10 Questions with ... Whitney Wolanin
November 30, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whitneywolanin
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/whitneywolanin
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/whitneywolanin
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/whitneywolanin
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/whitney-wolanin
1) You recently remixed your previous Christmas singles ("Silver Bells" and "Frosty The Snowman.") Please tell us about the decision to remix these songs what we can expect from these new versions?
Just as I've changed since I first recorded these songs, so has music. I wanted to make them sound more current while still maintaining their upbeat, danceable nature. The idea is that the songs should fit right into your holiday party playlist. After all, who doesn't want to dance?
2) Your video for "Run, Run Rudolph" is a take off on the classic movie "A Christmas Story." Please tell us about the making of this video and the recent success you've had with this?
Making this music video was the most fun I've ever had! "A Christmas Story" is my family's favorite holiday movie, and so I had this idea to cast my family as the characters, with me as Ralphie, and make a parody of it. This movie is not just a classic, it's a cult film. I recently was in a CVS and the cashier had tears in his eyes laughing about how funny he found our version. Mission successful! "The Run, Run Rudolph" HD video is becoming a classic with reruns on TV and outlets around the world again this year.
3) You have been in the music business since the age of 13, and you're currently only 25 years old. What inspired you to get in this business at such a young age?
I grew up around the music industry when my dad was head of a management company for various rock acts (this was back when they all had long hair, I used to braid it) and I fell in love with live performance. I could feel the tremendous energy that fused when a band played together and interacted with their fans. I watched this for so long from the sidelines, by the time I was 11 I knew I wanted to be a recording artist.
4) You have now achieved six consecutive hits on the Mediabase AC and Billboard charts, and you've also won 3 ASCAP Plus songwriting awards for POP Songwriting. Please tell us about the thrill of this experience and how it feels to reach this achievement?
Really, I can't tell you how cool it is, but here I go anyway: IT'S AWESOME! Hearing a song I recorded on the radio feels how I would imagine dancing on top of clouds would feel if it were physically possible. I went into this career with the one goal of having people hear my music and (hopefully) connecting with it. Thank you to everyone who has played all my songs and supported me! Having "Run, Run Rudolph" become a #2 hit was incredible! I have a big hug waiting for you whenever you want to redeem it.
5) We understand you have been doing IMPROV comedy as a professional comedian, and co founder of LOL Nashville and before going to London LOL you were selling out two shows in Nashville on weekends with lines around the venues. Please tell us how you ended up getting involved in comedy?
I've always loved making people laugh. So when I was a freshman at Vanderbilt University, I auditioned (a last second decision) for their improvisational comedy group, and I got in! I couldn't believe it! I had no idea what I was doing. I fell in love with it very quickly, and later I helped start LOL Nashville with some of my friends, which is now the leading improv group in Nashville. I am very proud of what the group has accomplished.
6) Who are some of your mentors in this business? Is there someone who gave you a shot early on that you'd like to mention?
I've had many people who believed in me and helped me an incredible amount throughout my career. Mike McVay has always encouraged me since I was much younger to keep on doing music and he also gave me the tip that people love up-tempo music. He's very smart. Kid Kelly and everyone at SiriusXM has supported me 100%. They're truly visionaries in the music world and they give shots to artists that might not get a chance otherwise. That's so important.
7) Please describe your experience the first time you heard your song on the radio?
Well the very first time I ever heard my song on the radio, I was in high school leaving one of my basketball games. I was driving home, and it came on. Of course, I freaked out and nearly took out my bumper on a speed bump. Since then, when hearing my songs, I have also gasped so loudly in excitement while others are driving, they have almost crashed their cars, too. So basically, hearing my song on the radio is very dangerous for drivers everywhere. Sorry, it's just too cool, I can't control my reactions!
8) How are you using social networks to market your music and keep your fans involved?
Social media has completely astounded me with the weight it carries. It absolutely blows my mind that someone cares what I'm doing with my day. So I'm still getting used to Tweeting things about my life, like the hilarious thing my grandma said at dinner. She should really have her own Twitter page because people love those quotes! I've really, really enjoyed interacting with fans. Being able to respond to them directly and tell them "thank you" for their support is the best.
9) TopNotch(r) Entertainment is a family business that you operate with your father Vincent, your sister Victoria, and your newest member Michael Eagan. Please tell us about some of the challenges of running your own independent label and the role that each of you perform in the process of recording and marketing your music? Are there ever any ... um ... disagreements?
Disagreements in families? That NEVER happens! (Kidding ... of course it does). But I truly believe one of the main strengths of our record label is that we are always open and honest with one another because we aren't afraid to have disagreements. In a corporate hierarchical environment, there can be a tendency to tip toe around others that may wield more power and not give opinions or offer up innovation. We are constantly searching for ways to "battle Goliath" as we often say- we have to do things differently and that's both a challenge and an opportunity. We each have specialized roles. For example, I take care of the creative outputs, music, artwork, and artistic vision, but we all work together in making each decision. Marketing music in this crowded field is difficult, but we are working to cut through the noise.
10) What's in store for the future? Do you have any upcoming recording sessions, collaborations, or special events planned?
So I've been working on an album for a while, and it has taken me so long because I'm a perfectionist and that's sometimes a problem. But in this case I think it's a very good thing. I'm so proud of the songs I've written and produced. But it will be out soon! I've also been working on another venture which is a TV show. It's all very exciting!
What do you do in your spare time? When you aren't performing or recording new material, what do you all like to do for fun?
I love to cook! I recently went to Le Cordon Bleu in London where I graduated with honors with my Chef de Cuisine degree. It was an incredible experience!
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
I drink a lot of Throat Coat tea with honey, then immediately regret it when I have to use the restroom halfway through my set. And yet, I continue to do it every single time.
Who are some of the artists we might find on some of your playlist now?
Marvin Gaye, Tori Kelly, Elle King, Drake, and Ginny Blackmore
Is there anything in particular that you'd like people to take away from listening to your music?
I hope they enjoy it and connect with it most of all. That's all a songwriter could ever want.