11th Annual Pop Album Nominee

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Record Label: Self-Released

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Home Base: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop Singer-Songwriter

Categories Entered: Pop Album

Work Submitted: Rare Bird Album

Artists Featured: Whitton

Label: Self-Released

Who are your influences? My brothers and sisters (whom are all fantastic musicians and vocalists), Elizabeth Fraser, Colin Hay, Billie Holiday, Gotye, Peter Gabriel, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell, Harry Connick Jr., Allison Krauss and many more!

Describe your nominated work. Oh where to start…lol. It took me two and half years to finish this master piece called Rare Bird with my producer, Ian Coyne. I was lucky enough to work and write with the best musicians that Los Angeles has to offer. Many of which, Joe Solo (Macy Gray), Peter Fox (Rachel Yamagata), Larry Gritten (Cool and the Gang), Ben Burget (studio musician) and many many more. Naturally, I have a 1940’s approach with my own style and with that, Ian and I gave each track a lot of attention by honing in on phrasing, melodies, the appropriate arrangements and instrumentation.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Mellotron, harmonium, tootin’ horns like tuba and bass clarinet and bowin’ all types of strings!

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? There were a couple happy accidents while recording vocals. In the moment is usually the best to choose from! Everything else went pretty much as planned. We worked out the parts in a live setting then edited and finessed when we laid everything down.

How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? All the musicians were pretty much board and played for free because they loved my music so much. Being broker than a joker, I spent all my money on gas driving two hours from Rancho Cucamonga to Playa Del Ray every other day to record at Ian’s studio hahaha!  When it came to mixing and mastering the album, again with barely any funds, I luckily, got one job with my friend Bob, installing voice and data cables for computer connections for the whole month! I found one of the best mixers in LA, Michael James (Hole, Radicals) and mastering expert, Chris Bellman from Bernie Grundman Mastering. I hope to recoup more than what I spent on this album!

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? The IMA’s are where it’s at! I love what the IMA’s offer independent artists. And I also love to hear all the amazing nominees.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Success for me is doing what I love, which is writing music, touring the world and touching peoples hearts. Success to me is also being proud of your work and reveling in a finished product.

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? To help spread the musical word around the world about Whitton.

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? The people in my audience are the attentive listeners (most of the time haha!). The ones that sing along to my lyrics and request songs they love.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Hot springs are heaven on earth! I try my hardest to book my shows a day apart so I can take a dippin’! As far as a close call goes, luckily, nothing tragic, knock on wood.

Who are your musical heroes & influences? My musical family of 8, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Fraser and Jeff Buckley

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? “Your Song” by Elton John because it’s honest.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Gypsy Kings, Tool and Shania Twain

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? I am a music buyer! Unless a friend gives me a mix CD they personally put together as a gift.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? That’s a scary topic! Most of the time, touring, merchandise and song placements are a guarantee money maker. When just starting out as a musician, it’s not always a stable source of income, that’s for sure!

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? I think most people outside of the music industry don’t realize that to be a successful, independent musician, it takes ALL of you. You do everything yourself from writing, recording, releasing, promoting and performing. All your saving go into it. It’s like fighting to get air in a massive industry ocean. There is no right or wrong way of doing things now… Which is intimidating. Everyone has a different formula… I think the thing that makes or breaks artists today is a good song. Just write a good song… and it’ll find it’s place.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? Absolutely.  Again, it’s all about a good song. If you have one… that’s all you need to get the fire started.

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…a whole other planet.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? Supporting my new album, Rare Bird on tour, writing new tunes for a new EP (title TBA) with producer/bassist John Avila (Oingo Boingo), a couple new videos for YouTube, writing, writing and more writing!!

Where fans can find you and your music: