Artist Development Student

Hi! My name is Whitney and I am one of three children, if you count my beloved labrador, George Washington. I was born in Richmond and I’ve lived here most of my life. Based on my looks I am definitely my parents’ child, but my interests have always been different than the rest of the family. I am the ‘artsy’ one in a line of athletes. From my makeshift concerts on the fireplace, to my countless sketchbooks, to my hours of baking, my outlets for creativity have changed throughout the years: dance, interior and fashion design, reading, writing, painting, cake decorating, drawing, cooking, photography, and now here we are at music. By no means do I consider myself a musician; I can halfway play the guitar and I can mess around on a keyboard for fun, but nothing more. Singing is where I let go. I connect with others, myself, and God through my voice. My style in music has been heavily influenced by growing up in Baptist churches. Any music that makes me feel, whether happy, sad, or motivated, is what I listen to, it doesn’t matter the genre. That being said though, country music is my one true love. If you ask me, there is nothing better than a twangy soulful voice and a guitar.

Wildflowers are amazing aren’t they? While most people see them as pesty weeds, I have always thought them to be absolutely beautiful. They grow where they are planted. They don’t rely on anyone. They spread quickly and freely. They know no boundaries. This song was really meant to be an inspiration. The lyrics are the words I wanted to hear from someone for a long time. Feeling lonely, anxious, and misunderstood have always been problems for me. Since I was a little girl, I have been a dreamer, and also extremely stubborn. When I was born, I refused to be swaddled and my mom always says that’s the moment she knew I was going to be different, “You cannot be contained.” she says. I have all of these outrageous ideas and goals for myself that not many people get. As I’ve grown older, I have more and more of an itch to get out of the West End suburbia of Short Pump. I want to see the world and serve it. Wildflowers is a song that should remind everyone that sometimes you have to forget the rest of the world and be alone. You have to let yourself be free and pursue what brings you joy. And through all of it; when you are inspired and when you are exhausted, Christ will always be there.

What Passion Academy means to Whitney

Passion Academy is a really special place to me. I started with guitar and soon added vocal lessons in eighth grade. At my first voice lesson I remember being told to sing louder, something I was told quite often. Singing was something that gave me more anxiety than comfort at that point. As the months progressed I became more and more comfortable with my voice and my skills improved. It is so hard to believe that I was ever so timid about singing. Freshman year, I was given the opportunity to be in the Band Development Program. My year or so as a part of 7Days is probably the thing that helped me overcome my fears the most. I gained experience working with different students and mentors who encouraged me and challenged me often. Now, in Artist Development Program, I have also been pushed out of my comfort zone by writing from my heart and being unafraid to mess up. Music has become even more personal to me. The past three years have brought me undeniable growth and I wouldn’t be here without Passion Academy.

Photography by Claire Winterling

Purchase/Listen to Whitney’s new single Wildflowers
(Released May 2017)

Produced by Media Production mentor Joel Woods

Connect with Whitney