[PREMIERE]: Whissell Releases New Track ‘Pain of Love’
If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for a female artist who has the seductive dark rocker vibes of Alanis Morrisette, Courtney Love and Shirley Manson all wrapped into one. Though I do love straight-up pop music, there hasn’t really been much action on the chick rock scene in a while. Well, that’s about to change thanks to Whissell and her new track, “Pain of Love.”
Check the tune out and add it to your playlist as this one’s bound to be stuck in your head for a while. Peep our Q&A with Whissell below!
Where did you come from? How did you realize you could make music?
My family moved around a lot because of my parents jobs in the corporate world, but I went to high school in Orlando and then went to Florida State University, so I typically say I’m from Florida! In terms of singing, it has been my favorite thing to do since I was about four years old. It has always been a therapeutic thing for me. Even though I really loved it, a career in music seemed so far out of reach. I worked extremely hard in school, made good grades, and received a full scholarship to college — so to most people I knew, a logical career path would be one that was more professional. I always felt like I had this dream as a kid that I was supposed to be letting go of and “growing up,” but I could never shake it. It wasn’t until college, when I would drive around in my car and sing for hours and write songs, that I promised myself that after graduation I would try to pursue a career in music. After I graduated, I moved to Nashville. Then after about two years of living here, I met my manager. We started writing and developing my sound and once that felt right, I knew it was time to release something. It’s been almost two and a half years of writing and recording so I am beyond excited to finally put this music out into the world!
If you were to describe your sound, like Cyndi Lauper meets guitar metal, what would it be? If you were to tell someone about your music that hasn’t heard it, how would you want it described?
Grace Potter meets Adele meets Lana Del Rey. There are definitely elements of rock, soul, and pop throughout all of my songs. I really wanted to take blues-ier melodies then mix them with modern pop elements and sprinkle some dirty guitars throughout. I’m excited for you all to hear the EP when it comes out! One of the songs has a killer guitar solo.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I grew up listening to a lot of 60s and 70s music, so definitely Al Green, Bill Withers, Elvis, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, and The Eagles. But I’m also a big fan of Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and Adele. I can’t get enough of powerful female singers!
Tell us about “Pain of Love.” What inspired you to write it and what is it about?
I wanted to write a breakup song that was really honest. In the writing room, we all started talking about different relationships we had gone through and I explained that my worst breakup ended up being really empowering. It dragged on and on and then one day I realized that this guy wasn’t who I needed in my life and that I was going to be perfectly fine on my own. The song is me saying, “We had a great relationship, but you’re not the one for me. I’ve made my decision and I’m moving on.” Sometimes things just don’t work out. That doesn’t discredit what you had, you just have to chalk it up to the “Pain of Love.” I think people want to backtrack after a relationship is over and say things like “I never really loved you” but that’s not true. This is me being honest about what happened. It also comes from a place of confidence because I stood up for myself and then moved on!
Pick five words to describe “Pain of Love.”
Soulful, confident, honest, strong, and empowering
If “Pain of Love” were on a movie soundtrack, set to a specific scene maybe, what would it be and why?
Oooh, I’m going to go with a TV show on this one and say Scandal! Any of the scenes where Olivia Pope is standing up for herself or kicking some ass. There are so many, because she’s such a strong female character. I picture this song playing as she walks away, empowered, after saying something shocking to someone.
If you could play an acoustic show like MTV Unplugged (which comes back this Fall!), what songs would you cover?
I loved MTV Unplugged! I didn’t know it was coming back, so now I’m incredibly excited! I’d probably do a little 60’s cover medley- “The Letter” by the Box Tops, “Get Ready” by the Temptations, “Time of the Season” by the Zombies, “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis, and “Son of Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield. These were so hard to narrow down! I’ll probably pick 5 new ones tomorrow because I have too many favorite songs from that era.
Do you think it’s easier to be an artist in the day and age of digital music and Spotify? Do you think it’s harder to connect with people in terms of getting the music out there?
I definitely think it’s easier to be an artist nowadays. With social media, the reach alone is crazy. I can put a song out there and have a fan in Singapore find it and then actually tell me they like it on Instagram two minutes later. That’s incredible. I think when judging digital music platforms, such as Spotify, you have to decide what’s most important to you. For me, it’s always been about connecting with people. Digital platforms allow me to do that easily and for that I’m so thankful.
Does fashion play any role in who you are as an artist? If so, what kind of fashion do you like?
I love fashion! My day to day look is very casual- usually a vintage tee with some high waisted jeans, and half top knot (the hairstyle I can’t stop rocking). But for shows, I love to glam it up with shiny dresses or jumpsuits and anything that has fringe on it. I definitely love throwing in some 60s or 70s inspired pieces in there somewhere.
When can we expect to hear a full album from you?
My EP drops January 27th! I’m always writing, so hopefully a full length album will soon follow.
What’s next for you? Is there an upcoming tour?
No tour scheduled just yet. Right now the plan is to put my music into the world and keep connecting with people. I’m always writing, so I’ll continue to put new music out there. I’m sure a tour will come along someday, but no set dates for right now!
Photos by Chuck D Willis