As one of the sharpest and most prolific artists to come out of American Idol, Brooke White of Season 7 fame has consistently stood out with her warm, breezy folk-pop sound and ‘70s golden era vibes. With the Arizona native now introducing her own brand of California country with the forthcoming album, Calico this October, White is ready to share more of her fresh sound with the new single, “Into the Trees.”
“[It’s] my ‘summer love’ song,” White told PopCulture.com exclusively of the new single. “Not the fling that fades come September, but the kind that goes the long haul.”
Following a distinctive and rarely sought after approach to the beloved country genre, White extends a warm invite to fans with a style all her own, fusing Nashville and Laurel Canyon for her upcoming album and admitting that while the 12-track record will have a “very pop feel,” it’s the “most modern thing” she’s ever made to date with a lot of “really interesting elements.”
The evidence is clear with her follow-up to “Calico,” the first single off her record of the same name. White’s latest “Into the Trees” is a summery “heart-driven” story perfectly juxtaposed between authentic sounds and modern production. While White admits it’s been a minute since she first felt that “young love feeling,” she reveals it’s one you never forget.
“It’s a moment frozen in time. The song you were listening to, those old worn out jeans you were wearing, the smell of the air and his musky cologne, and exactly where you were when it hits you,” she smiled. “It’s that ‘this is it’ moment. Everyone’s moment looks a little different, but we all know that feeling. There’s really nothing in the world that compares and you never want it to end.”
With a charming melody and a sound signature to White’s style, she adds that the new record and its tracks are the first time she hasn’t “suppressed” her country tone and love.
“I’ve had producers in the past say, ‘Hey, let’s do another take this time, but a little less country,’” she said of the album, which she also admits is the “most fun record” she has made to date. “This time, it was just like, let it rip. Let that country tone out.”
Through White’s refreshing sound, it’s clear to see the 36-year-old multi-instrumentalist is also breaking down barriers within the country music genre — and thankfully, she isn’t alone. With a legion of fierce female country stars like, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and even Idol winner, Carrie Underwood, the resonance and milieu of country music is progressing into a more innovative outlook, attitude and style beyond its habitual sound to broaden the country landscape.
“Country is like its own ecosystem,” White said of the evolving genre. “Now you’re seeing ‘Old Town Road’ and ‘The Get Up,’ these other songs that come in from a totally different angle and are challenging the country norm.”
White adds that while she isn’t trying to change the country genre with her music in a sea of “a lot of country music right now,” she’s helping highlight how there’s room for everyone when it comes to the landscape.
“The song ‘Calico’ is about inclusion — that we can all get together down in Calico. One of the reasons I love California so much and that brought me here, was this feeling that you could come here and you could create anything,” she said. “There aren’t any rules here. Will it work? Will it not? It doesn’t really matter, because it’s not about that. It’s actually about coming here, creating and being a part of something.”
When it comes to inclusion, one of the aspects White is fully aware of within the genre is the ongoing discussion of radio play for female artists in a male-dominated industry. While she believes the debate is “really widespread” and touches on “all levels,” she’s thankful for the dialogue between artists.
“There’s not an industry where there’s a lack of female representation,” she admitted to PopCulture.com. “I think we’re at a time where thankfully, the conversation is happening and there’s more of an open mind and an opportunity for us gals. I’m thrilled about it.”
Sharing an experience from her post-Idol days, White recalls a meeting in Nashville of music producers ruminating over a popular, mainstream country artist whose record they struggled to move off the shelf. The revelation “devastated” White, who adds how the artist remains a “really important” influence to her.
“There’s this concept that men can age and still have a career and a relevance,” White said of the situation. “And then you have a woman, and she’s stunning and she’s literally one of the most gifted singers there are, and people are less interested, and they don’t support it. Why? That is such a bummer.”
White adds that after this past year’s awards season, it’s clear to see and understand how women are dominating the charts and picking up awards — like, Musgraves with her critically acclaimed record, Golden Hour. However, White believes it’s still not as much in terms of all the attention men receive, especially when it comes to reigning over radio airwaves.
“Here’s the thing: at the end of the day, we’ve just got to write great music that resonates with people,” White said candidly, adding how when she looks at her musical library varying with music from the likes of Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks and Lorrie Morgan, it’s just another glimpse into how things have been since the start. “That’s what the industry has favored to put out into the world, and so that’s what we had to choose from.”
White reiterates soundly that the elevation behind the debate is “nothing against men” as she personally admires a plethora of male country artists ranging among the likes of Johnny Cash, George Strait, Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. Instead, it’s more about including the opposite sex when it comes to equal representation.
“It would be great to have more options of women, and to see women on an equal playing field in terms of the ability to create music that really matters and stands the test of time,” White said. “That’s why I love Carole King. Carole was such a game-changer in the industry back in the day. She changed the whole playing field for women back then, and I do see that could happen again.”
White is hopeful, especially with so many female artists breaking out onto the scene because at least now, there’s a conversation taking place.
“People are more mindful and want to give more opportunities to women because that is definitely a hot button issue,” she said, adding how opportunity means more saturation for every female artist emerging in country genre, including herself. “I’m thrilled that I get to release music now too.”0comments
White’s new single “Into the Trees” is available on iTunes and her forthcoming album, Calico is set to release Oct. 4, 2019. For more on Brooke White, visit her official website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for more with White as she talks about motherhood’s impact on her music and what she really thinks about the American Idol reboot.