American Idol Brooke White Talks Jack and White, Classic Songwriting, and Going D.I.Y.
On her 2009 release High Hopes & Heartbreak, Mesa-born American Idol finalist Brooke White covered "Use Somebody." It's tough not to hold the song choice against her (I'm going to blame Randy Jackson, dawg), but Gemini from White's new project Jack and White certainly goes along way in helping to wash the KOL taste out of your mouth.
Jack and White
Gemini , released today, is credited to Jack and White. The EP is the debut recording from White's new project with guitarist Jack Matranga. White's voice is particularly suited to the kind of pop on the record. The record isn't unlike a more produced Jenny Lewis effort, but never comes across as self-conscious as Lewis' efforts. The title track sparkles with 12-string jangle, while "Double Trouble" may be the best Fleetwood Mac appropriation I've heard all year.
White spoke with Up on the Sun about the decision to release the album herself, trying to sound modern, and not wanting to piss off Jack White.
Up on the Sun: How are you Brooke? Busy, I imagine.
Brooke White: I've just been doing a bunch of stuff to get ready for this release. You know, releasing it on my own record label. It's really hands on, but I like it that way. I'm really excited to share this with everyone. I've been doing blog posts, and social networking like crazy, and...[just] keeping it moving.
So this kind of like the debut of a whole new project.
Jack and White. He's Jack Matranga, just to give you the equation, plus Brooke White, equals Jack and White. [Laughs]
Are you worried anyone is going to confuse you with the Jack White?
[Laughs] Probably not. It is hilarious. It's similar obviously...we highly respect Jack White, we hope not to offend him in any way. He's totally the rock 'n' roll king...not the rock 'n' roll king, but the real respected rock guy of our time. He's super good.
So what inspired you to put out this record on your own?
This whole thing happened kinda organically. Jack and I started writing together for my own record, and we kinda hit it off right away, with creating a sound that sounded different than my own personal records. It felt like an extension of what I do, but more guitar-based, and just... it had its own vibe. So you know, while I figured out what I was doing, I figured let's do this little collaboration, no pressure. I thought it would be a little acoustic record. Well, once we got into the studio and started recording, the songs were becoming full blown productions, and sounding more stellar than I could have planned.
So, we were just going to release...we started putting out little samples, and people were responding so incredibly well, and press outlets were reaching out to us. We decided to make a go of it, and we had made the record ourselves, so I figured 'why not put it out ourselves?' This way, we have creative control, which I enjoy, and that's one of the pros. Obviously its more work and challenging to get it out to more people. We aren't working on Lady Gaga's budget...so we have to be crafty.
In this day and age, there's a million ways to do it. The internet makes it possible for all of us to play the same. Thankfully because of my opportunities with American Idol, the exposure I've been afforded, it makes it possible for me to do that, and continue to connect with fans I've made and continued to accumulate.
You guys have kind of a '70s pop thing here. That's always been your thing, hasn't it?
It has, but I have to say, it's so funny, but when I listen back to this record, it feels like the most modern record I've made. I completely appreciate what you are saying, because I feel like songwriting wise, the way we approached it was a very classic songwriting style. Jack, like me, was raised on his parents music, listening to his parents records. That's part of the reason why we hit it off so well, appreciation for music beyond our years, which in my opinion is the foundation for the greatest musical time. You talk about The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, and ELO, and that kind of stuff... that's just the music you are going to hear for the rest of time.
So we really had that appreciation, but sonically, I feel like it's much more modern than my last record. High Hopes was very analog, no treatment to the vocals, it was beautiful and natural, but this is much more glossy, kind of big, more upfront modern sound. So we definitely tried to marry those two worlds.
It sounds like you are very proud of the record.
It's us, for better or worse. It's something we created. [At first were were like] 'who cares it sells a little or a lot, we just want to make a fun little EP.' But what started out as no pressure, [now] we've gotta cross our fingers and hope it catches on, cause we'd like doing it so much. We'd like to make a whole record.