Feature Friday: Whitney Woerz
Written by Kayla Albee
New York City’s Whitney Woerz wrapped up a recent tour as direct support for pop icon Jesse McCartney earlier this month. Woerz, who is currently a student at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, is also a pop musician who works closely with Bring Change 2 Mind, an organization run by Glenn Close that focuses on mental health.
During her live performances, Woerz is often accompanied by a string ensemble that adds a more intimate layer to the show, while small mason jars filled with glowing lights decorate the stage. Each light represents a life lost to suicide, and Woerz speaks on the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health.
I spoke with Woerz about her tour with Jesse McCartney, her breakthrough single “Ghost Story,” finding balance between being a student and musician, and more. Learn more about Whitney down below!
Q: How have you managed your music / work / school / life balance, and what advice do you have for other musicians around your age who may be feeling overwhelmed?
A: I’m a senior in high school and the teachers don’t really like that I am always absent from their classes... but I am really good about managing my work and music while on the road. And life balances in with going out after shows and exploring each city. It’s always so fun.
Q: Since you're from New York, what are your favorite hidden gems in NYC?
A: I love finding cool vintage thrift stores and there’s this one downtown called Search and Destroy that has this crazy unexpected vibe.
Q: Your 2016 single "Ghost Story" attracted a lot of attention due to the subject matter. When writing the song, was there any apprehension when it came to how it would be received?
A: There was never any apprehension when writing “Ghost Story.” I wrote it for a friend I only knew from social media. She reached out to me and said she wanted to kill herself, so I called suicide hotline right away. In the time period between when I called and when help had arrived, I wrote her a song which I sent to her that night.
She said I had saved her life and the song inspired her to get professional help. I put the song out in hopes that it it could help one person, it could help so many more. It’s goal was to help end the stigma around mental illness and I definitely achieved that with no apprehension.
Q: Why is talking about mental health important to you, and what would you like to see artists do more of to make the topic of mental health in the industry less taboo?
A: Mental health is important to me because so many more people than we know struggle with something and it’s rarely talked about so rarely acted upon. Through out the years it’s becoming less taboo which is amazing! Artists have been opening up about issues that are relatable and I think that if even more do that too, we could really make a change.
Q: Your newer material is going in a bit of a different direction than your earlier music. What can fans expect from future releases?
A: Fans can expect a newer sound with super deep, relatable and interesting lyrics.
Q: When it comes to your tour with Jesse McCartney, are there any specific cities that you were looking forward to performing in?
A: I always love going to the West Coast so I’m super excited to play in LA.
Q: The string ensemble during your live performance was incredible. Did you know from the start that you wanted to have that sort of live music, or was it something that evolved over time?
A: We bring this incredible string quartet to a few select performances to enhance the set. It was an idea my producer had and I love when they play with me because it brings such a unique vibe to the sound and the look of the show.