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Whitney Tai is not only one of the most soulful, forward thinking and productively positive people you may ever come across. She’s a natural talent who has a huge range to match her creative ambition. It’s our deep pleasure to premiere the new single "Good At Being Bad," a collaboration with respected producer Spencer Garn which blurs the line between soul, pop/electro, trip hop and beyond for a thrilling escape into reflection. The song has a laid back and almost jazzy feel with great dynamics that fans of Solange will likely respond to, as well as a sort of earthy and open quality that people who loved Gaga's new brilliant album Joanne will perk up for.

Tai is nonetheless her own animal, an extremely capable, intelligent and lovely person who has the potential to reach the stars. It was great to talk to her about her latest single and her new lifestyle brand GABB, among other things.

 

SEE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW >

 

 

 
     
   
   
 
 

SPACELAB: How does it feel to have the single arrive at last? You said you and Spencer put in long session days?

WHITNEY TAI: The long session days were sort of post-writing. He had come to visit me in New York prior to that and fussing around with a piano melody we really loved. I saw so much minimalist potential where it could kind of morph into anything it wanted to be. I just wanted it to be a feel good track that people can really vibe to. When I flew to Atlanta to actually work on vocals for a different track we picked up this one and spent days on end in the studio. It started as an exploration of sounds and an explosion of ideas. We would listen to a great DJ next door at a popular Mexican taco bar by the studio. We'd get really inspired by the genres from the DJ sets. We decided to make the song a build up story where people start to feel the sound. It took off from there.

SPACELAB: It works on a lot of micro levels and then peaks at the end, and you almost want to know what happens next!

WHITNEY TAI: We wanted to leave suspense at the end of the song to let your mind decide what you want the storyline to be. The song is more involving than telling, inviting into a feeling and narrative. You have the narrative of the music itself and the bad ass persona of being good at being bad, but also the flip side of a lyrical story. This girl is going crazy over her lover that it didn't work out with and saying ,"I should've known better." There is play in all aspects of the writing.

SPACELAB: There is a sense of learning a lesson also.

WHITNEY TAI: Sometimes at the end of a bad experience you want to grow but there is also some comfort in being stuck where you are, a battle in yourself of wanting to get out of comfort zones you maybe get stuck in all the time. I think that it’s a nice resolution as we go into 2017 for people who are afraid to make a change. I'm always one of those preachers of ,"Everyday can be a time to change." But how do we get ready? Music for me has always been a way to provide that, to get through. I'd like to give that to someone else as well.

SPACELAB: You write poetry and inspiring quotes also, and some of that blends into your music, I feel. Is it a way for you to keep having breakthroughs yourself that you hope to share?

WHITNEY TAI: As someone who has been through a lot of loss, writing is my way of healing but wanting to heal others. When people say they know how you feel, nine out of ten times they might not. I like to be the empathetic shoulder people can lean on. A macrocosmic kind of thing. Really thinking of everyone and paying it forward. Giving people a platform to talk, relate and connect.

 
 
     
   
     
 
 

SPACELAB: Did this also lead you to want to start your GABB lifestyle brand? It’s sort of classy but colorful, spiritual, and works on different levels like much of your music and writing.

WHITNEY TAI: Yeah, this venture has kind of been a long time coming. I have an entrepreneur's mentality. My mother was an entrepreneur and my dad ... was not one but he was head of the sector of his business. I've always been around people who strove to set goals. I have a background in fine arts. As someone so hyper creative, I need to work in a visual sense as well sometimes. My songs ... when I write I think in a color palette, not just one dimensional.

SPACELAB: More than some performers you seem to inhabit this other energy. You or someone like Eriel Indigo, you see pictures and want to know more.

WHITNEY TAI: My mind is an interesting place. Sometimes you don't have to talk to people, like when you make eye contact with a person who is expressive and you already know what they are thinking. I want to communicate feeling with visuals, music and poetry. That's how my mind works. Even with videos, I love acting. There is an undercurrent to everything I am doing. When you have a show people are coming for an experience. As an artist or brand you aren't just selling music but something people can become excited about. If you aren't embracing all those elements you are missing out. Music is through every sense that you have, including the eyes. I like to make people feel. If you write an album, every performance you can make it a new experience every time if you are that deconstructive of a thinker.

SPACELAB: Does it ever make you nervous to put yourself out there? You have talent and know what you want but there is a personal element.

WHITNEY TAI: I've never had fright when it came to sharing my experiences. I'm not living inside my head. I know the world is much bigger than me. Other people are deserving to know what you are going through. They might be going through the same. We need one another to learn. I believe in what I am doing so much that it bypasses the fear. Fear to me is useless. It keeps you from your greatness. I don't have time for that (laughing). Whenever I hear fear knocking at my door I am like ,"Yeah, but I have things to do. I can't accommodate you at this time."

SPACELAB: Did you always want to sing?


WHITNEY TAI: I always have. It's something my parents noticed me doing very early on. Once they heard it they were like ,"Oh, this is what we're dealing with here." They saw I had a passion and wanted to encourage me. I started to also write poetry at 7 or 8, very young. And I would put on little plays. Just me, myself and I as an actress. My earliest memories of music are of writing musicals! In my room or yard with my friends. I had a very vivid imagination.

SPACELAB: Were you micromanaging your friends?

WHITNEY TAI: (laughing) I'm more of a creator than a dictator. I wasn't that psycho about it.

SPACELAB: You seem to like the energy exchange of collaboration anyway. How did you come to work with Spencer Garn?

Whitney: When I released my first single I didn't know anyone and started emailing some of the top producers, just to hear their feedback. A lot of them responded and I loved their work so I kept in contact. Spencer was one of them and we said we should work together sometime. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to build those relationships because now they are also evolving my skills as an artist.

SPACELAB: I love that you seem, even on the poppier stuff of yours, to have a human quality. Even the hookiest parts feel like a person more than a robot.

WHITNEY TAI: It's important for people to know that people are still talking to them. How many songs saved your life in your lifetime? You probably can't count on your fingers.

SPACELAB: It's extra for me. I needed constant life saving through really unlistenable, extreme music (laughing). And George Michael. Everyone good died last year! You are the new flame! My new hope!

WHITNEY TAI: (laughing) Shhhh!! I was very upset about the George Michael thing. I've always loved those vocalists who make the hairs on your arms stand up.

 
 
     
     
 
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