Singer-Songwriter WHITTON Opens Up About New Music, Handling The Pandemic and More!
A consummate artist, Whitton is a musician, foodie, spirits aficionado and co-founder of the award winning 2020 tequila of the year, El Sativo, which debuts this summer. Growing up in a musical family of 6 kids ensured her talents were nurtured. She toured nationally as a singer songwriter at an early age, building relationships and a thriving fan base through social media, film/TV and commercial featured song placements.
Whitton took time off from touring to care for her grandfather during which she developed a talent for creating healthy meals. This inspired her to study and cultivate both non-GMO organic soil and aeroponic tower gardens. Whitton became engulfed in creating recipes from scratch that centered around healthy “whole food” eating and food pairing. She also has appreciation for quality wine and spirits which eventually led to co-founding the downtown, LA’s First Walk Up Bar, PRANK, home of the first terpene cocktails. She realized her gift for pairing foods with beverages which started her love affair with Tequila.
Connect With Whitton Online Here: www.WHITTONMUSIC.com
Whitton’s new hypnotic four song EP is called “BACKWARDS” (produced/engineered/co-written by Ben Burget (Zildjian Live, Paul Stanley, Brian Setzer Orchestra). With a compelling introspective of the human condition, she paints an honest perspective through her vulnerable lyrics and romantic melodies. Her vocal blend of Colbie Caillat, Kimbra and Elizabeth Frazer meets Norah Jones and St. Vincent, gives Whitton a large cinematic presentation with a timeless alternative pop feel. The final track on this EP, “One More Kiss Dear” was produced by Alexander Burke (Save Ferris) and features iconic actor, Edward James Olmos the classic love song from the original Bladerunner 1982 film as well as many more notable musicians. The first single off the EP is “CARS MARS” which is an environmentally conscious song.
Check out the music video for “Cars Mars” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om0rY8FQBT4
Learn more about Whitton in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So how are you keeping busy and musical these days during the pandemic?
I have 3 obsessions – Music. Tequila. Environment. All 3 have tied together and kept me very busy this year. I’ve had a handful of projects in the works the past couple years that now I was able to launch throughout 2020. I released an original song, in celebration of National Tequila Day called “El Sativo.” We named it after my (co-owned) tequila brand, a new innovative single estate and organic masterpiece, which was voted 2020 tequila of the year (San Francisco Spirits Competition 2020). It came naturally while sipping on El Sativo Tequila with my co-writers, Lauren DeRose, David Villafaña, and MC Flow. It’s our inspirational giggly juice, a good time and a sweet rhyme.
Another project I have been dying to release is my 4 song EP called, “Backwards”. With a compelling introspective of the human condition, I wanted to paint an honest perspective through vulnerable lyrics and romantic melodies. These songs have a large cinematic presentation with a timeless alternative pop feel to them. I felt that it was a meaningful time to release this EP, especially with my single, “Cars Mars”. Among the chaos, we have invested our time in the quick and easy things rather than the important things that take care and time. I want “Cars Mars” to help bring consciousness to the importance of relationships with each other and our planet, which I think is especially relevant given the present environment we live in today.
And the cherries on, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have gotten a few studio session gigs in film that I’m ecstatic about, however unfortunately, I can’t announce yet.
How are you staying connected to your fans? Are you finding that social media is even more useful now?
Yes, social media is the star of the show these days. I think social media has grown massively. And now, without live concerts and TV/film productions slowing down and/or stopped, it’s all we have to reach people.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician?
Yes, I was six years old. Growing up in a musical family of 6 kids ensured that my talents were nurtured daily.
What do you think motivates you day in and day out?
GROWTH and LIFE. May it be writing music, planting vegetables, harvesting agave then making tequila or travel the world’s stages. Creating something that move people with sound, taste, vision and connections. How has that drive changed since you first starting writing songs? It gets greater. The more you can feel something working, the more you want it.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
My hometown heavily influenced me. I was raised in the “Biggest Little City in World”, Reno, NV, where I attended Catholic school. I had already experienced a ton at a young age, so it was natural for me to start writing. Then, my music led me to Los Angeles (my 2nd home), where my family‘s been in the spirit industry for over 20 years, everything from bartenders to bar owners to spirit educators and distillers.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? It’s all I knew. I was a pretty athletic person. I performed (sang and danced) in community theater around town, mostly in casino theaters and old age homes. I didn’t start playing the guitar until my 20’s. Was your family and friends always supportive of this career choice? Always. My siblings and I have always collaborated on projects together. May it be in theater, a holiday single, full album or making tequila.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Honestly, I couldn’t imagine not being a musician or being involved in music one way or another. But if I had to, since I’ve been in the food and beverage industry for many years, I’d continue to learn and craft in this industry.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell your younger self about this industry?
Well, that’s a loaded question. The music industry since I can remember is constantly changing. There’s no right or wrong way of doing things. I think the most surprising challenge I keep facing is no matter how much I’ve tried to call it quits, like a brick wall slamming into my face, music won’t let me go. No matter how hard things get or how expensive it becomes, the universe keeps swingin’ music opportunities my way. I don’t think I’d change a single move I made along the way… If I did, I wouldn’t have learned, experienced important things or be who I am today.
Let’s talk about your new EP, “Backwards.” What was it like making this collection during this crazy year? How did you about choosing your producers to work with and how did they impact the music?
I recorded the EP, “Backwards”, a few years back actually. A couple of the songs were placed in film and I wanted to wait for their release, but unfortunately, they never received the funding they needed. It’s funny about timing… 2020 is the perfect year for these songs.
I absolutely love the collaboration on this EP! I got to work with some of the best songwriters, musicians and producers. The first three songs were produced and co-written with musician/engineer, Ben Burget. The ending track, “One More Kiss Dear” from “Bladerunner 1982”, features iconic actor, Edward James Olmos. Produced by Alexander Burke (Save Ferris, Ben Lee) and Chris Mullings (The Neighborhood, “Weird Al” Yankovic). Other prominent collaborators on this EP are Tony Bonsera (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy), Gary Lux (Universal Records), Robert “Sput” Searlight (Snoop Dogg, Ghost Note), Sean Hurley (John Mayor) and Jens Gad (Enigma). A lot of these cool cats have been very good friends and/or professionals that I’ve admired for many years. I think all of these amazingly talented people come a very different worldly approach, which makes them so diverse. They’ve studied every genre of music and understand it. They pushed me to open and undeniably a better musician.
How did you pick the songs featured on this EP? Can you pick one or two and talk about how they were written and then got to be on “Backwards”?
I remember as a child how excited I got when a favorite artist or band came out with new music. Great eps and albums always have a story, a common thread and color, if sound had color.
The story behind the name of “Cars Mars” represents disconnection. We invest ourselves in the surface and don’t take the time to nurture ourselves, relationships and the planet these days it seems. We, as a society, are driven by the money carrot. Addicted to social media; Showing the world your best idea of yourself; brushing the truth under the rug if you will. We can miss so much importance and beauty and not even realize it. I think 2020 has shined a light on these very things.
“Backwards” is about true heartbreak, in it’s most vicious form. Losing someone or something… like your livelihood. Not being able to be “present” in your future existence. Admitting that you’re not okay… An ego simply shattered with one hit of a baseball bat into a million pieces. And the only thing your heart can relinquish is honesty. Asking for patience is hard. Again, a ton of devastation has happened for a lot of people this year… Not being able to move forward, only backwards.
What was it like making the music video for “Cars Mars”? How creatively involved with the overall process were you?
The “Cars Mars” video is very personal for me. Ben Burget and I wrote this song a few years back during a time when I was wearing many hats. In between recording this EP, bartending and helping my brother open his bar in DTLA, I was also my Grandfather’s caregiver. Being present in these extremely polar opposite environments really opened my eyes to people losing site of what’s really important. Big city life and the need for mass production can lead to careless actions. Everyone wants something Quick & Easy and spending quality time can be forgotten. I feel like we all can get wrapped up into that and it can lead us to miss the important moments in life.
Working with director Jacquie Gould was such a gift. Not only was she passionate but she connected to the song and really thought out every word to help tell my story that we could all relate to. The man that made it all happen is Dennys Ilic, Director of Photography and Leica Camera Ambassador. He sprinkles magic into every project that he is involved in and I feel incredibly honored that he has showered me with so much support. His expertise in Cinematography makes everything seem effortless. Huge thanks to rest of the crew; camera operators, Simon Barry & Keith Andreen as well as David Hauser & makeup artist, my sister, Stacey Whitton Summers.
Your music has been featured in so many TV shows, films and commercials so I am curious what placements stand out the most to you? What has been a favorite? Where would you still love to hear a song of yours played?
I think every placement that I’ve landed fits beautiful in the segment. I always love to see the product or the movie scene come alive with my music. Some favorite film/TV placements were : “Gotti” film, (starring John Travolta), “She Wants Me” Film (starring Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Josh Gad), “The 5th Quarter” film (starring Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell, Ryan Merriman), Showtime’s “DEXTER” soundtrack and Exit Strategy” Film (w/ Big Boy from KPWR Power 106 & Kevin Hart). Some favorite commercial placements were: ““Gossip Girl” (National Valentine’s Day commercial), Munchkin” baby brand and ELLOS Clothing Co. to name a few.
I will forever make music for TV/film. That’s where my music belongs.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future? Who has consistently been inspiring you and the music that you make?
Good question. I’d say Peter Gabriel, Colin Hay, Rhye and Chris Martin.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Finish what you start. Be Honest. Help change. Give back. Feel deep. Be proud. Be loud. Be courageous and always keep a smile and know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.