- Tracy Heck
Whitton returns with new music
Acoustic/pop singer/songwriter, Whitton, is gearing up for the September 19th release of her emotional four-song EP, Backwards, which features current single "Cars Mars."
An ode to simpler times with a large cinematic feel, the track is a perfect showcase for Whitton's soft voice and is a compelling look at the human condition and what's truly important.
The EP was produced by Alexander Burke (Save Ferris, Ben Lee) and Chris Mullings (The Neighborhood, Weird Al.) It also features collaborations with Tony Bonsera (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,) Gary Lux (Universal Records,) Robert "Sput" Searlight (Snoop Dogg, Ghost Note) and Jens Gad (Enigma.)
Q: Well, it's been awhile since I've talked to you!
Whitton: Yeah, 2012! I took a little bit of a break, but I'm back at it now, which is cool. And it's good timing with the single I've released, ironically.
Q: With everything going on, did you have a hard time at all getting the track and EP together?
Whitton: Well, I've had these four songs under my belt for probably four or five years. The reason I hadn't released them before was because they were in line for a film release and unfortunately, one of the films that I was really hoping for didn't get the right funding. Eventually it will land somewhere and the songs will be in that film, but as of right now after waiting so long, I wanted to get them out.
2020 has been such a devastating year for everyone. I really felt that these songs particularly spoke to that and felt that it was the right time, especially with "Cars Mars." I'm in the restaurant industry and I see a lot of the waste and all of the pollution that is happening and that song is a eco-friendly type of song and it's just about being reconnected to what's important in our lives. We need to stop and smell the roses and reflect on our own lives and what we want and what we don't want.
If we look at it in a positive light for this year, and unfortunately not everybody can look at it this way because of so much devastation, but if you can find the positive side of things, it might be a blessing in disguise for us personally on this planet.
The EP has four songs on it and is called Backwards and I felt that "Cars Mars" in particular played a huge role in this year because of all the devastation from death, divorces, politics, racial division and all those things.
When those things happened, it was hard to move forward and not slide backwards further. I hope that the song and EP will lend a hand and comfort to people experiencing all of those things and heartbreak in general. Hopefully it will relate with people on that level.
Q: Music is one of those rare things that can connect everyone and hopefully as we move into next year, we'll see more inspirational music making it's way out.
Whitton: Yeah, it's definitely a raw, creative time for a lot of people and I'm sure we're going to see some amazing music next year. This was also the right time for me to release these songs as well, because I haven't been in the scene for quite some time. I really just focused on film and tv ad placements because of my two other businesses.
I have one of the most popular bars in downtown L.A. and now I have a new tequila called,El Savito, so it's been a busy year. We won two double gold medals, which was a huge surprise. Having to be here, I haven't been much of a touring musician, but now no one is touring! Next year will be a different story, I'm sure. So, just currently was a great time for me to release this music.
Q: As you shared, you've got a lot going on outside of the music world, but what is it that keeps drawing you back in?
Whitton: Well, you know what's crazy is that about six years ago I had to come to terms with the idea that I'm going to be okay if I don't become famous. Being creative with the food menu concept and falling in love with, well, not the food industry because there is a lot of corruption in the industry, but with the whole process.
I took care of my grandfather for nine years as his personal caretaker and cook. I turned his backyard into a non-GMO organic garden and started making his food from scratch. Miraculously, he started to feel better and I began to really see the magic of whole foo and the love that is in food.
The universe puts us in places that are so unexpected and I think you do things out of love. Six years ago, I never asked the universe to make money on opening a bar or having my own tequila, but it just kind of forced me in that direction because of my experience with my grandfather and the deep love that I have for him. So, I kind of had to say goodbye to the thought of being a full-time musician and I opened the bar/restaurant called Prank with my family and its history from there. And my family has had a lot of years of experience in that field.
So yeah, that's the road I've taken for the last few years and I'm so grateful for that, but music is so interesting. The universe sometimes just slaps you back and I just can't get it out my life! It put me back in the forefront of music now and it's finally the right timing for me. My two businesses are up and at 'em and that gives me room to focus on my music.
Q: What is currently your favorite thing to cook?
Whitton: Oh goodness! So apparently I have a new tomato business because I love food and cocktails and I love to have garnishes and presentation. So, making really beautiful garnishes is something a Iove. I'm always dehydrating a lot of fruits and veggies and one thing that I really enjoy and has been a huge hit, but is very time-consuming, are my sun-dried tomatoes. There's a little ghost pepper on there and spicing and it's like putting a slice of pizza in your mouth. They're amazing so that's apparently my next endeavor because everyone wants to order them from me and I'm like, I'm doing music now!
Q: And looking ahead to next year, what comes next?
Whitton: Well, you have to know where your music fits and my music is super emotional and there is a bit of a cinematic feel to it, which goes amazing in film, tv and commercial ad placement. I still want to direct my music in that direction.
As far as touring, if I had the right backing and and they came along and said, hey, I want to put you on every stage on a national tour opening for, blah, blah, blah, I would 100% take that opportunity, but I spent years touring the U.S. and playing 3 to 4 shows a day and that hustle for a independent artist is a hard life! If you don't have the right backing or support with attention spans today, it's really rough. With how short attention spans are, you can go play a great show in a city, but if you don't come back within six months, you may be forgotten. It's just been a better road for me to focus on placements and I just love the whole visual aspect of sound.
Q: We have talked in the past about how raw and honest your music is. Does that level of emotion continue to come relatively easy to you?
Whitton: Yeah, I think so. It's really interesting that when I play my own music on guitar, it really sets me in the mood. You have to have a mood and setup that helps you get into that space. Music is very emotional and it can affect you on a super deep level and I consider myself one of those artists where you have to be in the right mood for and when you are, you are super affected by it in a good way.
Q: And will there be any more videos for the other tracks?
Whitton: Yeah! I just finished "Backwards," which will come out when the EP is ready on September 19. I worked with four amazing Leica camera artists and the director,
Jason Eric Laciste. I was just so blessed to get to work with this whole team, they're just amazing! Dennys Ilic was the director of photography and I couldn't have asked for a better crew.
Then I'm doing another music video for one of my favorite love songs, which is the track "One More Kiss Dear" from the original Bladerunner and I did a duet with Edward James Olmos, who is a friend of mine. That's going to be super fun to have out in the world because it is a favorite song of mine and it is a classic. It is the only lyrical song in the whole movie as well. It was fun to put my own spin on it.
Q: And you have another collaboration coming that's going to be in a Jason Mamoa film?
Whitton: Yeah, that's really great. I'm actually working with the same producer who did "One More Kiss Dear," Alexander Burke. It's a collaboration for a Jason Mamoa passion project, but there's no exact release date yet.
Q: And for those interested, can your tequila be ordered?
Whitton: Yeah, so we just landed the core brand of Whole Foods so, we're in five states, which is California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Illinois. We just won the second gold medal in the San Francisco Spirits Competition and that's really special because it's one of the only blind tastings. As a Blanco, it's really hard to win these competitions, but we really just have about six bullet points that really separates us from all tequilas, which is really hard to do because there are so many out there.
This year we were supposed to be in stores on April 1, but because of the pandemic it was delayed. But yeah, Whole Foods will be in September and we're in Total Wines and then you can order online on Wine.com.
Q: And anything else you want to add?
Whitton: Just one more thing: the only song that hasn't gotten a lot of recognition is "Neverland" and I wrote that with Jens Gad from the band Enigma. If you're familiar with them, they make incredible world music and "Neverland" is one of my favorite songs and we hope to do a music video for that as well.