BlogHer Exclusive: Brooke White on the Release of Jack and White's "Winter"
Relatable is kind of a buzz word these days, isn't it? And yet, when considering American Idol alum Brooke White, it's the word that comes screaming to mind... She's as down to earth as she is earthy, and she's as brazenly in love with social media as the rest of us. She's also about to be a Mama for the first time.
This week marks the release of Winter -- the sophmore EP from California duo Jack and White (made up of Brooke and musical partner Jack Mantranga) -- and this morning Brooke was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of my questions on all things Black, White, and beyond.
Morgan Shanahan: How did Jack and White come to be? How was collaborating on Winter different from Gemini?
Brooke White: Well the long story short-ish is, my manager Brad and Jack happen to go way back to their little league days, they have been pretty tight ever since. Jack had just made the big move to Los Angeles from his hometown of Sacramento to make a go of music on his own after touring the country with his former band. I happened to be working on my second solo record, Brad thought it'd be cool to connect the two of us to co-write a song at the end of last February. Musically we clicked like a seatbelt, we wrote a song called Feathers for my record, and that song turned into writing several songs for Gemini, our first EP as a duo.
Collaborating on Winter was as natural as Gemini, but even more seasoned as a collaboration,since we had been playing live shows and had recorded our first EP. However there were some differences. I had moved to Ventura County from Van Nuys, and he lives in Silver lake, so we would meet in the middle at Balboa Park in The Valley, where we wrote this record, the park definitely made for an interesting creative atmosphere! We also recorded and produced this EP almost entirely on our own in my new house, the wood floors and angled ceilings made for gorgeous natural reverb and tones, it was a tedious and yet rewarding process for us. Plus, you can't beat getting to show up to work in your pajamas.
MS: You really can't. You've always had the distinct sound of an artist who knew who she was. Did the American Idol experience helped shape your current vibe?
BW: Thank you! I owe any sense of musical identity to my parents who exposed me to classic and legendary music of the 60's and 70's, though I love just about all music from every decade and style, those timeless artists like Carole King, Beatles, Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon, Carpenters, James Taylor (the list goes on!) gave me a real foundation to build upon as an artist. And definitely Idol allowed me to explore those influences on a national stage and I was so pleased that America really connected with that! Who hasn't been inspired by these greats, they provided the soundtrack of our lives! The music of that time was all about the craftsmanship of the song, they were mainstream and successful while still maintaining the essence of truth, artistry and emotion! This is what I strive for as a singer-songwriter!
MS: Who (or what) inspired you on this project?
BW: I would like to think this EP has matured a bit since our first release, exploring the challenges and inevitable pains of growing up, and how we cope with it is something we really talked about in our song "XYZ". We also were really inspired by the time of year, the winter'y vibe brought somewhat a more mellow or introspective vibe to these as opposed to Gemini which was rather summery! Then you have Night after Night, which turned out to be somewhat of a modern take on a very Everly Brothers inspired tune. But, all in all we are both greatly inspired by the realities of life, and those people that surround us are the characters that create our stories, that is what inspired Winter.
MS: Okay so you're expecting your first child -- have you written any lullabies yet?
BW: That has become a popular question since my growing belly revealed the exciting secret I've been keeping! I guess I should jump on the lullaby wagon, cause no I have yet to write one or any children's music. I've considered the idea before of creating something that both lil' ones like and parents can get in to.
I love what Jack Johnson did with the Curious George soundtrack, it definitely has a "crossover" quality... fun for both kiddos and their mamas! This lil' girl in my tummy already loves and responds to music, I've been on the road through out my pregnancy, she was kicking up a storm during band practice yesterday, she's a rock n' roll baby!
MS: Jack and White isn't your only collaboration - You also charm alongside Summer Bellessa in the Girls With Glasses Show. What draws you to working with a partner?
BW: In the last few years I've come to truly embrace the idea that two heads are better then one. I was a solo artist for years, collaborating here and there, but it became harder and harder for me to feel motivated and inspired. Finding both Jack and Summer was a huge blessing to my creative endeavors. Starting the Girls with Glasses Show with Summer has been one of the funnest and most enjoyable projects I've been a part of!
The beauty of a collaboration is that, if you find the right collaborator -- and that is crucial -- their strengths really balance and support your weak spots, as well as hold you accountable and help you expand your vision and bring new ideas to the table! Last year I was feeling musically lost, and when Jack and I started writing, his energy seemed to be exactly what I needed to tap into a source of natural inspiration that I just couldn't discover on my own! I'm just better, smarter, happier and more creative as a collaborator! And both projects support each other, Summer directed our music video for Double Trouble, and Jack has helped the GWG record music! Collaboration is a beautiful thing...
MS: Anything else we need to know to support Jack and White?
BW: Thanks for the interview! Just wanted to mention that this week the EP is available on iTunes for just $2.99 woohoo!
HOTEL CAFE/Los Angeles- EP Release Show! January 27th 8:30
SAINT ROCKE/Hermosa Beach, CA/Opening for Tyrone Wells- January 29th 6:30
HARLOWS/Sacramento,CA- February 11th 10:00
You can find Brooke and all of her creative projects below:
Plus you can follow her on instagram and pinterest under the name RealBrookeWhite!