Emma White On Carving A Path For Women In The Music Industry
If you’ve been paying attention to country music lately, you’ve probably heard about Emma White or Whitehouse Records. It’s been nearly two years since Emma co-founded Whitehouse after deciding to become her own boss in a male driven music industry. Emma has taken back the power after being shut down by label heads for simply being a woman. She’s gained over 33,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone, and has big plans for the future.
I caught up with Emma after hearing praises of not only her talent, but her business savvy drive. Based in Nashville, she is living through a massive shift in the music scene whilst watching the pandemic destroy many artists’ dreams and income- “No one is making money touring, everyone is just trying to get through this period and get to the other side of it. I’m hoping by June of next year we can start performing? But, it’s hard to say.”
Growing up in Baltimore, Emma got into her dream college in Boston- Berklee College of Music. Bouncing around after college, she decided to plant roots in Nashville where she noticed a change in her songwriting. “I didn’t listen to the radio at all for a while,” Emma admits, “I was very judgemental of it when I started listening to it again. I thought everything was not good enough and cheesy and way too commercial. But, I think it’s just because that’s what music school will do to you. Which is funny, because now I want to be on the radio!”
Although Berklee might have taken her away from her dreams of being a huge country act with radio hits for a period of time, it was monumental in the creation of Whitehouse Records.
“I had always been drawn to the business side of things, and going to Berklee influenced that a lot. The music industry has never really caught up to technology and because of that, everyone involved in creating the art gets cut out of the equation from actually making a living from it.” Along with other musicians, Emma questioned why she was always hearing stories of artists that don’t make any money, or artists that have sold millions of albums but are now suing their label. After years of searching for the perfect publishing and record deal, Emma started realizing how ‘gender specific’ the industry was. She was told by countless heads and execs that although she was a great writer, they always cited that her being female and writing female driven songs, was the reason they didn’t want to sign her.
Eventually this lit a fire in Emma and quickly Whitehouse Records took center stage in transforming her career. Now she is free to create the music she wants, to film the music videos she loves, and it’s proving that there is a massive audience for it.
While talking to Emma, I was enticed by her ability to create her own path to make her dreams come true, and not waiting for someone to do it for you. I was interested in her music industry secrets and how she believes other artists can do the same. “You can’t have the full dream without working on the business side. Let’s say you make a great album and you can’t support yourself and I just feel like I want to protect the art as much as I want to make it- and that’s really hard to accept.” While also learning and pursuing the music business side of the industry, her best kept secret to making it, is just connecting to people. Emma noticed after making the move to Nashville, that although you can be your own publicist and get your own press, it doesn’t equate to making those genuine connections which is key.
So what’s next for Emma White? Hopefully a full length album in the near future and a possible label partner for Whitehouse Records. While she continues to make the blueprint for her debut album and shop the idea of a label partnership, you can find Emma’s music on your streaming platform of choice. Her latest release, “Can I Call You Then”, has already surpassed 160,000 streams in the first three months and has been placed on the Wild Country Spotify playlist which houses a humble 788,000 listeners. She is continuing the live stream on her Instagram with other female artists until she’s able to perform for a crowd of people again, and I have a feeling her audience is waiting for that day to come.