Simone White is a singer and songwriter who performs deeply personal and engagingly idiosyncratic music informed by jazz, blues, folk, pop, and electronic influences. Born in Oahu, Hawaii on February 7, 1970, White had, to say the least, a colorful upbringing. Her father was an artist, her mother was a folk musician, her grandmother was a burlesque performer, her grandfather was a poet, her aunt wrote pop songs, and White spent much of her childhood in California living in a commune that was an offshoot of the religious group Fellowship of Friends. Inspired by the teachings of Georges Gurdjieff, the Fellowship shunned most contemporary music, favoring classical music instead, but as a teenager White became fascinated with jazz and it informed her melodic style when she began writing songs. White has told journalists she didn't begin playing guitar until she was 22 years old, and didn't take the instrument seriously until she was 30, but by 2004 she'd become confident enough in her abilities as a performer to record and self-release her first album, The Sincere Recording Co. Presents Simone White.
White continued writing and performing for another three years before she landed her big break. White was quite taken with the album Master and Everyone by Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and wanted to make a record of her own with a similar feel and approach. Through a friend, White was introduced to Mark Nevers, who produced the Bonnie "Prince" Billy album along with recordings by Calexico, Lambchop, and the Silver Jews. Nevers enjoyed White's songs and agreed to produce her next album, and after the sessions were completed for White's I Am the Man, the producer passed along a copy to friends at Honest Jon's Record Company, a British label run by Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz. The staff at Honest Jon's liked what they heard, and I Am the Man became White's first release for the label. The album received enthusiastic reviews, especially in the U.K., and one of the tracks, "The Beep Beep Song," was used in a popular television commercial for Audi. Released in 2009, White's third album, Yakiimo, featured another song that was used in a widely seen TV advert, a spot for Omega's women's watches featuring actress Nicole Kidman. For her fourth album, White explored her interest in electronic music by teaming up with Samuel Bing and Julian Wass from the group Fol Chen; the result, the album Silver Silver, was released in the spring of 2012. ~ Mark Deming