An Interview With The R&B/Soul-Pop Singer-Songwriter, WHITNEY MCCLAIN On Her Latest Music and More!
Posted On 19 Dec 2017
R&B/Soul-Pop singer and songwriter Whitney McClain is giving the gift of song this holiday season, as she recently released her newly penned holiday single, “Santa Don’t Cry This Christmas,” on December 8. The song is available to stream and as a free download through SoundCloud by clicking here.
The track, a simple holiday jingle, celebrates Christmas in her own way, through her Christian faith. The song was co-written and produced by Ralph Stacy, whom she also worked with on her recent single, “Cruise.”
About “Santa Don’t Cry This Christmas,” she commented, “I actually came up with the song out of the blue in my closet. I really like this song because it’s different from a regular Christmas song. ‘Santa Don’t Cry This Christmas’ has a unique message. It’s a record about me coming to Jesus, and asking Santa not to be sad that I’m celebrating The Lord on Christmas instead of him. I feel like this song could also translate into more of a love song, too, for other people, even if they aren’t believers.”
With its universal message and undeniable spirit, it’s a natural evolution for the 23-year-old Salem, Oregon, native, whose 2015 debut single, “Bombs Away,” racked up over 1 million views on YouTube. Hot on its heels, she returned with the 2016 EP Nothing to Lose, which spawned three singles that each joined the million views club. Meanwhile, she garnered a nomination from the Independent Music Awards for “Urban EP of the Year.”
Now based in Los Angeles, Whitney released her single “Cruise,” co-written with Marlon McClain II, Davi Jordan and Ralph Stacy, last month. The track will be featured on her forthcoming sophomore EP, due out in 2018 via Gold Dust LLC. In just over four weeks since its release, the single has already been spun on multiple radio stations including WCLK-FM (Atlanta, GA), WTCC-FM (Springfield, MA), KAZI-FM (Austin, TX), WHCR-FM (New York, NY), Starpoint Radio (UK), WPFW-FM (Washington, D.C.), and featured on multiple Spotify playlists. The video has received over 1.3M views since its release.
Connect With Whitney McClain Here:
Learn more about Whitney McClain in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? What is a song you are loving these days?
Thanks for having me! Right now, I’m just sitting couch in my living room. It’s a relaxing day. One where you get laundry done and other errands. Haha. The soundtrack to my day playing is the background is the music of the washing machine right now. Everyone has harder days sometimes. I’m no different. But Gospel and Funk music tend to get me right out of a bad vibe and sets my day off right no matter what is going on! One song that i’m really loving right now is Sam Smith’s “Too Good At Goodbyes”.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time where you thought of doing something completely different?
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be singer. A superstar, you know. I was obsessed with competition shows like American Idol. Also, I loved Karaoke. I can remember putting on shows at my Grandma’s house in the living room!
At one point, I did think of doing something other than music. In middle school, I don’t know if they still do, but they used to give these “career tests” to find out what you should do with your life. After one of those, I didn’t see they had “superstar” as an option, so I thought being a lawyer might be cool! I went to school for Fashion Merchandising at University of Texas for a time, too. I could say fashion is my second love.
Overall, how do you think 2017 has been for you and music career? What are you most excited about for in 2018? Do you think you will make any New Year’s Resolutions?
I’m the worst at keeping them resolutions, so maybe i’ll make one – but maybe not. I usually don’t make resolutions. But I feel good about 2017. This year has been a year of growth for me in my songwriting and my artistry.
In this upcoming year I just look forward to the blessings that are coming.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown and current home has affected you and your music today?
I’m from Salem, Oregon. I love my hometown. It’s not terribly small, but at the same time it wasn’t the most exciting place to grow up. I don’t think my setting influenced my music music. It was more so the people in my life growing up that influenced my music and some of the things I write about. My current home in Los Angeles has affect my music, though. LA is interesting. I’ve had to face my insecurities and work to try to overcome them. Also, there are a lot of talented people who work hard out here, so I’ve worked to step my game up and get better everyday.
Let’s talk about your latest releases! First up is your single “Cruise.” Where did the inspiration for this track come from? How do you think this song prepares listeners for your forthcoming sophomore EP?
“Cruise” started in a very spontaneous way. I had the instrumental for quite some time. My Producer Ralph B. Stacy gave me the beat a while before we wrote to the song. It was just sitting in my email. During a writing session, I played it in the room with my co-writers, Marlon McClain II and Davi Jordan. First, Davi came up with the initial idea for the song, the first few lines.
“Yes, we go through it, but we can choose to do it differently.Even hate can choose to love, don’t gotta be what it was. We can change up instantly”
He wanted to start up the verse with a message for positivity and hope. The song organically evolved from there until the whole thing was written. With my new music, I’ve grown. I have been trying to tackle more subjects with my writing. I don’t know if “Cruise” prepares listeners for my upcoming releases with its subject matter. It kind of stands on its own, but that’s necessary for “Cruise” to have the impact we intended. The groove gives it probably the most chill vibe of all of the songs I have.
Why did you decide to put out an original Christmas song, “Santa Don’t Cry”? Would you like to put out a whole collection of Holiday songs? What is your all-time favorite Holiday song?
I came up with “Santa Don’t Cry” just off of inspiration. Then, I decided to write it. I figured since I made it, I might as well just put it out. I enjoy the song a lot because it shows a different aspect of me in terms of my faith, so I wanted to share that. I love Christmas music, so yeah, I think it would be fun to do a collection of cover holiday songs! I actually have two all time favorite Christmas song. One is “Santa Baby”, and the other is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.
How do you think you have grown as an artist since your debut collection was released? What has remained the same about you as an artist and your overall process as an artist?
Since releasing my “Nothing To Lose” EP, I think I’ve grown alot. I have grown in the songwriting category and in my artistry. When I first started along this music journey, I had no idea what i was doing! But I’m catching the flow of things a bit more now with my supportive team helping me every step of the way. I tend to be a perfectionist, so that’s remained the same for me. I like to make sure my music is right before sharing it with the world.
Do you have any tour dates to wrap up 2017? Where can people see you play live next?
I don’t have any tour dates or anything for shows left to do in 2017. I’m going out to see my family in Salem, but that’s about it. I’m excited to get to perform for my fans early next year and for them to hear the new music I’ve been working on!
What do you think of social media today and the importance of it for artists now? Do you find that it’s hard to keep up with it all?
I truly have a love/ hate relationship with social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great! They give artists like me the chance to put great music out and get it directly to fans and friends. Its a good way to reach the masses. At the same time, I’ve found that social media can be sometimes discouraging and stressful. Keeping up with posing and trying to stay “relevant” is a full-time job on its own.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these difficult times?
Listening to music and singing takes me out of the world some I don’t have to be too focused on the negative things going on. That’s what music has always done for me. “Cruise” expresses how we need to chill out and get rid of our troubles. I hope my single can translate that to fans and maybe give them some peace in turbulent times. Both current music and past music has, and continues to be a way of escape for me.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Oh gosh! Amy Winehouse is a big influence for me. One of my favorite musicians of all time. Erykah Badu is soulful and honest in her music, and I love her stuff too. I have so many different influences that come from everywhere, I don’t know if I can even name half of them. If given the chance, I would love to work with Stevie Wonder. I think he’s an amazing talented musician and singer. i know it would be fun work with him. I love Beyonce and she always makes bomb collaborations, so I would want to work with her, too. Also, Ed Sheeran is a great songwriter who would be a dope collab. I like the relaxing vibe of his music.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music? Do you think there is a greater music in your songs?
I would hope that my music is healing and inspiring for my listeners, that same way that other artists’ music has been for me. That’s kind of why I make music.
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Start now. Being a singer, songwriter, or musician can be a long road. The earlier you get on it, the better chances you will have toward your own success. Also, don’t give up. If you really love music and if it’s what want you to do, go for it! And while you are on your journey, try not to lose sight of reason you wanted to make music in first place.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Well, I hope that our chat has given my fans a little tidbit of who I am, and you can find my music online on my Spotify and Youtube Page! You can find me online on my website, Youtube, and Twitter, as well. Thank you so much for your time and God bless.