Few new artists can boast that their debut single surpassed one million plays on YouTube, so Oregon-bred, singer/songwriter Whitney McClain doesn’t take accomplishing the feat for granted. Not only has her infectious track “Bombs Away” achieved streaming heights, it’s been picked up by iHeartRadio stations and even covered by a fan.
“I’m so blessed,” says the 22-year-old singer. “To know that people that I don’t even know are fans of the music that I sing is just surreal. It’s just crazy.”
“Bombs Away” has earned the attention on its own merits. Produced and written by Mauli B, the song offers a feel good throwback sound complimented with Whitney’s inviting vocals, sparse piano keys and distinctive, humming synthesizers, a palatable juxtaposition to song’s message of heartache. Whitney sings, “All ya gonna do is hurt me / I stick around like I deserve it / But you know that I don’t / Treasure me like Bruno.”
Ironically, “Bombs Away” was the first song Whitney recorded after teaming up with producer and songwriter Mauli B two years ago. “Mauli just wrote it there on the spot in the studio,” Whitney recalls. “It’s great. I’m definitely an old soul. I love the old Motown vibe of the song, talking about self worth. It totally speaks to my life.” The video, directed by Luc “LR” Richard, also adopts a retro look and feel with Whitney’s clothing and hairstyles.
“Bombs Away” is the first release from Whitney’s debut EP, Nothing to Lose, executive produced by her uncle and manager Marlon McClain, who is also the former leader and guitarist for fusion band Pleasure The title of the forthcoming Gold Dust LLC release is a testament to her decision to fully commit to her music.
Marlon McClain ll & Ralph Stacy co-wrote and co-produced the EP’s emotional ballad, “Nothing Left.” In the performance video, Whitney pours out her soul in the recording booth as she sings about getting the strength to walk away from a bad relationship. “I don’t want to feel the same, don’t want to feel this way / But I can’t take it no more,” she sings over a musical backdrop of bluesy wah-wah guitars, pacing rhythms and gospel organs.
Mauli B collaboration “Heart Games” is Whitney’s most personal song on the set. The finger-snapping pop track highlighted with airy chimes recounts a nasty breakup. “It was pretty rough,” Whitney explains. “The song is basically about getting closure with an ex and trying to move on.” Mauli helped Whitney capture the anger and frustration behind the failed relationship. Whitney wrote the real life narrative and Mauli turned it into a song with reflective lyrics like, “I thought you should know that I’ll be fine,” “You won’t be missed,” and “I’m finally moving on.”
But Whitney isn’t only singing sad songs. She gloats about good times on “Sober” that uses the alcoholic reference as a metaphor. “It’s about being love drunk, you can’t get enough,” she explains. The music has the fun energy of a ‘60s girl group hit with doo-wop background harmonies, punchy horns, and driving electric guitar licks as she sings, “I think I’ll take that shot / Chase it down with your loving / You know you hit that spot.”
Whitney is even more upbeat on “Terminal Love,” an unapologetic ode to being crazy in love with the chorus, “Got a bad case of loving you.” The hospital-themed video features Whitney portraying three comical characters — two clueless nurses and the love struck, straightjacket-bound patient. The track is meant to be played live with its nostalgic vibe, handclaps, funky electric guitars, charging horns, and Whitney’s sassy lead vocals.
Whitney has been singing all her life, dating back to stints in school and a variety of choirs. Inspired by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, Adele, and Earth, Wind & Fire, Whitney began to begin to pursue a career in singing when she was 19 years old. At the time, she was living in Texas where she studied music at the University of Texas in Austin. When she called her uncle Marlon for advice, he connected her with Mauli B. After having a few vocal sessions with Mauli B over Skype, he invited Whitney to Los Angeles to record.
Whitney hopes her music will help her listeners cope with their issues. “I want people to know that I’m real,” she says. “I want the music to be relatable to them and to be therapeutic the way other artists have been for me. I just want to share my story and hopefully, it helps with other people.”
Based on the response Whitney has been receiving thus far, she is already accomplishing this goal.
Connect with Whitney!