INTERVIEW WITH MUSICIAN LINDSAY WHITE,
BY HALEY WHITE
I am a little biased about the music of Lindsay White, being that she is my little sister and I’ve heard most of her songs in their development stages and been to hundreds and hundreds of her live shows and, you know, have a secret sister language with her and all. Although it’s hard for me to contain my excitement over the hype of her new album and the adjoining tour that’s going to bring her to the stage at Full Circle Brewing Company in Fresno on Wednesday night, I’m going to try my best to be an unbiased interviewer. Oh yeah, I’m from Fresno. That part might be important for you to know.
ME: Let’s sit at the dining table in order to be professional.
ME: You have to pretend I’m just a regular journalist and not your sister.
ME: I don’t have a real recorder so let’s pretend that this Anker phone charger is a microphone and you can direct your answers into it.
LINDSAY: Ummm… take can I take a picture of you holding that?
ME: That’s a weird thing to a journalist, but alright.
She takes the picture and continues playing on your phone.
ME: Ahem. Are you ready to begin?
LINDSAY: One sec.
ME: Why are you playing on your phone during an interview? It’s very rude.
LINDSAY: I’m posting the picture I took on my Patreon group.
ME: What’s a Patreon group?
LINDSAY: Myis a collective of my super fans. They named themselves “Lindsay’s Corner” because I like to box and they like to support me. Not my boxing. My music. Does that make sense?
ME: Yes, they support your music career, not your boxing career.
LINDSAY: Correct. There are tiered levels, depending on how much you donate, and there are different rewards people can earn for each category and a private Facebook group where I post all my behind the scenes tour stuff.
ME: Speaking of tour, who’s the best tour partner in the word?
LINDSAY: Is every question gonna be about you?
LINDSAY: Is every question gonna be about you?
ME: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn’t know you would go with me as an answer. That’s just a coincidence. Let’s talk about your album.
LINDSAY: That’s not a question.
ME: Will you tell me about your new album and what it was liking writing and recording it?
LINDSAY: The new album is called “Lights Out” and it sort of naturally morphed around the concept of grief, since that is what I’ve come to know so well in the process of recording it. After losing my grandpa and my mom-
ME: Sorry for your loss-
LINDSAY: And also with you. After losing my grandpa and mom, I started looking at loss differently. The older I get, the more I realize how big a role it can play in the person you become and how you treat other people. So the record reflects that.
ME: Talk to me about the first track on the record.
LINDSAY: The first track is called “Surrogate” and it’s a tribute to my sissy. It was a fun journey from start to finish because it originated as a very personal song written for you-
ME: Be Professional!
LINDSAY: Fine! For MY SISTER. For Haley! But it took on an anthemic quality when we decided thewould be a series of sister videos submitted by friends and fans.
ME: Well, you sound very lucky to have such a supportive, loving, awesome sister. I have heard that you also had a supportive, loving, awesome grandfather. Word on the streets is his name was Poppa.
LINDSAY: Yes, Poppa Bill. He died a few years ago, and being that we were really close, I wanted to honor him on this album. The song “Rubberband Gun is inspired by his love story with my grandma.”
ME: Excuse me. Don’t you mean your Granny?
LINDSAY: Yes, my Granny. Poppa was one of the best men I’ve ever known. One of the lines in the song captures my feelings about him completely, “He left me a lesson that kindest is best/you can survive a hard life with no enemies”. That’s the kind of guy he was.
ME: I can’t imagine anyone hating Poppa. I mean. I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard about him from you.
LINDSAY: I don’t think anybody did.
ME: Anyway, on to the gay stuff! You just got married last year to your partner Audrie. I know you talk about marriage a couple times on the album. First let’s talk about “Colder Feet”.
LINDSAY: That’s the oldest song on the album. I wrote it back when I came out and got divorced from my then-husband. It’s basically an apology to him for making such a huge decision that altered his life before I really understood myself fully and the long term repercussions of my actions. I think a lot of people in the LGBTQ community can identify, especially those who came out later in life.
ME: What’s your favorite lyric from that song? Mine favorite visualization is “Two toothbrushes in a coffee cup, there’s just one now”. It paints such a specific, intimate piece of a break up.
LINDSAY: I think the most important part of that song to me is the chorus.
(We sing the following lines together)
“I just want to tell you one last thing/you were my shoulder, my best friend/
I wish I could have saved you from this pain/which my feet were colder back then”
ME: Now tell me a little about the song “Not A Boy”.
LINDSAY: I wrote “Not A Boy” as a letter to Audrie’s parents, who refused to acknowledge our relationship or even meet me. They, along with my mother, did not attend the wedding and I know, Audrie especially, struggled with her parents absence. I respect everyone’s right to believe whatever they want but at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to fathom not wanting to see your child happy. So that’s what the song’s about. There is no metaphor happening, it’s very direct: “You won’t know her joy, hear her vow. I am not a boy, that changes things somehow.”
ME: Yeah, I think that song is going to be really popular. Unfortunately lots of people will probably identify with the lyrics. So…let’s see. Losing your mom kinda sucks, huh?
LINDSAY: Yeah, do you know about that?
ME: A lil’ bit. So, there are actually a few songs on the new album about Mama White- your mother’s scientific name. They’re heartbreaking. Which one breaks your heart the most?
LINDSAY: At this stage in my grief, “Lights Out” resonates with me most.
ME: That’s funny cause dad- I’m mean YOUR dad- can’t listen to “Deep Dark Down”. What about “Lights Out” hits so hard?
LINDSAY: Whereas “Deep Dark Down” poses a lot of questions leading up to mom’s death, “Lights Out” at least feels more resolved in my heart. The line “Everything’s different with the lights out” has become a sort of mantra for the way I want to live my life moving forward. Our relationship and her death reminds me on a daily basis how short life is, how important love is, and how silly the rest of it is.
ME: True dat.
Lindsay smiles, cause that’s one of our mom’s old sayings.
ME: So. “Surrogate”, I’ve heard is your favorite song on the album. I’m partial to it, however I feel like I identify with “My Beast” and “The Lighthouse” on a personal level, like if you weren’t my sister those are definitely songs I feel I understand from an emotional perspective, since I deal with anxiety and depression. Let’s talk about how your mental health plays a role in your writing.
LINDSAY: I’ve always struggled, with anxiety in particular, ever since I was a wee lass. I can’t speak for everyone but my experience with anxiety is one that propels me and paralyzes me at the same time. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to be a high-functioning doer. However, that pressure often morphs into fear which holds me back and results in a lot of self-destructive thinking. “My Beast” speaks to how we’re usually our own worst enemy on any given day. And “The Lighthouse” addresses how creating a facade of stability can actually result in severe depression.
ME: Heavy stuff. Let’s talk about something fun. You’re having yourparty in Fresno on Wednesday night at Full Circle Brewing Company downtown. What are you most looking forward to about performing in Fresno?
LINDSAY: It’s been many years since I performed solo in the Valley and I always look forward to seeing family, old friends and classmates (Lindsay grew up in Corcoran, CA). I keep up with a lot of them on social media but it’s not the same of being able to have actual face-to-face conversations.
ME: Who else is sharing the stage with you that night?
LINDSAY:is opening. I love his voice; it’s so smooth and soulful. Then is closing. They’re this great Americana band, led by Ted Nunes. Everyone’s local. Everyone’s cool. I’m excited to play on a bill with them and also get to see some friendly faces in the crowd.
ME: I’ll see if I’m busy on Wednesday. I might be able to pencil you in.
Lindsay wrinkles her nose.
ME: Thanks for letting me interview you.
LINDSAY: Thanks FOR interviewing me, sissy!