Artist Interview Series with Jennifer Pearson
There is something special about meeting creatives and drawing upon their perspectives of life and passion. Regardless of what your talent may be, there is a sense of interconnectedness that ultimately allows us to cross paths and exchange stories. I wanted to candidly speak with a creative and my wish was granted. This breezy Saturday in March was not your typical meet up for coffee to chat about hobbies. I was pleasantly greeted by Angel White, an artist true to Georgia that has such a unique voice and interesting story. We sat down for tea and I could not help but be captivated by her wisdom of embracing your inner creative. If you have not had the pleasure of gracing your ears with the melodic sounds of Love Me Alone and Eternity, you can follow and listen on SoundCloud.
JENNIFER PEARSON (JP): What experience triggered this creative journey?
ANGEL WHITE (AW): It all began the Summer of 2011. I had been singing all my life in pageants and church. Traditionally, [I] wanted to go into writing and did not want to pursue music professionally. I went and did karaoke and a woman encouraged me to pursue it. So, I decided to give it a year and if nothing came of it then I wouldn’t do it. I graduated college and applied for so many jobs in writing but God told me “you’re trying to go this way, but I have a path for you over here.” On March 4, 2012, on a Sunday, I was streaming and Bishop Bronner said, “[M]arch forth in your purpose, in your destiny.” After that I decided I would pursue music wholeheartedly. Since then I have been using these past three years to develop my sound.
JP: What projects have you done or are currently working towards?
AW: I’ve been playing different instruments and really developing my sound. Right now I am working on my first project and I put out two tracks to see what people are feeling and was really excited about it. My goal for 2015 was to be in full-time in music. So now I currently sing backup for an artist named Raury who’s based out of Atlanta and we just got back from SXSW. We’ve been on the MTV Woody Awards and more and more it’s looking like I’ll be full-time. I couldn’t have imagined that I would have the turn-around I’ve had.
“God told me ‘you’re trying to go this way, but I have a path for you over here.'”
JP: How would you describe your sound? What is the vibe your audience would receive from you?
AW: The sound right now is very experimental. The first release was called Eternity which was folkish-pop, the second was a more R&B and vocal ballad. Now, it’s more alternative hip-hop — but not in delivery more throughout the production. You’re getting some nice drums and electronic sounds so I’m really expanding. Everyone starts with what they know, and what I knew was pop and R&B. So now, I’m confident in it.
JP: Many people have a creative process in which they can sit down and deliver their best work and others are lucky enough to come across something special on a whim. How would you describe your creative writing process?
AW: I tend to isolate myself when I begin to write. I develop a situation where I give 5 minutes. After those 5 minutes, if I can’t do anything then at least I have attempted. There’s two ways I write. One, someone gives me a track and if I can’t write something after 10 minutes then maybe it wasn’t for me or something needs to be rearranged. If I’m writing based off of melody, I always sing melodies first, I play with piano and guitar, but I always work off melody. I have the liberty of not being restricted as a musician to labels. It’s about submitting to the moment, the present. I just believe I’m a vessel of a bigger message. Prayer and meditation are big for me. The melodies just flow through.
JP: Sometimes we have a defining moment where our talents and purpose are confirmed. What was that proud moment for you?
AW: My proudest moment was when I made the decision to take a leap of faith and focus on music. I sacrificed my comfortability to do music and was able to go on tour and travel. Another moment was being able to put out my first track on SoundCloud and get so much feedback. That was an amazing moment.
JP: Who influences you to write music and continue to develop through writing, vocals and ethic?
AW: What inspires my sound now and the way that I want my music to inspire people is Stevie Wonder. His musicality, that man is a genius. As far as work ethic, Beyoncé. The work does not stop. That’s admirable. As far as writing, I would have to say Frank Ocean. His ability to take a situation and describe it so vividly and so melodically is amazing. Miguel, Sia, Jazmine Sullivan and Lauryn Hill. I really love, artistically, James Blake. His tone is amazing and his ability to create a vibe is so powerful. I have so many inspirations!
JP: Influence can come in various forms. It can be insightful or even controversial. How do you want to influence your listeners?
AW: I want people to hear my music and I want them to be inspired and moved. Moved is a very vague statement. If something can move you then it can also be impactful. How they are moved is something I don’t want to dictate, but I want them to ultimately garner their own opinions. It’s something that has to create a value.
JP: I think I would pass out if anyone asked me to be on stage. I just couldn’t imagine all of that energy being directed towards me. Is performing on stage a rush for you?
AW: Performing on stage I genuinely don’t remember. You’re just present in that moment. Personally, there’s energy that’s created and you’re invigorated. Everything is energy. We are all effected by energy and can motivate you. At first I thought it was cliché, but it’s real!
JP: What advice would you extend to fellow creatives that has been useful to you?
AW: My biggest piece of advice is take some time to be alone from everything. The reason I was able to receive and understand what I was able to do was because I had nothing holding me back. I recommend people take a break and become centered. Put that energy into investing in yourself spiritually and began to receive confirmation on what you are supposed to do. Invest in self-reflection.