Whitney McClain – Cruise
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) How would you describe your sound?
A) My sound: I really like to shoot for a feeling in my music. I love soulful and jazzy music. I aim for that genre in my melodies and rhythm choices. The story in the song is important to me and I pay attention to the content when working on records.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) I love Amy Winehouse. She’s probably one of my biggest musical influences. Also, Adele and Sam Smith. They are real soulful singers at the core. Motown has also been a huge influencer of my style, as well. I’ve listened to Gospel music throughout my whole life, which has influenced some of the content within my songs. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu are always first on my list of music to listen to when I want to get truly inspired.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Cruise.”
A) “Cruise” almost didn’t happen. The story behind my last song is this: I had the beat for this song for the longest time, just sitting in my email. I liked the beat because it was chill and I just couldn’t come up with anything for it. We were in a writing session, my co-writer’s Marlon McClain II and Davi Jordan and I played the instrumental. Davi came up with the first line and everything just kept flowing from there. The song came together pretty quickly and organically.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) That’s a tough question. I don’t know. Really I can’t really speak for the fans or even halfway predict how they connect to the record. I can tell you what I wanted to get across to them in this song though. I wanted them to feel hopeful and to connect with the chill vibes and the peaceful energy in the song. I hope I can connect with all of my listeners on that level.
Q) How does the video for the track play into the message behind it?
A) Hope, chill vibes and peace were the intended message. For the video, I wanted to do whatever I could to keep pushing that feeling across. Visually, I wanted to show myself cruising so I wanted to be on a boat. There’s not a more peaceful setting than riding the waves on a boat or chilling on the beach next to the waves of the ocean.
Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) My songwriting process is different depending on the song. Generally, we have beats from a producer. My co-writers and I will come up with a concept of the song with melodies or lyrics. It depends, sometimes the melodies can come first. Sometimes a tune will come into my head just off of inspiration – even with no instrumental. I might record it quickly on a voice memo and develop it more later on.
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) Sometimes I will cut my own vocals from my home studio and bring them to the table. As far as the beat making and mixing of the songs I leave that to my wonderful producers. I’ve found that getting the bones of the song down in a stress free environment helps get the most honest performance out.
Q) What can fans expect from a live Whitney McClain performance?
A) I am just getting started performing more consistently. Getting the message and music across and possibly connecting to someone is my main goal. Fans can expect to see a performer who gives all she has on the stage when they see me sing live. I thank them for their support and love, and I like to express that as best as I can when performing.
Q) Can fans expect an EP or full album in the near future?
A) I’ve been working on new content and the fans can expect to hear a lot of news things from me soonish.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
A) I really haven’t performed in many places, yet. I’ve done several different sized venues though and I really enjoy the smaller, more intimate settings to perform at. One performance I liked a lot was the Villa Lounge out in West Hollywood. It had a cool, swanky, intimate vibe and let me connect with the audience.
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Hmm. Well, Beyoncé does some pretty great collabs! I would love to collaborate with her! That would be a dream come true! Sam Smith or Adele would be awesome to work with, as well. Also, Pharrell Williams’ production and individuality is dope. Collaborating with him would be probably be a really creative and a fun process.
Q) What album/band are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
A) The most recent new album I checked out of some of Sam Smith’s new album The Thrill of It All. I absolutely love his music and his voice. It’s magical. Tamar Braxton’s new album is nice, too. The production on her project “Bluebird of Happiness” is amazing. It has a soulful and R&B bounce to it. Other that that, I like the same type of music I have always liked. Jazz, Soul, Funk, R&B, and, sometimes, Hip Hop.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) Well, the social media gives me a nice way to see how my fans feel about the music and their opinion. I’ve seen many touching comments about my music from fans and it’s a blessing to see that my music affects them in a positive way. Social media is also a good outlet to let my followers know what I am doing and help them stay informed on my progress through my music career.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) First, I want to say, “Thank you. I appreciate your love and support!”I hope the music I make is able to touch them in a meaningful way. Honestly, I just wish that the fans can get out of my music what I got out of hearing other peoples’ music and stories. I want them to get inspiration if they need inspiration, hope if they need hope and enjoyment if they need that, too. I would like for my music to not just be surface level material. I have done my job if my music can become something that blesses my fans.