16: Singing About Death, Gay Stuff and Women with Lindsay White

Lindsay White
Singer-Songwriter | San Diego
Website | Spotify | iTunes | Patreon | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

“It’s not a Lindsay White show unless I’ve talked about dead people, gay people, and women.” Lindsay White is a singer-songwriter from San Diego. She grew up in a religious home and faced huge relationship challenges with her family after she discovered she was gay and divorced her husband. She’s lost many people in her life, including her mother who died of brain cancer. Lindsay is a voice of acceptance; using her music to heal through grief, empowering women to advocate for themselves, representing the gay community and encouraging everyone to cherish the limited time they have together. After years of working herself to the bone to build her music career, she is now prioritizing living in the present moment and making an impact without burning out. Lindsay started Lady Brain Collective, a group of female artists in San Diego who meet regularly and support each other through this crazy life as creative entrepreneurs. Lindsay and I recorded this conversation at the Beacon Hill Playground on a sunny spring morning while she was touring through Seattle.

BEST QUOTES

“The biggest compliment anyone can pay you as an artist is “You articulated that in a way I’ve never been able to. You made me feel seen.” -- Lindsay White

“I had a 6th gear. I was just like a machine. I would book all our stuff and send out a zillion emails a day. Things were moving because I was on it and then when my mom got sick and died I lost that energy. It just feel out. I don’t know that I’ve even gotten nearly as much back as I used to have. I’m okay with that. I’m not as future sighted as I used to be back then, like: We gotta make it happen. We’re gonna make it happen. Now, it’s just like how can I wake up and have a good day and cross a few things off my list and not drive myself crazy. The tone and the pace has definitely slowed down for me; gaining that perspective from grief and not wanting to whip myself into a frenzy anymore. I can still be fulfilled creatively and make an impact without running myself into the ground.”  -- Lindsay White

“I didn’t use to put a second paragraph about me in my bio because I felt like it was too political or too on my soapbox about me being an intersectional feminist, grief support advocate, mental health advocate, queer, all these things that are who I am and I carry those things with me in every performance whether people realize it or not. I used to be scared to put it in my bio because what if I don’t get the show...because I said the word queer feminist in my bio. Recently, I’ve just said fuck it! I don’t want to work with people who aren’t into that anyway so maybe it will work as a shield to protect me from the kinds of people that I don’t really want to surround myself with and help me to surround myself with the kinds of people that I do.” -- Lindsay White

“What are you doing as an artist if you aren’t sticking your flag in the fricken sand and saying this is who I am?” -- Lindsay White

“You spend a lot of time as a young artist trying to be everything to everyone and I think it’s because you haven’t really honed what your why is or what you’re going after and when you’re young you just want to ‘make it.” -- Lindsay White

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QUESTIONS FROM OTHER MUSICIANS

“How do you make social media feel less like a chore?”
Q from Heather Edgley (Episode 6: Facing Fear & Organizing Creative Local Shows)

“Social media is obviously the worst in many ways but it also provides us with so many opportunities to connect...Use it for good instead of evil. Bring authenticity to it. Throw out your bat signal to say this is who I am. Be as authentic and genuine with your content as possible instead of just using it as a time waster or comparison mechanism. I went down dark holes on social media where people who I consider to be my friends or colleges in the music industry have gone up and up in their career while I’m feeling stagnant and I felt the sick comparison envy that social media can bread sometimes is not healthy at all. One of the things that motivated me to start my creative women’s collection called LadyBrain was the isolation that was coming from my isolation with my experience on social media. I knew all these wonderful talented women in San Diego that I liked through social media and I felt like I knew them...I asked, how can we create a situation where we’re meeting in real time, in a real place, with each other, developing actual relationships with each other, hearing each other out on the stuff that’s maybe not so comfortable to talk about on social media, because you don’t want to be a complainer. But we’re all experiencing similar struggles in this industry as women and it started as a little brunch at my house with 10 women. It’s turned into a 50 member thing. We meet monthly to have a workshop or talk about some issue we’re dealing with. It’s not just musicians. It’s artists of all sorts. We do community showcases where we put on concerts for people to come to. We have an online shared spreadsheet where we pool our resources together like booking contacts, press contacts. We have a social media pod where we engage with each other’s posts on purpose to help each other with the algorithm. We write reviews for each other on our blog. Wherever there’s a need, we’re doing a whole 100% women fronted festival. We don’t complain that we’re women and we don’t have opportunities. We make the opportunities for ourselves. Now I have friends. It’s not just social media and seeing someone I know out in town. Now she’s my buddy. I know how many kids she has, I know what she’s going through, I know what her challenges are as a musician, I know how she needs help. We’re just starting and I’m already so grateful for it… I had facilitated a community out of a bat signal. I asked, “Hey do you guys feel lonely too? And everybody was like “Yes, we do! Let’s get together!.It’s turned into a cool tribe of women; so awesome and powerful and together it feels like a force.” — Lindsay White on Lady Brain Collective


“Why do you make music?”
Q from Drea Marilyn (Episode 2: ‘Because It’s Fun’ is the best reason)

“I think I would die if I didn’t, or be an alcoholic or something. It’s the healthiest way for me to give a status report for what’s going on in there. For myself and for other people.” — Lindsay White


“Are you focused more on building your following locally, globally or online?”
Q from Spence Hood (Episode 5: Expressing Yourself and Building a Cohesive Brand on Instagram with Spence Hood)

“I do a little bit of everything but my main goal is to get to a point where I am a recognized name in the national folk scene; whether that’s through playing shows in the folk scene, or through people sharing music with their friends.The ship sailed in San Diego. People know who I am there but there is not a strong songwriting community or listening room venues. Nationally there is more opportunities for songwriters and listening room opportunities because there’s only so much I can do there. I love San Diego and the music scene there has its own flavor but as far as trying to get to that stage in my career as a folk artists, I want to launch from house shows to theaters. Milk Carton Kids have the career that I want. They play sit down shows in theaters and people come and they sit and they listen and hang on to every word and that’s the kind of career I want. I don’t want to play in bars and big clubs.” -- Lindsay White


“What do you want out of a performance? Why are you on stage? What are you getting?”
Q from Katie Kuffel (Ep. 7: I Realized There’s a “Fuck It” Adjustment That Comes with Being a Musician)

“When somebody sees seen during one of my songs that I perform, that makes me feel heard. It this reciprocal relationship. Writing the song was my therapy back when I wrote it but performing the song is more about having a conversation with the audience. It’s the bat signal. Does anybody out there ever feel like this? Can you relate to this? When people even respond by nodding, laughing, or crying, that’s all I want. I want money too. I want to pay my rent and put food in my mouth. The biggest thing I want out of it is a ‘me too’. That’s why I’m on stage.” And I’d rather not do gigs where I know I’m not going to get that opportunity. If it’s not a listening room opportunity or for money (because I do a lot of background music gigs for money playing other people’s songs) then what’s the point? I want to say something. I don’t want to just take up space for no reason. I want to have a purpose.” -- Lindsay White


“What does it mean to take up space?”
Q from Cha Wilde

“It’s about expressing what’s going on on the inside, outwardly and not being ashamed or apologetic about it. It’s a worts and all approach through moving through world and knowing that you have just as much right to do that as anybody else. Taking up space is also about acknowledging other people taking up space too because we don’t do that enough either.” — Lindsay White


QUESTION FROM LINDSAY WHITE

“What traumatic experience changed you for the better?”

Lindsay’s Answer
:
“My relationship with my mom and her death. I continue to learn so much from that relationship as hard as it was. It’s really informed the way I communicate with people, the choices I make about my life, my songwriting, really everything in my life circle back to that experience in some positive way. It was a lot of pain but also a lot of wisdom came out of it.”

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Wilde Musicians Podcast - 16 - Lindsay White Music

HOW TO BE A GOOD FAN
→ Subscribe to Lindsay’s Patreon squad: https://www.patreon.com/lindsaywhitemusic
→ Share Lindsay’s music: https://www.lindsaywhitemusic.com/
→ Join or start a Lady Brain https://www.lindsaywhitemusic.com/blog/lady-brain-collective
→ Be Good to Yourself ❤

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

0-25 MINUTES

“It’s so scary taking that first step because you’re like ‘what the hell do I know about anything’ and ‘I don’t have the money to afford this gear’ and you give yourself all these reasons why you shouldn’t do it but at the end of the day when you actually sit down and record something, it might take you a million times to get it right, but...when you finally do get a good take... and it works, you’re like “I did that! We did that!” -- Lindsay White

“Just gay stuff.” -- Lindsay White

“Life is so short. Do you really want to meet me in an emergency room or at someone’s funeral? These are our options as gay kids. We get to meet people in the worst circumstances. Wouldn’t you rather just meet us in a coffee shop?” -- Lindsay White

“One of the things that I want to do with my music is make people who have been through those experiences feel not so alone.”  -- Lindsay White

“That’s the cool thing about music. I can play a show or concert in some city somewhere and someone is affected by it and makes a point to reach out to me, I’ve developed really close friendships that way. The biggest compliment anyone can pay you as an artist is “You articulated that in a way I’ve never been able to. You made me feel seen.” What else do you want as a creative person.” -- Lindsay White

“I was playing in my church when I was like 5, I was up there in pampers and a microphone….No joke! And then I kind of took a turn down the athletic side of my personality and my dad was a basketball coach, I played basketball all my life and played in college and I thought I was going to be a basketball coach like as a career and that’s what I did for one season when I graduated college so I was like on that track and then for some reason when I moved to San Diego I coached for one year and then I was like, I’m over it, like I just sort of was like boop! Close that chapter. And it was like a really easy decision after, like a grueling few years of this is what I’m gonna do and this is who I’m gonna be and I just did it for one season and was like nah. And then that’s when I took a hard turn into music and, okay, how am I gonna fill this like, creative side. And so I would say that was when I was about 23, so over 10- closer to 15, that I’ve been doing this.” -- Lindsay White

“With the Lovebirds I had a 6ths gear. I was just like a machine. I would book all our stuff and send out a zillion emails a day. Things were moving because I was on it and then when my mom got sick and died I lost that energy. It just feel out. I don’t know that I’ve even gotten nearly as much back as I used to have. I’m okay with that. I’m not as future sighted as I used to be back then, like: We gotta make it happen. We’re gonna make it happen. Now, it’s just like how can I wake up and have a good day and cross a few things off my list and not drive myself crazy. The tone and the pace has definitely slowed down for me; gaining that perspective from grief and not wanting to whip myself into a frenzy anymore. I can still be fulfilled creatively and make an impact without running myself into the ground.”  -- Lindsay White

“I’m so far ahead (in my mind) that I don’t even know what’s happening to me. I didn’t see it as a negative thing because it was a positive dream, being ambitious and hardworking but even that was stealing from my present moment.... No judgement towards hardworking ambitious people but there’s got to be some sort of balance or you’ll drive yourself crazy.” -- Lindsay White and Cha Wilde

25 MINUTES

“‘When am I going to be good enough?’ is essentially what you’re saying to yourself and the truth is you’re good enough now. Once you have that script change in your mind, life is so much more peaceful and you’re so much more okay with yourself. -- Lindsay White

“Women have a hard time taking up space. Once they find one thing they’re allowed to take up space in, they’re afraid to take up space somewhere else.” -- Lindsay White

“It’s so cool to see these women who have been going about their lives, they’re comfortable in their role as mom, corporate woman or whatever the case may be and they’ve always wanted to explore that badass side of them and they get to do it. It’s so fun and awesome to see how confident they become. Being in that safe space really matters because would they walk into a room with their co-workers or a group of men and do that? Probably not. But they’re in a room with all these women doing the same thing, going out of their comfort zone. It’s just wonderful.” -- Lindsay White

“Every instrument can give you something new; a new way to use your body.” -- Cha Wilde

30 MINUTES

“Stop saying you’re sorry. Women say I’m sorry so much. Replace it with “I rock” or “I’m sexy” or “Thank you. You change your mindset and you go around the world feeling powerful and grateful.” -- Cha Wilde

“I get the sense from the gay community that people feel they are broken. As much therapy as you go to, as much work as you do on yourself, if you didn’t get the support you needed from the people who were supposed to give you that support at a young age, I think you walk through life feeling fundamentally broken and it’s really hard to come to a place of acceptance, where you realize you’re not broken. Nothing was ever broken about me. There’s a ton of shame surrounding a lot of people in the queer community.” -- Lindsay White

“I’ve completely abandoned the religion I was raised in becauseit  was so fear based and I would say it was almost child abuse. Some of the things you learn really get in there and take a long time to rinse out. As much as I’ve rinsed, I still have moments where I think I’m probably going to hell and probably going to burn for eternity. I’ve done the work to know that that’s not true but it’s so in there and I’m still in some ways ashamed of myself and the wrong I’m doing and that came from people who loved me and wanted the best for me. No judgement to them because they were doing the best they could with the tools they had and that took me a long time to learn too, to not be angry about it. But when we’re doing that to the people we love, we are telling them that they are broken and that’s not okay.” -- Lindsay White

40 MINUTES

“I didn’t use to put a second paragraph about me in my bio because I felt like it was too political or too on my soapbox about me being an intersectional feminist, grief support advocate, mental health advocate, queer, all these things that are who I am and I carry those things with me in every performance whether people realize it or not and I used to be scared to put it in my bio because what if I don’t get the show or I make too big of an impression and they don’t get a sense of who I am because they make a caricature of me because I said the word queer feminist in my bio. Recently, I’ve just said fuck it! I don’t want to work with people who aren’t into that anyway so maybe it will work as a shield to protect me from the kinds of people that I don’t really want to surround myself with and help me to surround myself with the kinds of people that I do. Even that as a woman, took a really long time for me to do, to put it out there, let it attract people and repulse people. What are you doing as an artist if you aren’t sticking your flag in the fricken sand and saying this is who I am?-- Lindsay White

“If you don’t put your flag up then the people who need to find you can’t find you.” -- Cha Wilde

“You spend a lot of time as a young artist trying to be everything to everyone and I think it’s because you haven’t really honed what your why is or what you’re going after and when you’re young you just want to ‘make it.’ You could live a grueling lifestyle of trying to write a hit song or sell your song to some big name so you can make a million dollars but that’s never what I’ve been about, so why was I trying to be everything to everyone? So they could play me on a radio? Let’s just show our cards and say who we are. Those are the artists I like; the most authentic and vulnerable.” -- Lindsay White


RECORDED: May 5, 2019 in Beacon Hill Playground, Seattle

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