Whitney Rose Finds Inspiration With Move To Austin

Photo by Jen Squires
Photo by Jen Squires

It hasn’t even been a full year since Canadian country music artist Whitney Rose packed up her life and headed south to Austin, Texas. With two critically acclaimed albums to her name – 2012’s self-titled debut and 2015’s stunning Heartbreaker Of The Year – it could be argued that Rose, a Prince Edward Island native that also called Toronto home for a number of years, has taken her career to a new level as part of the vibrant Austin music scene.

While Rose’s neo-traditional country sound has earned the young singer-songwriter a devoted following at home in Canada, she shares the Austin music scene has afforded her a reception that has exceeded her expectations in virtually every way imaginable.

“I first moved to Austin in November 2015, and actually played my first show within a day of landing,” the affable Rose begins. “What really stood out to me about this city is how I’ve been made to feel just so welcome right off the bat. It still amazes me.”

Asked if she has suffered any remorse or homesickness following her move to Austin, Rose admits to missing Canada, but acknowledges that she is where she feels that she needs to be in order to further her career.

“After just a few shows, I knew that Austin is where I needed to be in order to move things forward. I have absolutely no regrets about the move. I love the city, the culture and the food. I’m just so grateful for the support they have given me so far.”

Listening to Rose detail the experiences she has been a part of over the last nine months certainly helps reinforce that notion:

Not only did she have the chance to take part in a two-month tour that brought her from Texas to California, exposing her songs to new audiences every night, she signed a new recording contract, while also landing herself an American booking agent.

She positively beams with pride when discussing one of her biggest victories to date, however.

“The day after I had signed with my American booking agent, I got a call asking if I was interested in opening up for Dwight Yoakam, and if I was, could I be at the venue in an hour,” Rose says. Despite the obnoxiously short notice, she clarifies there was never a question about whether or not she would play the show.

“I’ve been a fan of Dwight’s since I was little, so having the opportunity to perform a show supporting him, let alone meet him, was all so surreal. He was so polite, such a gentleman. It’s not an experience I am likely to forget anytime soon.”

Another first for the country singer happened last month when she received an invitation to perform at a music festival in Spain alongside The Mavericks, whom she shares did double-duty as her backup group for the show.

The United States may be considered by many to be the home of country music, but Rose says Europeans certainly gave Americans some stiff competition in terms of embracing the music and all that goes with it.

“From what I saw, a lot of people in the audience had completely embraced the country music culture in addition to the music. The amount of people line dancing to the music could certainly give North American audiences a run for their money,” Rose quips.

The increase in performance activity has certainly had other benefits, as well. She shares that since landing in Austin, the city, combined with her weekly performances at the Continental Club have helped spur a creative streak.

“Playing shows every week, along with having the opportunity to be inspired by the countless acts that perform in the city, has definitely lit a fire in terms of me writing new material. This is the most prolific I have been since I first started writing.”

To help drive home how her creativity is guiding her, Rose shares that she recently wrapped up a recording session that should see the light of day at the start of 2017. No sooner than that EP will be available, and she anticipates being back in the recording studio, where she will begin recording her third full-length album.

Also on tap next year is a two-month tour of Europe, which is currently slated to kick off in March.

Asked how she feels about having the next year or more of her life mapped out, Rose is downright grateful for the opportunities coming her way, noting it’s far better than the alternative.

“I love staying busy and knowing that I’m going to be busy. I’ve been in the position where I don’t know if I have a show next month or if I will have enough money to make an album. I’ve lived through those uncertainties. To be somewhat on the other side of it now is amazing.”

What: Whitney Rose
When: Monday Aug. 8, 9 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton