“When people ask what I’m like onstage,” says Lindsay White, “I tell them to imagine Bob Dylan with a skirt.” The soulful singer-songwriter got her local start playing open mikes around town at venues like Lestat’s Coffee House in Normal Heights.
“At first, I gigged with nothing but my guitar and a mike stand, and that was really intimidating. Especially since coffee-shop people are usually just pounding on their laptops and ignoring you. I mean, I got a few gigs that paid, but everyone suggested I get a band together. Kind of a Tori Amos syndrome — ‘We love what you do, but we wanna hear a half dozen people do it with you.’ ”
Instead of a full band, White settled on one-man band Joel Mendoza, a percussionist with a dizzying array of musical toys and playing styles. “I found him through an ad I placed on craigslist,” says White, “and thank God he wasn’t one of those crazies you hear about. A lot of people around town know him.…
“Almost all the local clubs are more likely to pay a duo than a solo. I find it’s much better than a full band, not just because [a percussionist] suits my music better, but because you only have to split the paycheck two ways.”
Having moved to San Diego four years ago, the 26-year-old White has now hit the stage of over a dozen local venues. “The best was the first time I played Humphrey’s Backstage Lounge — my parents came to San Diego to see me on my first date back after a tour. I was thrilled about the stage, the sound, [and] the crowd. Even though they did misspell my name on the marquee out front. It’s all about the dues, people.”
Lindsay White performs Saturday, August 8, at the North Park Music Thing three-day festival and hosts the “Listen Local” showcase at the Bare Back Grill in the Gaslamp every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. Jasmine Commerce, Somewhere in Between. “I’m not sure why Jasmine isn’t a household name by now because she’s a great songwriter and a beautiful singer.”
2. The Cathryn Beeks Ordeal, Desert Music. “Another local CD, and this one is perfect as a road-trip CD. Cathryn’s voice is like melting butter.”
3. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. “This is my favorite Dylan album. ‘Idiot Wind’ blows my mind. ‘Buckets of Rain’ is so simple and pretty. ‘Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts’ paints the most vivid pictures in my head.”
4. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere. “This record is so unique. Most of the writing has a lot of depth, but it’s always masked by some really cool hip-hop beat that makes it even more interesting.”
5. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black. “Her album Frank is a good record, but it’s more of a jazz throwback, whereas Back to Black feels straight out of the ’60s. I love that she just writes and sings with her guts, with no holding back, and she has a sharp sense of humor.”
FAVORITE FASHION ACCESSORY?
“Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. I practically collect them and hoard them. I wear a different pair at every gig, and sometimes I introduce my footwear like a band member. At [size] nine and a half, they usually get noticed and commented on — whether I call people’s attention to them or not.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“None for me, but my friend’s mom went to see a Bob Dylan concert in New York back in the day…. Afterward, she marched up to him and told him that the concert was the best thing she’d ever seen in her life. He looked at her and said, ‘That’s some kind of life you’ve had.’ ”
“Either the Bare Back Grill or chillin’ on the couch with my husband.”
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF?
“I wish I was a little bit less practical. I want to be a songwriter, but it’s not a steady paycheck, so I’m always stuck doing jobs I don’t want to do so I can share the responsibility of bills with my husband. I wish I could just be more of a dreamer and take that leap into full-time music.”
WORDS TO LIVE BY?
“I try to live by the Bob Dylan lyric ‘He not busy being born is busy dying.’ I have it taped to my computer screen to remind me that I better not let myself get stuck in a cubicle forever.”
CARE TO RATE THE NEW PRESIDENT?
“I don’t envy him the task at hand, that’s for sure. I come from a very conservative family, so I get an earful about what he’s doing wrong. But, put it this way — I’m glad we finally have a president who can construct a complete sentence.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“Basketball is my other love. My dad was a basketball coach, and up until a couple of years ago, I thought I would follow in his footsteps. I played D3 college basketball, and I still play every week in a rec league.”