Photo by Sam Rutman
This is the first instalment in a new series we’re running called Musician Spotlight. The roster of talent on DownToJam.com is massive, and this is an opportunity for us to bring some of our fantastic musicians into the spotlight.
We sat down with Brianne Whyte, a versatile musician based out of Toronto, who also happens to be an early adopter of DownToJam.
When did you first get into music and what do you play?
I’ve been playing music most of my life. Like many musicians, I started when I was around 5 years old on the piano. I played piano throughout most of my childhood and was convinced I was going to be a concert pianist. Ha! I certainly did not have the talent for it, but I definitely had the passion. Later, I was introduced to the viola through my elementary school music program and played that throughout high school and university. In high school I taught myself to play guitar and became more interested in singing, songwriting and guitar—a love I’ve nurtured into adulthood.
Did you get any technical training?
I did a Bachelor of Music at McGill University, where I played the viola. I also did a Masters of Music at the University of Toronto. For both degrees my focus was Music Education.
Recently, I started taking singing lessons, something I’ve always wanted to do. Although I love to sing and have been doing a lot of singing over the years, it is an entirely different thing to learn proper vocal technique and to really learn how to optimize your sound in a vocally healthy way. I’ve been learning a lot.
What role does music play in your life?
My whole life is music. I’m a full time music teacher in the York Region District School Board. I teach a wide variety of music programs from kindergarten all the way to Gr. 8. I direct 2 choirs in my school music program. It’s a wonderful job.
I also play in a band called Urban Jive, a Toronto-based cover band. I’ve been performing with the band for a few months and it’s been great. I actually connected with Urban Jive through DownToJam.
What was that process like?
I had a profile on DownToJam for a while that includes a sample of my voice from a song I posted on Soundcloud.
Urban Jive was looking for another vocalist who could sing backup as well as lead, and also fill in on a few instruments if needed. I was looking for a serious band of experienced musicians to play and gig with without interfering with my career. So it was a perfect fit. They messaged me after seeing my profile, and following an exchange of messages through DownToJam where we talked about the band and what kind of commitment was required, I was invited to come out for an informal audition.
The audition was more like a rehearsal. They asked me to prepare a couple of songs they were working on so I could sing backup on them, and a couple other songs to sing lead on. I prepared the material they asked for and the rehearsal went great. Later that night I got an email from Urban Jive asking me to be a member of the band, and we’ve been playing together ever since.
Do you have any gigs in the near future?
Our next show is at the Mod Club on Friday, April 8th. We are 1 of 5 bands performing at the Above and Beyond Concert: Rock for SickKids in support of SickKids Hospital. It will be a great night of live music and dancing in support of a great cause!
For more information or to buy tickets visit http://abcforsickkids.com/.