From the moment she sat at the piano and sang Let It Be on American Idol, Brooke White made us sit up and listen. We're still listening. Whether she's cracking us up on the Girls with Glasses Show, sharing day-to-day struggles with parenting/career/life on Instagram stories, or giving us a sneak peek of her upcoming album, we don't want to miss a thing!
We Chose Music Over TV
Music was a really big deal in my house growing up. We definitely chose music over TV. We had a really tiny little crappy TV, but we had a jukebox in our backyard. We spent hours jumping on the trampoline listening to my parents' old 45 records. That was my upbringing —music. We went on family drives just to listen to music, and we'd listen while washing the car. Any excuse to listen to music.
I started playing the piano when I was seven. I took like one or two lessons, but my ear was my best teacher and all those records that I listened to. I didn't start singing until I was 16 when I auditioned for a high school musical—Meet Me In St. Louis. I was painfully shy, believe it or not. My uncle forced me into an audition for the musical, and I got the lead role.
Writing music and singing and playing for people in this context didn't come until I was 20 years old. That's really old for a lot of musicians. They're like, "What? 20, 21?" But that's when I got started writing, so yeah, I was a relatively late bloomer as a singer-songwriter.
I still feel like I'm still learning, you know? Whenever I finish a song, I wonder, "Will I ever be able to do that again?" Every single time.
Thank you, American Idol
American Idol was a trip. I never dreamed that someone like me would go on American Idol. I always envisioned it being these really big acrobatic singers like the Christina Aguileras and Celine Dions and Mariah Careys. I always considered myself more of a singer-songwriter, so when I decided to try out, it was kind of a last ditch effort after chasing the dream out here in L.A. for about three or four years. I ended up auditioning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the last audition. I bought a red-eye ticket. We emptied out our savings. I waited 21 hours for my first audition. It was a really crazy experience that is so much more than you ever will see on TV.
But I got my golden ticket to Hollywood. I was 24. I got to sing with Graham Nash at the end of the show—Teach Your Children. I'll never forget that moment. That was real. Thank you, American Idol.
I was fifth place and went on a sold out nationwide arena tour. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that very few people get to have. People always ask me like, "Was it fun?" And I don't know if I could say it was fun. It was really hard work, and I'm glad I don't have to do it again. But I'm really, really glad that I did it. It definitely changed my life.
They always say "comparison is the thief of joy". I let it steal my joy for the majority of the time I was on the show. I felt unworthy to be there in the company of the other singers. Confidence was a major battle for me. But at a certain point, I realized that if you're going to survive this thing, if you're going to survive this industry or chasing after this dream, the focus had to change ... I realized I had to stop competing, stop comparing, and just start connecting. And when I shifted that focus, it changed everything for me. Whenever I find myself slipping back into that place, I just have to remember to connect.
We're very silly
The Girls With Glasses Show is my web series that I do with my best friend, Summer Bellessa. We actually were not best friends to start with. We met on MySpace over a decade ago, believe it or not. Remember MySpace? Yeah. Nobody does, really. Anyway, we met there. She had a magazine. I had just come off American Idol. She put me on the cover. We ended up getting together for breakfast one morning at IHOP. We were both wearing glasses. It like literally right in front of our faces. So we decided to create this silly show called The Girls With Glasses.
We weren't moms yet. We knew we would be someday, and we wanted something that we could do to maintain our creativity. She was a model turned magazine editor, and me being a singer-songwriter artsy-fartsy gal, we just needed something that we could continue utilizing our talents into motherhood. It really has grown with us.
The Girls With Glasses is a variety lifestyle show. We do parodies. We do mom stuff. We do fashion. Just really whatever we're into as moms. It's like a Pinterest board of a show kind of thing. But we're very silly. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we wear glasses, obviously.
It's my cardio at this point in my life
I've got two super, fun, cute kids. My oldest is London. She's six years old, just started first grade. Then my little guy, he just turned two. His name is Sonny, and he is his name. Super son. Sunshine.
I definitely consider myself an active mom. I'm not super sporty or anything, but I'm always on the move with my kids. I put Sonny in the stroller every single day. We're usually running a little bit late, so we're running, before the late bell, with the stroller. It's my cardio at this point in my life, for sure.
I listened when they talked
Sometimes I give myself a hard time… Like, "When am I going to be a good mom?" I don't know if I ever would consider myself a traditional mom. I don't even know what that means anymore, right? Who knows what that means? I'm not great at remembering dates or being super on time, or I might forget the paper in the backpack...
But one thing that me and my kids love to do every night is talk time. We talk. We lay in bed, right before it's time to go to sleep, and London just loves to chat my ear off. It's a good time, because right after school when I try to ask her, "How was your day? What happened today?" she won't say anything. She's like, "Mom, I'm good. I'm fine. I don't want to talk about it," which...she's six, but it's like she's a teenager. But bedtime? She comes alive. We just chat, chat, chat. I really hope that, on those days when I'm running late or I've forgotten something, my kids will remember that I talked with them and that I listened when they talked. That's my hope.
Music is back to the front burner(ish)
I'm super excited, because I finally have a new record coming out. Obviously, when you have kids, it changes things. I was on the road all the time. I was living the dream and doing the hustle, literally. (Not the dance, but that's fun, too.) I had my kids, and I realized I needed to stay put for a while. The music hit the back burner, and I'm just so happy to say that it's back to the front burner(ish) with the kids. Motherhood and music, making this record has been really amazing for me and completely different than my life prior to kids.
I was going to go to Nashville, and I knew I was going to make a country record. I had this plan, but it wasn't my season. So I've just decided to stay here, and bloom where I'm planted, and make a California country record. I think it's something that I wouldn't have made in Nashville, and I'm really excited about that. Being in California really influences the whole tone of this record. While it is country, it's its own kind of hybrid of it. That's why we're calling the record Calico, which is short for California country.
Loud music, driving
When it comes to inspiration, I like to drive. I like to be in my car. I like to roll down the windows. I like to turn up the music extremely loud. That's my main go-to for inspiration pretty much across the board. It's how I deal with all things. Loud music, driving.
As for my favorite artists, I mean, it's easy. My number one is Carole King, and she was highly influential on me to start singing and playing. Also, Beach Boys. I listened to a lot of Beach Boys growing up. Beatles. I mean, who doesn't love the Beatles? Eagles. Linda Ronstadt. Fleetwood Mac. The basics. Not the basics, but the classics, the legends. John Mayer. Yeah, I wasn't going to say that, but it's true... James Taylor. I like Fleet Foxes. I like Band of Horses on the more modern side ... Jenny Lewis.
I also listened to a lot of '90s country growing up. A lot. George Strait. Faith Hill. Tim McGraw. All that stuff. I mean, there's really nothing that I don't listen to. That's not true. Marilyn Manson, probably not so much.
California is my place
I'm originally from Phoenix, Arizona. Now I'm a full-blown California girl. I always knew, when I was a kid, I was probably going to end up in California. We used to take trips here, as a family, to Disneyland and to Huntington Beach. We'd listen to the oldies station or these mix tapes my parents had. It was the Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas and hearing the songs. I literally was California Dreamin', and I knew that someday I was just meant to be here, and here I am. I've been here for 15 years now.
I love where I live. You just go a little this way, a little that way, and you've got something completely new. I'm in a suburb right outside of L.A. My neighborhood is just beautiful. These big, huge oak trees, and I love to take my kids on walks through these winding little trails.
On Sundays, our family usually hops in the car. We drive through the canyon, 20 minutes later, we're in Malibu. We get our feet in the sand. Sometimes the kids fall asleep. We just let them sleep back there, or we get out the stroller and we walk down the pier. It's just open air, and you're staring at the ocean, and you're living the life. This is the place.
Well, it's my place.
Brooke is using the Poppy stroller in Black Bear.
Brook, I lived 2 blocks from where your dad grew up, We use to hang out a bunch of us, Brad, John, Jenny, Chris, Mitchel, Kim, Scott and Paula my sister. I always had a crush on your dad. I also went to high school with him. That whole family was very nice. I even watched you on American Idol, your a great wholesome singer. Keep up the good work.