Whitney (band)

Whitney is an American band from Chicago,[3][4] which formed in 2015 and is signed to Secretly Canadian.[5] The band was formed shortly after the breakup of members Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich's band Smith Westerns in late 2014.[6] They released their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, in June 2016 and have toured internationally.[7]

Whitney performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago on July 15, 2016
Whitney performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago on July 15, 2016
Background information
OriginChicago, Illinois, United States
GenresIndie folk, indie rock, soul
Years active2015–present
LabelsSecretly Canadian, Lead Riders
Associated actsSmith Westerns, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen
MembersMax Kakacek
Julien Ehrlich
Josiah Marshall
Will Miller
Malcolm Brown
Print Chouteau
Charles Glanders
Ziyad Asrar[1][2]


After the breakup of Smith Westerns in 2014, guitarist Kakacek joined with drummer Julien Ehrlich, who also played drums for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to form Whitney.[3] As roommates, the duo shared songwriting duties while Ehrlich became the main vocalist. Initially the band featured members of the Touching Voids, Ehrlich's previous band.[8] In June 2015, the band made the song "No Matter Where We Go" available digitally through the Lead Riders label.[9] It included former Smith Westerns member Ziyad Asrar on rhythm guitar, Malcolm Brown on keyboards, bassist Josiah Marshall and brass player Will Miller.[10]

During 2015, the band played around thirty shows, mostly in support of other artists. This included Tobias Jesso Jr. who got the band in contact with Jonathan Rado, the producer of the album. In September of that year, they joined Rado at his Los Angeles home studio to record.[10] In January 2016 the band released the single "No Woman" supported by a video and toured Europe in anticipation of the new album.[7] They also featured on the 2016 edition of the SXSW festival.[11]

On June 3, 2016 the album Light Upon the Lake was released. In support they embarked on their first headlining European tour.[12]

In 2017, the band announced a new demos album with a previously unreleased song, "You and Me".[13]

In March 2017 Whitney released two new songs, "You've Got a Woman" and "Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can)". Both are covers.[14]

The album "Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings" was released on November 10, 2017.

In an interview published in April 2019 the band mentioned their second official album, due in 2019, will deal with "fear, confusion, and substance abuse".[15] They shared a song titled "FTA" from the album in June 2019 and released the lead single “Giving Up” on June 6.[16]

The album Forever Turned Around was released on August 30, 2019. It was partially recorded at a winery in Cotati, California.[17]

In May 2018 Whitney and the band Waxahatchee released covers of both "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Rain".[18]

On August 14, 2020, Whitney released a 10 track album of covers titled Candid, along with single covers of "Strange Overtones" and "Hammond" [19]


Ehrlich outlined the approach to songwriting as "when we were writing for Whitney, we were doing what we wanted to do, the music was really freeing".[10] Paul Lester in the Guardian described the band as "think Bon Iver, with elements of folk and country, only given a Chicago soul makeover".[3] They cite Levon Helm and Allen Toussaint as inspiration.[10][20]



  • Light Upon the Lake (June 2016)
  • Light Upon the Lake: Demo Recordings (November 2017)
  • Forever Turned Around (August 2019)[21]
  • Candid (August 2020)[22]


  • "No Matter Where We Go" (June 2015)
  • "No Woman" (January 2016)
  • "You've Got a Woman / Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can)" (March 2017)
  • "You and Me" (Demo) (September 2017)
  • "Giving Up" (June 2019)
  • "FTA" (November 2019)
  • "Far, Far Away" (November 2019)
  • "Rain"(May 2020)
  • "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (May 2020)
  • "Hammond Song" (July 2020)
  • "Strange Overtones" (August 2020)


  1. ^ Homewood, Ben (15 February 2016). First Kisses, Falsettos, and Smith Westerns' Split: Whitney Interviewed, NME
  2. ^ "Whitney Announces New Album 'Forever Turned Around' & Shares Single". Jambase.com. 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  3. ^ a b c Lester, Paul (2016-02-12). "New band of the week: Whitney (No 90)". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  4. ^ Donelson, Marcy. "Whitney | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  5. ^ Deusner, Stephen. Biography, Secretly Canadian
  6. ^ "Whitney: Light Upon the Lake Album Review". Pitchfork.com.
  7. ^ a b Wilkinson, Matt (January 18, 2016). "New Music Of The Day: Whitney – 'No Woman'". NME.com. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  8. ^ De Martino, Susanna (August 11, 2015). "An Interview With Whitney's Julien Ehrlich". Rare Candy. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  9. ^ Milton, Jamie (June 2, 2015). "Members of Smith Westerns, Touching Voids form Whitney, share 'No Matter Where You Go'". DIY. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  10. ^ a b c d Garaas, Leah (January 18, 2016). "Upstream: Whitney make country feel fresh and cool". The Current from Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  11. ^ Cox, Jamieson (2016-03-18). "What it's like to be a band on the SXSW grind, as told by Whitney". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  12. ^ "On the road with Whitney, your new favourite band". 28 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Whitney Announce Demos Album, Share New Song: Listen | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  14. ^ "New Music: Whitney – "You've Got A Woman" (Lion Cover) and "Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can)" (Dolly Parton Cover)". Spin. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  15. ^ Subscribe. "Whitney: "If people liked 'Light Upon The Lake', they are really going to fuck with this"". DIY. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  16. ^ Kim, Michelle (2019-06-04). "Whitney Share New Song 'FTA': Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  17. ^ "'Get lost,' dress up with Whitney in Sonoma for Halloween". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. 2019-10-16. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  18. ^ "Listen to Whitney team up with Waxahatchee for 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' cover". NME | Music, Film, TV, Gaming & Pop Culture News. 2020-05-26. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  19. ^ "Whitney tell the stories behind each cover on Candid". The Fader. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  20. ^ Kakacek, Max; Ehrlich, Julien (2016-06-02). "Whitney's playlist: Allen Toussaint, the Band and Mulatu Astatke". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  21. ^ "Forever Turned Around by Whitney". Apple Music. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  22. ^ Torres, Eric. "Whitney Announce New Album Candid, Share Cover of the Roches' "Hammond Song": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-07-16.

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