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Between Love And Rage: Trixie Whitley's Debut

Watch a video of the powerful blues singer playing 'Gradual Return' in the Soundcheck studio.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trixie Whitley performs in the Soundcheck studio. Trixie Whitley performs in the Soundcheck studio. (Michael Katzif / WNYC)

Trixie Whitley is one performer who has made quite an impression on us here at Soundcheck. You may have heard her in the studio a few years back singing with Daniel Lanois in the group Black Dub. Or, you may have listened to a recent Check Ahead album stream of her brand new blues-soul record, called Fourth Corner. In fact, a lot of you did, and told us how much you liked it. Now, she returns to the studio to play "Oh, The Joy," "Gradual Return" and "Breathe You In My Dreams" and tell us more about her triumphant debut.

Scroll down to watch video of Trixie Whitley performing in the studio.

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On the title Fourth Corner: 

It's definitely a metaphor for me. I had quite a nomadic upbringing and I think most of my childhood I struggled with trying to figure where I was from. The song "Fourth Corner" actually was this moment where I felt like I made peace with all these different facets of my being. And where I also just wanted to embrace that, in a philosophical sense -- towards the record, and also to humanity. I like to refer to the four seasons; they are so different, yet connected. I'm embracing the constant change, and the beauty between love and rage -- how they quite often can go together, but that's ok. 

On the idea of home:

I've always considered New York home, because the majority of people who live here aren't really from here. Personally I feel comforted by that. Finding peace with wherever I am has to do with feeling at home within myself, and that's something that most people can connect with.

On her first instrument, drums:

It's still my first love in a lot of ways. I'm totally self taught. I notice in my piano playing and guitar playing, I approach it as a percussive instrument. Ever since I was a kid I was rhythmically inclined.

On working with Daniel Lanois, who also worked with her father, the late blues musician Chris Whitley:

That to me is part of the metaphor -- the circle has come back. The story with Daniel is a crazy example of that. We first met when I was three years old, in his studio in New Orleans, during the recording of my dad's first record. And then we met years later and this entirely new chapter unfolded. But Dan and the Whitleys were out of touch all this time.

On her first musical crush, Bootsy Collins:

Bootsy was my first ever idol. I think when I was about 6 years old my mom took me to his show, with two friends of hers, and it was jam packed. Somehow we got all the way to the front row and one of her friends picked me up on his shoulders. And [I was] just flipping out. At the end of the set Bootsy picked me up, off of this guys shoulders, and we danced on stage. From then on I had this obsession with him, and started sending him fan packages. I would make him mixtapes, and braid these little bracelets. For a year I sent all these fan packages to Bootsy -- and never heard back. My heart was broken!

Guests:

Trixie Whitley

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