ever. Of course every day goes by, and I wish he was here-and every year he is gone feels like forever and yesterday all at once. Its a feeling that will never goes away. If you don’t know, My father, Chuck Willett died of Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer in December 2011.

To be honest, becoming an advocate for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network was a hard role to step into. There were so many feelings of frustration wishing my Dad could’ve been able to wear “SURVIVOR” across his chest one day.

But then something changed. As much as this cancer seemed hopeless-with a 9% survival rate and most cases found in terminal Stage 4- I found a pride in who I am and what I could do.

My father gave me the gift of music- a treasured talent which makes him very much alive in me to this day- and I decided to share the message of Hope. With Tova Litvin and Liz Russo (two other women who have been effected by a loved one diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer) we wrote “Hope’s Alive”- and anthem for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. (All proceeds raised from the streaming and sale of the song with go to PanCAN-for patients, research, clinical trial funding, and advocacy.)

Music can be the most comforting friend; be there when you feel like you have nothing else. It can help you understand, and feel like you’re understood. Music can inspire in ways that seem unimaginable.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

I advocate for this organization, because I know change is possible. I have been traveling to PurpleStrides all over the country to share “Hope’s Alive” and one thing that always strikes me the growing number of people wearing “SURVIVOR” shirts at the events. Though my dad didn’t get to wear one, I see him in all of those people. I see that his musical gift to me is helping the outcome of a Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis.

Above all, we must be our own advocate. We must fight for what we believe in.

And I fight for PanCan- I fight for my Dad.


Erin Willett
Farewell to Family Reunion at Father Knows Best

Last week I was invited to perform at an open mic that has shown me so much support over the past year. Family Reunion is a monthly curated open mic that was created by Laney Lynx and Mathilda Heenehan to give an outlet to local and traveling artists. 

I first went to the open mic to check out a friend perform and I immediately fell in love with the format, the people, and the support. Over the past year I have performed a few times, and have never felt such a freedom with my performance. I love losing myself in my music, and always could fall freely there. 

This past week was their last gathering at Father Knows Best and oh boy, was it magical. With the recent passing of the Queen of Soul, I decided that a sing-a-long would remind us of the beauty we create with our collective energy (and we were missing such an important piece of The Erin Willett Trio, Maggie I needed a little help with background vocals.) 

This is for the community of musicians at Family Reunion as well as all the amazing artists that influenced where we are today, especially Aretha. 

Song "Hope's Alive" Gives Back to PanCan



Erin Willett
Date Night

I wanted to share a little bit of my personal life with you. Lately, both Brendan and I have been so busy this summer, we barely have been able to enjoy a night together that doesn't include quickly stuffing our faces before we almost pass out on the couch from exhaustion.

The other night though, we both had free, and I thought we were gonna go to a restaurant. Low and behold, Brendan decided that would be too easy. (and also forgot that I am no help in the kitchen)

I pretended to be a sous chef and not burn anything, and we enjoyed a fun night in...that still ended with us almost passing out on the couch. 

Here is a little documentation of our night. Enjoy our stupidity and goofy conversations ;)

Erin Willett
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Anthem "Hope's Alive"
 "Hope's Alive" choir at ES Audio Recording Studios in Burbank, CA

 "Hope's Alive" choir at ES Audio Recording Studios in Burbank, CA

Last year my dear friend and collaborator, Liz Russo called me with horrible news; her father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. If you have followed my story, you know this experience is something I am familiar with. During my time on The Voice I lost my father, Chuck, to stage 4 pancreatic cancer 4 months after his diagnosis. 

This story is all too common, especially in the case of pancreatic cancer. In most cases the symptoms go unnoticed and during the early stages, when the tumor would be most treatable, there are usually no symptoms. This has led pancreatic cancer to be on track to rise as the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related death in the US by the year 2020. 

Though this information is scary, it serves as a launching pad to raise awareness and advocacy for a disease where early-detection is crucial.

The toll this disease takes on patients not only affects them, it affects their support system and their loved ones. Knowing all of these experiences far too well, Liz and I set out to write a song. With the help of Tova Litvin and Dan Whittmore we ended up with an anthem. An Anthem of Hope. Once the writing and recording process began, we reached out to pancreatic cancer survivors, caregivers, and advocates to join the experience and their voices can be heard on our anthem, "Hope's Alive"

We teamed up with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and will donate 100% of the sales from "Hope's Alive" to support their mission: to fund research, provide patient support, conduct community outreach, and advocate for increased federal research funding for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

"Hope's Alive" will be available everywhere on April 13th.



Erin Willett

Sometimes life is full of distractions and we get off track.

I wanted to release this song over a year ago but life got in the way. The moment I wrote it I knew it was special. The theme of this song spoke to not only me but many people whom I performed it for. Self-doubt is real and it can be found in all of us...even the most confident individuals. 

"Try" is about knowing that failure will happen, but growth can be found there. Its about sticking your neck out and leaning in to every experience even though it is uncomfortable. Every day I procrastinate because I'm scared of the results; that they might not be what I want...but could be what I need.

So I'm sorry for procrastinating on this.

I will be releasing "Try" early next year. Until then, here is it in all it's acoustic glory.

Erin Willett
LIVE AT THE BUSHWICK MANSION: "Same Drugs" Chance The Rapper Cover

One of the cooks at my job turned me on to Chance the Rapper a few years back and when I started listening to "Coloring Book" I felt so inspired. I would listen to the record beginning to end and over again. Chance's story is like many of ours, but he is able to become so vulnerable and honest with his lyrics that you really connect to everything the music is saying. You can begin to see yourself in him. For me, hearing Kirk Franklin on the record brought me back to middle school and pretending I was one of the background singers on "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin". The homage that Chance gives to his community and upbringing, with the ability to harness his power and preach such a positive message is incredible. I smile when I hear his music, because I know he's smiling when he's making it. 

Erin Willett

I know you have waited too long for new music, live music...any music!! I'm so excited to start sharing this multi-part series from a house show I played about a month ago. With a little help from a lot of people I was able to perform in the apartment I have lived in for the past 2 years. I am so grateful for that space of creativity and support, that I felt like once I finally was moving on to a different home I had to give it the correct goodbye. Thank you to everyone who lent and ounce of talent and are precious beings to me and I am forever indebted to you. 

Here is part one of LIVE AT THE BUSHWICK MANSION: Love Being Loved

Erin Willett
Party in my Plants Podcast

Talia Pollock is a real girl sharing her way to navigate the real world. Her message is "taking the HELL out of HEALTHY EATING" She always emphasizes the power of veggies and plant based foods. I love her approach to heathly eating because it allows you to live and enjoy good foods without feeling deprived! She has an incredible website with tools to promote a healthy lifestyle. Please if you have the time to discover her message, go check her out HERE!

Luckily for me, Talia has the same admiration for me and my message. She invited me to sit down with her for an episode of her podcast! We broke down my entire experience on the Biggest Loser as well as how I apply the lessons I've learned to my daily life over a year later.



Erin Willett
One Year Ago Today

Wow. I forgot to say so much in this video because I was just so overwhelmed. Thanks to Facebook for reminding me of such a momentous occasion. Im probably going to forget a lot right now as well since I have to be at work in an hour, but Ill try.

This year has be so tough. Mentally and physically. But almost every day I tried to keep in mind my goal and it has been the most rewarding commitment I have ever made. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (I feel like I type that a lot). I never realized the importance of consistency more than I do now as well as the fulfillment of hard work. I've said it before and I'll say it again, my weight loss was a secondary change to the change I made in my mind. I decided to change my life, and I decided that even when it was hard, it would be more rewarding to follow through on my word to myself. Some days are harder than others. Some days I still feel like poop even after I work out. These are just the ups and downs of life. 

This year was filled with a lot more vegetables than I ever have eaten in my entire life. Also more water than ever imaginable. Running, Spin Classes, Hot Yoga, and the torturous weight lifting. Cherry Blossom 10-milers and Half-Marathons. Girls Night Out (GNO) with long nights of dancing in high heels. Traveling to Planet Fitness' and meeting incredible individuals helping change lives and the ones that are there to change their own. Break-ups and Make-ups. Learning that being a Bartender is an incredibly rewarding job. I am inspired by the people who are inspired by me.

I look forward to another year of self-discovery. The constant balance on implimenting structure in addition to enjoying life with food, friends, and fun. Always striving to be open and vulnerable but know that I am (most of the time) stronger than I think I am.  

I forget to pat myself on the back  a lot of the time...I think we all do. Its looked down upon to be so brave to say, "I AM PROUD OF WHAT I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED"


I just wanted to share a moment with you of vulnerability. There was no plan to do this post, as I just was reflecting the moment I opened my "Memories" on Facebook.

What a year it has been. Take a moment. Let keep it another good year.


Erin Willett
Women's March on Washington

Lets get down to it: This is a really hard post for me to write. 

Politics have never really been "my thing". I never understood a lot of the language and I felt stupid trying to to talk about it. As a young person, I never heard or really saw how policies effected me. I believed in the power of the people. Having the power to treat others the way we want to be treated; to include instead of divide. But over the past year it has become more and more apparent to me that maybe the world (and especially the country I call home) isn’t as loving as I thought it was.

Yes, I grew up in a comfortable middle class family. Yes, I grew up (unbeknownst to me at the time) with white privilege. Yes, I grew up in a very diverse area, which clouded my judgement of what I thought the rest of America looked like. 

If anyone saw the SNL skit “Election Night”…all the white people were me

The president has been elected. Some say it is not their president. Some think he is the right man for the job (61 million to be exact)

I'm going to drop a bomb: I didn’t vote.

(At this point you can think that the rest of this post is just pointless. And part of me agrees with you. I also can use my skills of argument and say, “If I had voted, the state I am registered to vote in would have still turned blue, and Hillary would have still won by the popular vote”)

I have learned that this is my civic duty to not just use my voice when I see injustice, but when it is a responsibility.

During this first week of a new president I have learned one thing, though there is a man in office that doesn’t align with my stances on policies and even morals; I STILL HAVE A VOICE. WE STILL HAVE A VOICE. BUT THEY NEED TO BE HEARD.

“In order to align your life choices with your values, you will need to inquire about the effects of your actions (and inactions) on yourself and others. Although we are always stumbling upon new knowledge that shifts our choices and life direction, bringing conscious inquiry to life means that we continually ask questions that lead us to the information we need to make thoughtful decisions. Asking questions is liberating because we develop great understanding and discover more choices with our new knowledge.”
-Zoe Weil

This is the road that will take more energy. More curiosity. This is where we can learn to listen to others and see where they are coming from. This is an opportunity to not just fight for our own rights but the rights of people that are not heard or seen or respected. 

The Women’s March on Washington was a transformative experience for me. It was the beginning of being involved and educating myself to understand how this affects the world around me. 

There is a lack of listening seated in the White House right now. I think there is lack of empathy in our world. I can fall into this category as well. I want to shut out anyone who has helped this administration become what it is. I want to beat myself because I didn’t vote and I “can’t complain.” But I also want to listen. I want to hear why. We should be having conversations. Maybe this could be one of the reasons why the election results happened the way they did. We easy dismiss what we don’t know and what we don’t understand…as easily as I dismissed politics because I didn’t understand. Learning is the greatest tool we have and learning about each other will give a broader idea of how our choices effect each other. 

I went to the March to finally start using my voice because I’m realizing it IS important. But I also went to the march to listen and hear what people were fighting for: Women’s Rights, Healthcare, Black Lives Matter, Abortion Rights, Clean Water, Immigrants Rights (the list goes on and on): but these are all fights of inclusion and understanding. We need to hear people. We need to use our voices but also try to hear all the voices around us.


When we truly listen, we can begin to empathize. When we empathize, we can learn to think beyond ourselves when we make choices.
Erin Willett
Its Been One Year (...and a month)

So as I have shared before, I am definitely good at procrastinating. I had the idea to post this right around the one year mark of my first day on The Biggest Loser Ranch, and reflect on the past year…but I'm about a month late…so bare with me.

I still wanted to share this post mostly to articulate how much I am continuing to grow and learn throughout this journey of weight-loss and self discovery. This past year has been difficult yet fulfilling and though its been tough, the work I have put into myself and sharing my story has been the most empowering thing I have ever done.

Its been hard to stay focused sometimes, and I have beat myself up about many things…but I also am learning to do that a little less and take care of myself mentally and emotionally just as much as I have learned to take care of my body physically.

This has not just been about “being skinny” this has been an awakening of pushing myself to be better, hold myself accountable, and live life more fearlessly than I ever have before.

Erin Willett
A Conversation with Different Hunger: Part 2

In May I had a (very long) conversation with my friend Matt Kohn, creator of Different Hunger, about my weight-loss journey on and after The Biggest Loser. We spoke about many topics which will become a series I will be posting to my blog.

During Part 2 we discuss the power of Mindset to create successful change in one's life.

This topic is very significant to me lately because I have needed to remind myself how powerful my mindset is to my success.  I have returned back to somewhat of a comfort zone, within my weight loss as well as my career. Re-watching this conversation, it shows me that to create more fulfillment in my life, reaching beyond my comfort zone can continue to create massive changes within me and propel me into a place that I never thought I could be. We are in charge of standing still as well as the ones who choose to move forward, and I want to see what's just beyond my reach, don't you?

Erin Willett was on The Biggest Loser and lost an incredible 87 pounds. Since her radical transformation, countless people have approached her asking her what her 'secret' is, or 'how she did it'...

Check out Matt's Blog DIFFERENT HUNGER where you can find endless tools and information on how to become a successful 20-something.

Erin Willett
My Hair?

I wanted to finally make a post of how I do my hair. You ask and you shall receive...

I have had a long struggle with a lot of things about my physical appearance growing up, one of them being my hair. I naturally have very thick, curly hair. It frustrated me when I was younger because I didn't understand how to tame it, or style it, or what exactly to do. Over my college years I began to finally embrace my curly locks and even epitomized them on my t-shirt (SOLD HERE) After much time rocking that style I wanted to experiment and try new things: welcome to the world of lots of heat and chemicals!! Lets say I was not so nice to my hair and very impatient (and cheap) when it came to dying and frying. I cut my own hair, I colored my own hair...even risking it falling out, but through it all I have found how fun it is to experiment.

So coming from the girl who used to cry to her mom about her curly hair that she didn't understand, when I started to get messages about my hair and beauty routine, lets just say I was a bit excited!! Though this is a very simple look that I have been doing for a while, its my go-to. This style adds a little wave and texture which makes it great because IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! ;)  See, life lessons can also happen when we are talking about hair.

Treat your hair kind and invest well! Experiment and try new things!


A Conversation with Different Hunger

Fueled by his own doubts about how to become a successful 20-something, my friend Matt Kohn, began looking into the habits and actions taken by top performers. Unfulfilled by his own 9-5 job he decided to implement some of these to his life by packing up his apartment and moving to Medellin, Colombia. There he began following his passion to discover the differences between the dreamers and the "do-ers"

I was honored when he asked me to have a conversation about how I became so successful with my weight loss on The Biggest Loser and how that has changed my mindset for other aspects of my life as well. Below is the beginning of many videos exploring my journey and what I have learned.

Check out Matt's Blog DIFFERENT HUNGER where you can find endless tools and information on how to become a successful 20-something.

Erin Willett
The Biggest Loser Recap featuring Mama Willett

This past week I somehow survived a week in a shared hotel room with my mother…as well as an insanely educational experience at The Biggest Loser Resort: Amelia Islands. Im so happy I got to experience this will my Mom. She is such an important pillar of strength for me, and challenging each other this week was an awesome opportunity to bond and learn more about one another.

Though we chat a little bit about our experience above, I wanted to share with you how much it changed my perspective on food, fitness, and my overall outlook on myself and my weight. As you may know, I have struggled with my relationship with food from a very young age; emotional eating, uneducated eating, and even disordered eating. Although I have always been a somewhat active person, I had a warped perception on how to control my weight, since there was so much emphasis in the media about exercise and weight loss. Yes, activity is an incredible way to condition your heart and great aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but food is most important..and the food part was what I was getting all wrong.

Losing 87 lbs was the first time in my life I successfully achieved a weight loss goal through diet and exercise…but then I had to maintain, a skill I had not yet acquired…something I wasn't sure I could be successful at. But luckily enough I was able to be put in a position where I could educate myself on how to keep the results I had worked so hard for.  Here are a few little nuggets of information I took from the experience that you can apply to not only weight loss/weight management but TO YOUR LIFE:
(I am not a registered nutritionist and this is not professional advice. If you are seriously considering changing your lifestyle, please consult a medical professional)

In food and in exercise, quality is everything. Food wise, I will take more time to look into what I am putting in my body, whether that be reading ingredients more often or listening to what my body needs and feeding it properly. I want my body to work at its highest ability and it can only do that if I give it the right fuel! In this same vein, workouts don't necessarily need to be long and torturous. Though I love a good long run, I can get the most of of my work outs by including weight training and implementing more rest days! At the end of the day, I think it is important to be educated about your choices…just like you do your research to buy a car (or any other significant purchase), know what you are putting inside your body.

I don’t care who you are or what you are doing, you need water! You may not care about your weight and all of these words are crap to you…but guess what? YOU STILL NEED WATER! Hydration is important for all aspects of your body’s function. I know sugary drinks (or artificial sweetened drinks…yes I’m talking to the Diet Soda crowd) are so yummy and awesome, but they can wreck not only your weight management but your bodily functions. Water is important…period.

Whether you are just starting something new or you are at a fork in the road, be proud of what you are doing and the choices you are making. We commonly get caught up in all the things we could be doing “if we only got to [fill in the blank]…” Looking towards future goals is awesome, but getting so blinded by the stress of what you have to do to get there, can ruin the journey. We all have insecurities about our bodies, our jobs, …um EVERYTHING….but if we want to change something we have to have the courage to implement changes and be proud of the fact that we are starting.

Other than these little tidbits, my mother and I got to share a deeply emotional and vulnerable experience with some incredible people. We laughed, we cried, we got really sore together. The group of men and women we met this week are some warriors: they are teachers, students, cancer survivors, Mothers & Fathers, joke-tellers, goof-balls, Costco addicts but above all, they are people taking time for themselves to change for the positive. Working on something they want to change. There also was a great group of passionate educators who gave us the space to grow, while pushing us enough out of our comfort zone to flourish.

To be honest, I really didn't know what to expect when I went to the the Biggest Loser Resort, but it made me better. While there I kept flashing back to when I was younger and at the doctors office, I was always outside the growth percentile chart. I remember every time I would go to a check up, all I wanted was to be normal and inside the lines. The information I learned about my body and where I am on my journey, made me realize, that even though now I “fit in lines” I always am gonna strive to be something more. I am always going to create more goals, and thats gonna keep me evolving. The Biggest Loser Resort put me back on a positive track. It was incredible, and it reminded me: I can be incredible too.

Opening Up

As I continue this journey of chronicling my life, I can't help but realize how I need to be a lot more open. As I began changing my life both physically and mentally I committed to the idea of being vulnerable. Though being vulnerable and exposed is hard at times I learn the most during these times.

As I assimilated back into the "real world" after my BL experience, I've started to lose the drive that was so passionate right after the finale. I struggle with the idea of having "figured out" my weight loss (and myself), because lets face it, I continue to struggle every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

One of those days was yesterday.

Over the course of the day I was just feeling very off and tired to get in a positive mindset. I worked, rode my bicycle through the beautiful city I live in, saw music on the streets of NYC, and hung with friends I hadn't seen in while. It was an incredible day. But as I've learned about myself, even beautiful days like these can be tormented by my brain's inability to turn off my worries: Where is my life going? How am I going to keep this weight off without overly obsessing about it? Do I love myself as much as I should? I struggle EVERY SINGLE DAY. I hope as I work towards committing to this blog, it helps me learn to deal and organize the more important worries from the things I can't change.

My life is moving in the direction I choose to move in. Every step matters. Even the steps I don't want to take.

Obsessing about my weight is a hard concept for me, but if I try to interweave healthy habits into my life, this can be not as difficult as I make it in my head.

Loving myself. Loving only as deep as we want it to be. We must allow ourselves to opening up to the concept that we are worthy of our own love. And that can fulfill us in such a bigger way than anyone else.

But other than these things, I struggled with someone I have hurt in this process of change. Their sadness and anger towards my actions has made me feel helpless. With all of this overwhelming me, I felt out of emotion I hate to feel. Last night while I was out with my friends, trying to deal with all these feelings, I purged.

My eating disorder is still there. Though I struggle with the ideas in my head more often, and less of the actual act, having purged for the first time in a long time I feel ashamed and defeated. I woke up this morning and had breakfast with a best friend and opened up to her about the incident last night. Not hiding, facing it. Although I felt very disgusted with my actions towards my own body, I realized my shame is only what I make of it. Being open about this struggle will help me, and hopefully help others. I need to ask for help and lean on my trusted circle. I am grateful for these friends and family who are always there to support and love me, and help me find out how to love myself as well. But I can also be bare and exposed to those who have been inspired by me too. 

I am not perfect. That is the beauty of this life. This creates an opportunity. My perspective to see that this does not make me a step behind, but a chance to initiate change. There is always something I can work on. I have to make me a priority and work on this. I hope my life is filled with love and joy from others towards me, but also these feelings towards myself and actions to support this belief.

I am looking to seek help and change this behavior. I am okay. I will be okay. But I have to be the priority right now. Me is important. You are important. 

I never thought this would be part of my life. I never thought I would fall to the pressure. I was too proud. But that pride also made me hide. It make me show only the good things, not the demons. Please learn with me how to face the pride and open up about your struggles.

I never opened up, cause no one else did. It made me feel alone. Maybe it makes you feel alone. Please don't feel alone. or if you feel alone, be there with me. Im finding my way everyday. Im finding my way even when I've changed my life and I'm in a better place. I can still get caught up. I can still fall off track. But this is my time to realize quickly when I've gotten off track, be honest about it, and get back on the path I want to be. Once again, it is up to me to recommit...EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder you can find help and support through RECOVERY WARRIORS

Talking About It

I wanted to do this every week, and for an entire month I have been MIA.

I think I kept putting off this post because I was embarrassed that I didn't get this right the first time. I told myself I would do this once a week. I wanted to be successful at it, but as I am learning, we are only successful at the things we constantly are working at. This "work" I speak of includes the frequent failure, the difficult re commitment, the constant doubt, and the occasional successes.

I am someone that likes to get things right the first time (anyone with me?!) but having that expectation, I lose perspective and let myself down a lot because getting things right the first time RARELY HAPPENS!!!

When we are babies we don’t just pop out ready to run; we have to roll, and crawl, and try to walk..and then fall, and then try again…and when we finally have the fundamentals, we apply them. Now as adults, we don’t even think about it, we just get up and walk. We forget about the struggle because we are so far removed from it.

But this manifests in other ways.

 Like my blog. I’m not good at blogging.

 I don’t think I am a good writer sometimes, but I want to share what I’ve learned as best I can. I want to share what I’m learning as best I can. My goal is honesty. Honesty with myself and not excuses. (There is a fine line) Honestly, this is something that I didn’t get right the first time (expected) and I must work at it.

Giving myself these moments of full honesty propels me in a direction of change. I want to be better. The work will be hard, but I know it will be worth it. If I can apply the fundamentals, then maybe one day i will just do and not have to actively think about it.

One step at a time.

Every moment creates an opportunity to begin.



Erin Willett