Whityne Raquel caught my attention 5 years ago when I first moved to Texas. I had family in town, and we made a trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards. We did all the usual stops along the way, but found our way to The Basement, a small and dark dive bar that was exactly what it said it was… in a basement.
After a few drinks, we saw two people on the small stage setting up and decided that we were going to stay and hear some live music. Little did I know that 5 years later I would be writing about and talking with an amazing talent like Whityne Raquel.
Lifestyle Frisco: How long have you been playing music, and how did you get your start?
Whityne Raquel: My father and both of my grandfathers played country/western and bluegrass growing up. So naturally my dad bought me a guitar when I was very young and began teaching me a few chords here and there. By the time I was in junior high, I had rounded up a group of friends, assigned musical instruments to them, and organized “band practices” in my parents (un-air-conditioned) garage. We managed to get a few gigs at town festivals and benefits, but it wasn’t until around 2009 when I began playing shows for pay. I started working at a well-known watering hole in Fort Worth that hosted an open mic night once a week. At nineteen years old, I took up a residency playing every Thursday night at the Longhorn Saloon. What do ya know? Almost a decade later it has snowballed into a full blown career.
LF: Who are some of your influences when it comes to writing songs?
WR: Songwriting legends such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Willie Nelson were all a crucial influence when it came to the idea of becoming a songwriter myself, but I am not strictly old-school. I go through periods of my life when a fairly newer band or album will heavily influence my writing style. I think Joe Pug’s abstract writing style is the perfect blend of folksy poetry and catchy melodies. Yet on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a band called CocoRosie who introduced me into a weird, wonderful world of eccentric, electro pop compositions that so vividly paint a surreal fantasy land in each listeners mind. I believe any artist who can accomplish that goal is worthy of note.
LF: Have you always played solo? Or, do you play in a band also?
WR: I have been in a handful of bands since becoming an artist. My most recent and current project being Radio Love Bus.
LF: When playing out in Fort Worth, which is a hot bed for music, what are some of your favorite venues to play at?
WT: Funky Town has such a broad spectrum of venues. Each one is amazing, and sometimes a bit quirky in their own way. Honorable mentions include: Oscar’s Pub which always has a crowd that makes you feel like family; the White Elephant Saloon which is a Fort Worth staple that has the authentic feel of an old-timey watering hole; The Mad Hatter, a shotgun bar that is so tiny in the most fantastic way. In all these venues, the bartenders and clientele are some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet, and you’ll never leave without making a few new friends.
LF: Who are some of the local bands or artists that you are checking out these days?
WR: Quaker City Night Hawks are always a safe bet for a great time that will get your head bobbing. Miss Van Darien has some great new tunes. Also Justin Ross and Johnny Cooper just teamed up to create a project they’ve dubbed “Sidecar.” It’s some pretty killer stuff.
LF: What’s one fact about you that might seem odd or different?
WR: I am a HUGE loner. I love being on stage, and I am such a people person when I’m being a people person. But, I think I require a significant more amount of alone time than the average human. I don’t mind eating alone. I even prefer running my errands alone. Most importantly, I enjoy living alone. As much as I adore my friends and family, and enjoy my time spent with them, I’m greedy when it comes to my alone time and space.
LF: When can we expect some new music, or are you currently recording?
WR: Keep your eyes peeled for two singles I will be releasing this summer, and an EP to follow shortly after.
LF: You have been playing around Frisco for the last few years. What do like about this part of town?
WR: I love how beautiful this city is, yet how down to earth its residents are. They are always so welcoming to outsiders, and most importantly, they know how to have a good time. They really take that “Work hard; Play hard” saying to heart.
LF: Have you seen a growth in venues and music since you have been playing here?
WR: To be honest, I was just introduced to the Frisco music scene in recent years, but talks of a first annual Frisco music festival has got my hopes up that I will remain in good graces with the local venues and continue to be a part of its growing music culture!
LF: What is the one thing that you would say could help with the continue growth of the Frisco music scene?
WR: One hell of a First Annual Music Festival to kick off what in hopes will become a new Frisco tradition.
Whitnye’s first work was her debut EP titled All My Truths, which was released in November of 2012 and is available on iTunes. You can also find out where Whityne is playing by checking out her website http://www.whitnyeraquel.com/ and her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WhitnyeRaquelMusic/.