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Music by lesbian singer-songwriter

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Showing 51-75 of 81 posts in this discussion
Posted on Dec 19, 2012 3:25:59 AM PST
Arseface says:
Is self-promotion even allowed here? Just askin'
People get all jumpy whenever authors do that with their books...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 5:42:36 AM PST
Phil Maderia is the man! Best of luck with your project.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 6:28:17 AM PST
Arseface says:
Is self-promotion even allowed here? Just askin'

Since Amazon hasn't deleted this thread, apparently it is; as long as the artist is up-front about it, as this artist is, I see no problem.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:17:18 AM PST

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 8:54:17 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ doodah man

You don't have to label yourself a "straight heterosexual male" because it will be assumed by the majority. That's my point. When you belong to a groups outside the majority, you can label yourself or you can wait until others find out that you're "different", and then, they will label you.

I don't understand why my music can't speak for itself even if I label myself a "lesbian" - the music is still the music with or without the label.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 8:59:19 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ Studebacher Hoch

I really love your comment that "music has to be personally authentic" - I think that's very true. In the past, I was trying to write songs that were "universal" and not "personally authentic". The songs on the album Save Me (The Mercies) are personally authentic. The title track tells about my personal struggle with my identity as a lesbian. It's not a simple struggle when you realize this around age 8 and also realize that it wouldn't be wise to tell anyone (especially your parents). There are real ramifications on a personal level for being who you are when you're a lesbian.

Even though my music is personally authentic (I believe), I still think it has a universal appeal. With the exception of the song "Dear God", I think anyone can relate to any of the songs on the album.

Studebacher Hoch - What song do you like from the Save Me?

Listen here to full length version -

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:01:43 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ Timothy Schubert

Thanks for your detailed reply. What do you think of my music??? Don't think the songs are universal on the album (except for Dear God)???

Since you're a BIG BEATLE's FAN, what do you think of my cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"?

You listen to the full version here -

Thanks, Karen

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:09:58 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ E. Dill

Thanks for chiming (no pun intended - well, yes, pun intended) in. You don't sound anti-gay to me. It's good to ask questions. I think people are many things and belong to many different cultural groups. Nobody is simply a "gay artist" because people are much more complex than that. We simultaneously belong to many cultural groups. For example, I'm female. I'm white. I'm highly educated (doctoral level). I'm into fishing. I'm into knitting. I'm into cooking. I'm into reading. I'm a former teacher. I'm a geek, too. I'm from Texas (don't get me started on that one). I'm a musician. I'm a singer. I'm a guitarist. I'm a lesbian. Out of all those circles and labels, lesbian is that one that people usually have an emotional reaction to and that's why the label sticks out of all the others.

So... as far as the "gay culture"... I'm part of it, and my music is part of it simply because I'm gay.

Thanks for listening to my music. If you want to hear the full tracks, you can also listen at


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:10:55 AM PST
Severin says:
I live in England in the early '80s and back then people signaled their sexuality by which ear had an earring in it. Subtle but useful.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:15:50 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ Mark Bumgardner

No doubt! Phil Madeira is the man! Working with him was a dream come true. We stayed in Nashville for 2 weeks recording the album. We tracked the acoustic guitar and lead vocals (me), bass, and drums at The Rendering Plan with engineer Brian "Brian" Harrison. The, we went into Phil's studio while he added electric guitar and Hammond B3. Let me tell you...hearing him play that organ in person was a spiritual experience. Thanks so much for posting!


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:18:59 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ Arseface

I also reviewed my own album. I read the guidelines carefully. Amazon says that if you state upfront that you are the artist or the author and you write something that is relevant to the music or book, then it's okay. Amazon still reserves the right to approve it or not. I'm sincerely interested in getting some feedback about my music. I thought people who are active in the Music Forum would probably be interested in giving feedback.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 2:27:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 2:28:40 PM PST
MC Zaptone says:
I'm confused, why would admitting you're gay decrease your audience? I would say, marketing wise the exact opposite is true. It certainly didn't harm the carriers of Freddy Mercury, Marc Almond, Neil Tennant, George Michael, Chris Lowe, Elton John, Erasure or k.d.Lang, Sarah Jane Morris and a whole slew of others. We are living in 2013, I don't think anybody really cares anymore, do they? On the other hand if it helps an artist come to terms with their own identity, then it can only be praised.
Karen Kay I wish you the world and happiness within it. Only someone f,ed up would judge you on anything but your own merit as a human being and artist.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 2:56:23 PM PST
E. Dill says:
Karen Kay Whitley:

<<I think people are many things and belong to many different cultural groups. Nobody is simply a "gay artist" because people are much more complex than that. We simultaneously belong to many cultural groups.>>

I'd have a problem with a lot of them, too. What is "the white culture"? The "highly educated culture"? The "knitting culture"? The "female culture"? For me, they are much too broad to be suggesting a specific cultural uniqueness. And that's why I question what the "gay culture" means AS a culture.

Let me check with the closest dictionary to me and throw out a few definitions of "culture".....

A person or society that arises from an interest in and acquaintance with what is generally regarded as excellence in arts, letters manners, scholarly pursuits.

A particular form or stage of civilization, e.g., "Greek culture". (Note: I should have picked another country, since that has another slang meaning which I'll ignore for now.)

The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

Perhaps my initial problem with the notion of "gay culture" places too much emphasis on the first definition, i.e., that is deals directly with how members of the group (whether they be gays or knitters)uniquely pursue scholarly and/or artistic matters.

So, someone who is gay is attracted, physically and sexually, to one's own sex. Considering the huge differences in the makeup of all gays, i.e, race, sex, physicality, innate intelligence, education, family background, ethnicity, religion, etc. etc. etc., I'm puzzled by how a "gay culture" could mean ANYTHING other than the initial definition, i.e., an attraction to ones own sex. So, culturally speaking, other than the sex, is the only issue that would seem to influence the culture would be the political and social problems in being accepted and allowed to function in a society where heterosexuality is considered the norm and homosexuality is often shunned, mocked and denied the right to marriage, etc. When I say "the only issue", I'm not suggesting it is not a BIG issue. I'm just wondering about the intent of the sensibility of a "gay culture", as if ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, culturally speaking, would be influenced by it. Would we say the same about every man or every woman, everyone Chinese or Armenian, everyone who knits and everyone who doesn't....?

I know. I'm making a mountain out of a molehill....or maybe another mountain. I say all of this because I don't like to pigeonhole all gays or straights or males or females or blacks or whites as part of a easily identifiable group, not only by looks but by behavior, intelligence, manner, etc.

I think I need to get back to the music, or, one might say, the "music culture".


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 3:16:12 PM PST
Severin says:
The "knitting culture" is the funniest group, they'll always leave you in stitches.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 3:33:14 PM PST
E. Dill says:
@Donald J. Nelson:

You're just trying to needle me now...

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 3:38:47 PM PST
E. Dill says:
If I was gay, would I want to be somehow identified, culturally, with Mapplethorpe's "Cross in Urine"?

For that matter, as a white, do I want to be identified culturally with some racist in Birmingham or Cleveland (and I'm NOT talking about Tennessee)...

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:02:11 PM PST
E. Dill says:
@Karen Kay Whitley:

Well, I made use of that second site and managed to listen to the entire album. Thanks.

Some comments:

My favorite track, oddly, is the first one. I love the song and think the instrumental arrangement is dynamite. When I first used that other site to sample 4 of the songs, I had problems with song #1. I mean, I loved it but had some issues with vocal intonation. I use that term and frankly, have an unclear sense of what it means. Let's put it this way. Having never been in a recording studio, I'm guessing that multiple takes would be used sometimes to alter the manner by which the lyrics are expressed....not so much a change in tempo but in emphasis, etc. For some reason, the word "happiness" irritated me....not the concept of "happiness", just the sound of it in the song. Weird, I know but that happens to me alot. One of the reasons I'm always expecting to dislike aspects of live performances is that they may, in order to give it a freshness, alter certain aspects of the vocal intonation and sometimes it literally ruins things for me. Not always. But sometimes, emphasizing a different syllable disappoints me and my sense of the sound. I know this sounds soooo anal. Also, the first time I heard the song, I thought you'd spent a lot of time in a lower register with not much alteration of sound. It definitely happened on "My Sweet Lord". I just thought the repetition of "my sweet lord" could have been altered somehow....

But, I DO like your voice. It can be quite expressive within the context of the song. The only song I didn't much care for was the last one. I guess the best way to describe my dislike of it is that the lyric, while heartfelt, needed some sense of metaphor. When things are THAT emotional, it helps, for me as a listener, to not lay out everything so openly and literally. I realize that my saying that sounds a bit insulting. You're writing and singing something so personal and, I'm guessing emotional, and I'm seemingly telling you to hide it metaphorically. What can I say? I once criticized something similarly and used Dylan's great ability (to me anyway) to use language poetically to convey a deep felt emotion. Then I remembered one where he DIDN'T even try that I LOVED! Masters of War. No metaphor there. He lays it all out so brutally that he even ends with him wanting to "watch them die". What can I say. My reaction to such things is never consistent. Just honest.

Anyway, thanks again. So, essentially, I only had a few minor issues with, again, some vocal intonations that I would have liked differently. I, again, liked your voice, the songs (except for #10....I remember not liking how the word "discrimination" was was obviously an apropos word to use but it seemed to hang out there, not so much as a lyric.

I did order the album and I think I actually managed to stumble thru the downloading process so that I did find it somewhere on my computer. I AM a moron when it comes to the technology of the computer. I spend ALL my time on music message boards, music sites like allmusic, amazon, fastnbulbous, rateyourmusic, metacritic, etc. and doing info searches on google.....oh yeah, and on youtube.

Thanks for a nice addition to my musical library. And good luck in your continued musical efforts. Let us know. We'll be looking for you.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 7:33:24 PM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ E

WOW! Thanks for all the feedback. You have a great ear for details. When you say "intonation", I think you're talking about which parts (syllables) of the words I emphasize or stress. Ironically, I just started working with a lyricist who has been helping me understand the "inherent rhythm" in words and phrases. Maybe you have a knack for feeling or hearing the inherent rhythm in language, so when a singer doesn't sing the words like your brain imagines them to sound, it bugs you. I can tell you that my first sessions with the lyricist were shocking to me because we went over every word on every line multiple times for me to get the stresses correct. I feel like really good about what I'm learning.

Thanks for giving my music a real listen and for adding it to your music collection! I've enjoyed reading your posts. You make excellent points about culture. And, I also love going to the dictionary as a starting point. I even have an OED (the compact edition) and a special table for it.

Keep in touch! Karen

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 9:35:01 PM PST
D. Mok says:
> I just started working with a lyricist who has been helping me understand the "inherent rhythm" in words and phrases.

That's good. Most songwriters just put poetry to music, and the words don't flow. Studying proper poetry (scansion) would help. Modern writers are weaned on free verse and often don't understand cadence, stresses and meter. Good rappers are masters at making words musical and rhythmic -- Eminem, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Doggy Dogg, Inspectah Deck. Good lyricists know how to shape their words to the song, not the other way around. If you're so hung up on what you wrote on paper that you can't substitute "darling" for "honey", or "heart" for "soul", then you won't be able to write great lyrics. Great lyrics have to be good sounds on their own even when stripped of literal meaning -- like a good guitar phrase or drum hook.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 6:13:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 6:14:50 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ D. Mok

Thanks for providing the term "scansion" - I couldn't think of it last night when writing my post. The lyricist brought up "scansion", and I didn't know what it meant. I felt a little embarrassed since I have a BA in English. I never took any courses in poetry. I'm learning a lot on this new project.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 6:19:42 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ MC Williams

Thanks! Without getting too deep into personal stuff, I can tell you that openly identifying myself as a lesbain has helped me come to terms with my own identity. Thanks for the well wishes.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 6:35:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 8:19:48 AM PST
D. Mok says:
Here's a great example of *bad* scansion -- Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life":

I feel LIKE this is THE BEginNING
Though I've LOVED you for a million years
And if I thought OUR love WAS enDING
I'd find myself, drowning in my own tears (this line scans)

You must HAVE know THAT I WAS loneLY
Because you came to my resCUE
And I know that THIS must BE heaVEN

I always use that second verse as an example of horrendous lyric writing. It mangles the natural rhythm of the words, forcing it into a melody that doesn't fit. And it could've been fixed easily with just a bit of rewriting and rearranging of the syntax. For example, the problem in the first verse is that the melody stresses the last syllable, yet Wonder bizarrely chose "feminine rhymes" ("ENDing", "beGINning"), so now all of a sudden he had to put the stress on a syllable ("-ing") -- the imperfect -- which is NEVER stressed. The second verse sounds horrible from a lyric standpoint because Wonder is forcing all these trochaic feet ("REScue", "HEAven", "LONEly") into a melody that needed iambic feet. If he had ended the lines with "aLONE", "SAVED my LIFE" and "PAraDISE", for example, he wouldn't have had this problem.

On the chorus, the lines actually scan very well: "Apple of my eye" is an especially wonderful phrase that's very musical, fits the melody like a glove. But then on the third chorus, for no good reason, Wonder changes the last line from "Forever you'll be in my heart" to "Forever you'll stay in my soul". He had a great bit of lyric, and he chose to change it to something mediocre. Why? Just for the sake of differentiation where none was needed. Why is "in my heart" so much better than "in my soul"? Because "heart" is a similar sound to the B rhyme before it -- "That's why I'll always be around". By changing the word to "soul", Wonder eliminated the sonic connection that made the line good. That, and "heart" is a stronger syllable than "soul" -- the open "A" creates much more of a sense of purpose than the closed "soul".

Now, these following songs are master classes in lyrics. Try scanning these lyrics sometime. People don't think of "Billie Jean" as a classic poetic lyric, but it's actually a masterpiece in word choice and placement.

"American Pie", Don McLean
"Billie Jean", Michael Jackson
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", U2
"Neptune", The Poozies (Jim Malcolm)
"My Girl", The Temptations (Smokey Robinson)
"Oh, Pretty Woman", Roy Orbison
"Mr. Tambourine Man", Bob Dylan
"The River", Bruce Springsteen

What you're like as a singer plays heavily into how you write lyrics. Michael Jackson's lyrics flow very well because he often phrases his lyrics musically, timing his enunciation to make something rhythmic. The Notorious B.I.G. does that as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 7:19:18 AM PST
Whit Whitley says:
@ D. Mok

Thanks for the explanation and list of master lyrics. How do you know so much about scansion?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:13:50 AM PST
E. Dill says:
@D. Mok:

<<Good rappers are masters at making words musical and rhythmic -- Eminem, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Doggy Dogg, Inspectah Deck.>>

My problem with Eminem (and perhaps other well thought of rappers) is that he often is forced to accent the wrong syllable to get the proper rhythm. Sometimes it just sounds clumsy to me. I guess sometimes it can be funny.

For some reason, Dylan can insert a rhyming word that seems to come out of nowhere and it seems to work metaphorically even if there is a randomness to it.


It's all personal taste, I guess, and the way our psyche reacts to certain stimuli.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:18:43 AM PST
D. Mok says:
> Thanks for the explanation and list of master lyrics. How do you know so much about scansion?

I have a BAH in English Literature and I've been writing songs for 20 years, and my focus in English literature was Romantic poetry. I also always liked popular ballads, which were very musical, as was Chaucer's Middle English poetry. All language is based on sound (speech), not visuals (reading). If you can trust your ear and your mouth, rather than focus too much on the paper/computer writing process (eyes), you'll come up with great lyrics. Shakespeare is exalted for the way his language sounds, not how it reads on paper. When you read your English literature, did you ever try read it aloud? It makes a *massive* difference in terms of the sensual experience of literature.
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Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  81
Initial post:  Dec 16, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 9, 2013

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