A Conversation with Whitacre’s Paul Whitacre

Whitacre’s lead vocalist Paul Whitacre (middle) visited ‘Jake’s Take.’ (Photo by Kailey Sullivan; courtesy of One in a Million Media)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a pleasure to welcome singer-songwriter and Whitacre lead vocalist, Paul Whitacre, to Jake’s Take.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Whitacre is an alternative Americana trio that features Whitacre, banjo player Chase Perry, and drummer Mark Cunningham. Inspired by the Avett Brothers, Judah and the Lion and the Lumineers, Whitacre amassed a following through their social media and Spotify playlists.

The trio has played some of their hometown’s legendary concert venues, including Red Rocks and the Bluebird Theater. They have also performed at sold-out shows with Birdtalker, Mt. Joy, and Wild Things.

In this edition of A Conversation, Paul revealed Whitacre’s origin story, the group’s songwriting process, and how Seasons’ recording process differed from recording their 2018 debut EP: Within’ the Mountains’ Shadows.  

Jacob Elyachar: Could you please share the Whitacre origin story with my readers? 

Paul Whitacre: Whitacre’s origin started from an Instagram DM. I had met Chase (banjo) at a pay to play a show in Denver. I loved his style of music, but the thought of playing together honestly never crossed my mind. When I met Mark (drums) at a pickup basketball game, I also had no idea he was a musician. It wasn’t until he messaged me on Instagram a couple of weeks later asking about playing together that I realized he played. Our first practice was only Mark and me, and within 15 minutes, things had clicked incredibly well. We invited Chase the next week and started calling ourselves ‘Whitacre’ from there on out. 

Jacob Elyachar: Let’s talk about Whitacre’s songwriting process. Could you describe your process with my readers? 

Paul Whitacre: While I mainly wrote Whitacre’s earliest songs, our most recent tunes are far more collaborative. We try to carve out days and practices dedicated to writing new songs together. That gives everyone more of an opportunity to weigh in on what we want our songs to sound like, which is a way more fun way of doing things. The songs are better that way too!

Whitacre’s title track, “Seasons,” features a performance at the legendary Colorado venue: Red Rocks. (Video property of Whitacre)

Jacob Elyachar: Let’s talk about your upcoming album: Seasons. What are some of the similarities and differences between the sound of Seasons and 2018’s Within the Mountain Shadows? 

Paul Whitacre: Seasons offers a little less commercial sound – in the right way. I think the songs are still catchy and will hopefully appeal to a vast audience, but there was a lot more thought that went into this record… The lyrics, composition, production, and engineering of the album all had a lot more attention than Within The Mountains’ Shadows. We were so focused on making songs that might appeal to radio stations that we got away from writing the songs we love. We resolved that very quickly with this follow up album.

Jacob Elyachar: Who are the band’s dream collaborators (singers, songwriters, and producers)? How would they enhance Whitacre’s sound?

Paul Whitacre: Our team for Seasons included a lot of our dream collaborations. Our producer, Joe Richmond, is the perfect combination of being kind, having a great ear, understanding what we’re going after, and also having some connections to get the music heard. Our mixing engineer, Yuuki Matthews, has mixed some of our all-time favorite songs/records, and it was a dream come true to have him agree to take on our project. 

Jacob Elyachar: If you had the opportunity to meet with aspiring bands who want to elevate their careers in the recording industry, what advice would you share with them? 

Paul Whitacre: The most significant piece of advice I can give is not to let what’s popular in the industry dictate the music you write or the way you approach growing your band. Trust what your gut tells you and stick with it! 

For more information about Whitacre, visit their website.  You can also connect with Whitacre on social media. Check out their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channels.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar