By Rachel Parsons
The quiet little theater on Main Street is alive and bustling with activity these days.
Now, rather than being the place where people come to see the stars perform, the Leeds Center for the Arts is the star. The hallmark of downtown Winchester has become the set for a music video by recording artist Jimmy White.
Although White is not exactly a household name, he’s been around the recording business for a long time.
“I always loved writing, ever since I was a little kid. I always had songs in my head. I’d be eight years old, mowing the lawn for my parents making up songs as I’d go,” said White.
White said writing lyrics is something that has come natural. Writing melodies and performing, on the other hand, were a little slower in coming. White confessed to battling extreme stage fright, and unlike most singers, he only began performing as a way to get his songs heard.
In college, White had to teach himself how to play the piano so he could write the melodies to accompany his lyrics.
“I started writing lyrics, and I couldn’t play the piano. I couldn’t find anybody to play for me, so I taught myself to play,” said White. “I started performing to get my songs out there.”
Stage fright is still a struggle, but White has learned to deal with it. Actually getting on stage is the hardest part, but once he starts singing, the fear usually subsides.
White has definitely reached a reflective stage in his career and his latest song, “Chasing The Wind,” is representative of some of the changes in his attitude, both toward music and toward life. The title “Chasing The Wind” is particularly significant for White, who was inspired by the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.
“It’s my idea of poking fun at myself,” said White. “I’ve had successes in life and experiences that people would love to have, but they weren’t quite it.” He compares the whole process of making an album and getting songs on the radio to chasing the wind.
White has also learned over the years not to take his writing too seriously, either. Nowadays, he’s more worried about having fun with his music and writing the kinds of songs that are meaningful to him than making sure he can be boxed into a particular genre. For a man who has spent many years chasing his dream of a musical career, learning to relax and trust the music has been truly liberating, and, White believes, it has allowed him to create some of his best songs.
“It’s by far the best thing I’ve done … . It’s just things I love,” White said. Talking about the latest phase in his career brings a big grin to his face, and he is reminiscent of a proud parent bragging about his child.
He also loves that his latest CD, “Two Cites”, has allowed him to explore his edgier, rock and roll side.
“It’s so cool!” White said, humming a few riffs and playing air guitar to emphasize his point. It is easy to imagine the 8-year-old boymaking up songs while mowing the yard is still a part of him.
White admitted that the songs on “Two Cites” like “Goddess” and “Tyrannosaurus Ex” are unlike anything he would have written in the past, but these days, he’s all about having fun with his music and being true to himself.
“I just do whatever I want to do,” White said of his approach to writing. “Things will work out if you stay true … I don’t edit myself too much anymore.”
White’s belief in staying true to oneself is one of the reasons why he’s having so much fun in Kentucky. For a boy raised in a small town in New Jersey, coming to Winchester is like a homecoming of sorts.The close-knit relationships and the friendly people are definitely near and dear to his heart.
“It’s warm and it’s friendly, and it’s exactly what makes life worth living,” said White. Despite all the joy that music brings him, at the end of the day, it’s a feeling of friendship and community that make him feel the most at peace.
“People that you love, in a place that’s home, that’s really the best thing in life. That’s really a gift from God.”
Contact Rachel Parsons at email@example.com.
Copyright:The Winchester Sun 2008