We're very excited to introduce this next lady to you. In one of her previous guises, Whinnie Williams was one of the first pop acts we ever saw live back in 2010. Now, five years on, she's refined her sound, bossed the songwriting game, and developed what can only be described as "one of our favourite pop styles ever".
We can't quite work out how to describe it. Having a bit of a cheeky Google brings up the phrase "Del Boy meets Brigitte Bardot", which sums it up pretty good, but it really is the kind of thing you just have to experience for yourself to understand. Luckily for you beautiful peeps, Whinnie took the time to chat to us about everything from songwriting to that oh so familiar process of self-doubt when creating art. Pour a brew, and have a read of what she's got to say...
There's lots of ace descriptions of you out there on the web, Bardot meets Del Boy comes up a lot. But how would you describe Whinnie Williams?
I feel that one suits it aesthetically and covers lots of bases. Cos I’m really inspired by women from the 60’s and 70’s. I grew up on hip-hop and R&B, love mixing/samples, that kind of thing. It’s quite eclectic, like a collage of really cool moments in history mixed with modern day stuff.
You’ve been writing and collaborating with some amazing people over the past few years, is there anyone left on the bucket list that you’d love to collaborate with?
In a dream world someone like Kanye would be insane. Andre 3000 maybe. Or Kelis, I love her... Bruno Mars! Mark Ronson would be crazy.
The video for Too Strong is out there, and it's pretty damn awesome. As is the tune - but how did the song come about?
I’ve been working with Future Cut on this album/project. They’d send me tracks, three or four at a time, and let me have a go at them. Too Strong was the hardest one I’d been sent cos it has the vocal sample over the top, which I kept in. But at the time I was like “how am I gonna write over this?” And then I was at home and this melody came out for the chorus, and after that it all came really easily.
I’d had “too strong for too long” written in my phone for ages, and having the vocal of this old soul guy singing on it, just conjured up this idea of how men can find it difficult talking about when they’re down, feeling like they have to be tough all the time - I wanted to write a song about that. It’s not often talked or sung about. I just wanted to write a song for my brothers, my Dad, my boyfriend, all the boys I kinda know to say it’s okay.
The debut album, what can we expect?
I had a lot of songs already on the mixtapes and EP, but it’s really taken a turn. The first EP was finding my sound, Too Strong has been the blueprint for a lot more songs like that using samples. And they're all written from a real place. I’m really enjoying writing at the minute.
What part of the music gives you the biggest buzz? The writing? The buzz of playing live?
I find the songwriting process really painful. Any songwriter gets sent a track and you go “oh I love this”, then you think it’s shit, then “oh my god, it’s nice”, and it’s such a rollercoaster of emotions. Going from “I’m shit” to “actually I like this” is really stressful. But once I have a finished product, it makes me so happy. I’ve always been terrified of playing live cos I’m really shy. I’m shitting myself before I go on stage but then I actually get on stage and I’m like “this is amazing!” Live is such an extreme of emotions, it’s what gives me the biggest buzz.
Speaking of playing live, how was the Birthdays show?
It went really well. I’ve got a seven piece band now, all live. With Sunday Girl a lot of that was to the track, but now I’ve got these incredible musicians with me. It’s really fun. Proper music, I’m happy!
What’s one pop song you’re absolutely loving right now?
The new Snakehips and Tinashe - All My Friends. So catchy!
And who is your favourite pop star of all time?
Of all time? Elvis. Modern day - Taylor Swift.
Any artists out there we should keep an eye on?
I live with the sickest photographer in the world. And her boyfriend is in this band - Crystal Bats. They’ve got a video online from last year. We’ve got a studio in my house, and he’s writing this new EP which is sounding insane. Their new single is out in the new year, it’s gonna be amazing.
What does the new year see for Whinnie Williams?
I’d love to do a tour. We’re working on that at the minute. Putting another song out, shooting another video. Loads more plugging away and doing what I do.
We'd like to thank Whinnie for taking the time to answer these questions!
Are you in love with Whinnie as much as we are? She really is the perfect popstar package - an ace songwriter, killer voice, lovely personality, and with a sick aesthetic. The album is defo one of our most anticipated of 2016, we have no doubt it'll be worth the wait!
If you're UK based, you can catch Whinnie playing in London on Thursday! Star of Kings to be precise. You can cop tickets HERE! Much love x.