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Student Spotlight

Whitney W.

If you were at our latest Teen-Adult Showcase, you may have gotten the chance to see Whitney’s stunning performance. Not everyone can crush it on a Queen song! Whitney’s been taking lessons from our wonderful teacher Janet, and she’s been an absolute pleasure to watch mature. Her voice is a gorgeous combination of sweet and soulful, but see for yourself in this lovely video she did of “What a Wonderful World.”

Q & A with Whitney

MM: What are some of your favorite hobbies, outside of music? Favorite school subjects, books, movies, shows, sports?

WW: I enjoy going to spin classes, running, photography, editing videos, and baking. I also love going to the movies with my family. I don’t think I have a favorite school subject because I despise school, but if I had to choose, it would be French. I am extremely intrigued by French culture and music and would love to study abroad in Paris. (I am currently learning two French songs with my instructor, Janet).

MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing?

WW: I started singing at five years old and haven’t stopped since then. My babysitter at the time was actually the one to tell my parents, “When are you gonna get her lessons?” after she heard me singing all the time.  They agreed that was a good idea and arranged for my first voice lesson, which I did not want to have because I was shy about singing in front of a teacher. However, I eventually came around.

MM: What have been some of your favorite performances, and why? What about recordings? How do you share your music with others, beyond recitals?

WW: I think my favorite performance was when I sang “Colors of the Wind” at No Square Theatre in Laguna Beach. I was in 7th grade and, honestly, I felt so much more comfortable on stage back then than I do now, and the video of my performance really shows that.

I’ve recorded “What a Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at Costa Mesa Studios. These were live recordings (one take for the entire song) with a pianist. It was a unique experience and the finished product came out well. I post these and other performances on a YouTube channel.

MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?

WW: I know that if I don’t get at least one day of singing in, my vocal muscle will start to atrophy like any other muscle. When I notice I’ve improved a technique, it makes me motivated to continue my lessons and learn more about my voice and where I can go with it. My goal is to become the best performer and singer I can be.  Sometimes, I think I want to be famous!  But I’m not sure how to get there.

MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?

WW: A few artists that have inspired me are Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Eva Cassidy, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga. The reason I’m drawn to these artists is that they each have a distinctive, soulful tone that resonates with me.

MM: What are some of your favorite songs, and why?

WW: One of my favorite songs is “Angie” by the Rolling Stones because it’s an incredible combination of rock and orchestra.  It’s one of only a few songs I don’t get tired of.

MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?

WW: I’m learning how to relax my body and mind while singing. I shouldn’t have to push so hard and feel tired after belting for a short amount of time. I should be able to use the air in my stomach efficiently to prevent straining my voice. On the mental side, I’m learning how to block out what my brain is telling my voice to do. I tell myself to listen to my body and how it feels when I start singing, not listen to my brain and what it’s telling me to sound like. Because chances are, it’s going to sound good to others. I just need to dive for the high note without thinking, because my body knows what to do and my brain doesn’t know what it’s talking about!

MM: I’ve noticed that your performances span everything from jazz standards to Queen (and you’ve been phenomenal on it all!) What direction do you see your music going, if you even want to pick one particular direction?

WW: Thank you so much! I think I want to head in the R&B/Soul direction in general, even though I love many different genres. I don’t want to limit myself, but I do gravitate toward more classic soul music.

MM: You look so comfortable up on the stage! Do you get performance anxiety at all?

WW: I have actually thought about running off stage in tears during multiple performances. In fact, one time I went through with it! It’s been one of my biggest obstacles to overcome. I have HORRIBLE ANXIETY, though it may not show on stage. It’s always there waiting to sabotage any difficult note in my songs. However, Janet has taught me how to deal with this issue by giving me specific tools such as belting on the ground, bending my knees on a high note, and deep breathing.

MM: Anything else you’d like to add? Any fun facts? Social media music accounts you’d like to share?

WW: Thank you for interviewing me. I’m so glad we found Molly’s Music and I appreciate all the performance opportunities that are available.

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