Entering the mind of a multi-talented artistic, musician/artist is so fascinating and enlightening. SayWhatNews had the pleasure of speaking with the very talented artist/actress/musician/activist, Persia White about her work in the entertainment business and the special causes that have touched her heart and soul. Take a journey with us as we get know Persia White:
SayWhatNews: Hey Persia, good morning. Thanks for taking the time and speaking with SayWhatNews. Tell us who is Persia White?
Persia: A girl on an artistic mission to promote compassion, raise awareness on issues of substance, seek out truth, promote freedom and peace.
SayWhatNews: Let’s talk a bit about your childhood. Where are you originally from?
Persia: Born in Philadelphia, raised in the Bahamas Islands and Miami Florida - lots of travel as a child.
SayWhatNews: Do you have any siblings?
Persia: Two brothers and one sister - I’m the baby!
SayWhatNews: As a child, did you always want to be in the entertainment business?
Persia: At age three I decided I wanted to be in the business. My mom thought I was just being cute when I told her, but I remember the moment and how excited I was about my choice.
SayWhatNews: Wow, very ambitious at a very young age. What were your interest as a child?
Persia: I was a shy kid. Always playing by myself… Dance, art, music , and my dog were my best friends most of the time. WOW, not much has changed!!!
SayWhatNews: What were your favorite TV shows or movies growing up?
Persia: I didn’t have a TV most of my childhood because my mom was a hippie and didn’t think TV was good for a growing mind. Eventually I got to watch some TV and I LOVED IT! It was like having candy for the first time. I didn’t care what I watched… even the bad stuff was funny to me.
SayWhatNews: Your love for music crosses over from different genre of music from Billie Holiday to Whitney Houston to Rob Zombie to NWA to Peter Gabriel to Fiona Apple. Who were your musical influences growing up?
Persia: The Bahamas was great because music is part of the culture. I was exposed to so much live music. As far a recording artists go, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Chicago were infused into my sole. My brothers introduced me to Led Zeppelin and classic rock. At age 7, I would sneak into my brother’s room and play his music…close my eyes and make up these Cirque Du Soleil type dances in my head (I was a strange kid).
SayWhatNews: No, not strange at all, just in touch with your artistic side. When did you realize you wanted to be a singer?
Persia: At age 3 when I was listening to a Diana Ross song (Corner of the Sky).
SayWhatNews: Yeah, many little girls were inspired by Diana Ross to become a singer. Persia, we have to ask about your 9 seasons on the hit series Girlfriends. How did you land the role of Lynn?
Persia: I was at Columbia records visiting my dear friend Randy Jackson and I decided to call my agent… just to see if anything was going on. She said, “Good thing you called, cuz I have an audition for a pilot, the show is called Girlfriends, but it’s in 2 hours, can you make it?” I pulled it together quickly got to the audition 30 minuets early…and the rest is history.
SayWhatNews: The show had 4 leading ladies at one time, were their ever any issues of you guys getting along?
Persia: It was always an adventure working a female driven set! Many of the producers and directors were also women… so we had our ups and downs. It felt liberating and empowering to be part of a powerful force of women. I remember one day the director, assistant director, the writer the hair, make up, wardrobe, two of the executive producers, and the creator were all beautiful women of color!!! I turned to my cast and said girls… we’ve come a long way baby!
SayWhatNews: Yes, indeed. Describe each Girlfriend in one word:
SayWhatNews: How did your character Lynn end up blending in your musical talents, was that already something the writers had planned on doing?
Persia: The writers liked that I was a musician, had a band, was always working on music & playing live gigs around LA. After about 4 years they asked me if I would let Lynn become a musician and if I would lend my music to the character. I said YES!
SayWhatNews: That was a great idea, we loved every moment of Lynn’s journey as a musician. Now, on your Myspace page under Television you have written, “No comment…..you know why.” The fans of Girlfriends were completely shocked and saddened about the unexpected cancellation of the show. How did you feel about it and how did the cast learn of the news?
Persia: We didn’t know it was canceled till the last moment. We thought we were going back to work after the writers strike had ended. I found out over the phone, not to come in to work. Some of the crew got the news while they were driving to the set. I was so hurt that after 9 years, we didn’t even get a season finale! It actually was heartbreaking. Even though I had heard Hollywood can be like that and it’s “just business” It still hurt.
SayWhatNews: The Fans were just as shocked as you were. I know I was looking forward to the new season. The story line was just reaching its peak and getting funnier. Now, Fans wanted Girlfriends to at least come back and wrap up the storyline. Did the cast try to get this happen or was it a oh well moment?
Persia: I personally wanted a finale! There was “talk” about a wrap up episode … but it never happened.
SayWhatNews: Persia, your debut album Mecca was released at the end of October on iTunes. What was the inspiration of the album?
Persia: Love, my family and the journey we’ve traveled in this life.
SayWhatNews: Your genre of music is a blend of alternative/electro/Trip-Hop/Blues and Prog-rock. How would you describe it without using the technical names?
Persia: It’s visual music….. I usually see things in my head and create music that embraces those images and feelings. I’m also a painter, so music has become a vehicle for me to create a soundtrack for my mental pictures.
SayWhatNews: You have worked with Saul Williams, and Tricky the Father of Trip-Hop. Tell us about your experience working with such talented artists and how they ended up working with you on your debut album?
Persia: I asked for Girlfriends to approach Tricky when I agreed to do music for the show. Tricky was a recurring love interest of Lynn’s for almost 2 years. When Tricky didn’t respond to the request, I happen to run into him at a vegan restaurant called Real food Daily. We talked and he agreed to do the show and work on music together. I’ve had a great admiration and respect for Tricky and his work going back to Massive Attack. We connected and had a natural chemistry than led to us working on music for the next year. I have several songs we worked on I would like to release this year. As for Saul Williams, he was my characters poet boyfriend for 2 years. I got in touch with him in 2007 and recorded a background track on his album NIGGY TARDUST, produced by two of my all time favorite artists Trent Reznor and Allen Moluder. Saul and I started dating later that year, eventually were engaged to be married but it never actually happened. We’re still friends and I’m thankful for the artistic, and inspiring relationship we have.
Gary Wallis of Pink Floyd was the one who really helped me develop my sense of percussion and motion when I worked with him back in 1998.
SayWhatNews: You produced the majority of your album. What was it like producing your own project?
Persia: A journey!! So much work!!!! It takes longer to put out a record when you take on producing. I’m really lucky because I’ve been able to work with amazingly talented people. Musicians like Randy Jackson, Tricky, Saul, and Gary taught me so much. Observing how they work helped train my mind and ears.
SayWhatNews: Mecca is currently available digitally and will be going out for distribution soon. Will you stay independent or try to get with a major record label to have that happen?
Persia: I’m looking at some major options at this very moment. The music industry has changed so much over the years. I’m happy that musicians finally have the choice to go independent or major. As for me… time will tell.
SayWhatyNews: Are there any plans to go on tour?
Persia: I do plan on playing some shows along the West cost this summer. I’m also working on a series of live musical improve shows with my art. These shows will feature some of my paintings, my live music, and various mixed- mediums I’ve put together.
SayWhatNews: Persia, tell us what inspired you to co-produce the award winning documentary Earthlings which was narrated by Joaquin Phoenix?
Persia: I was SHOCKED and devastated when I learned what goes on behind closed doors on factory farms, fur farms, and other industries of death. I wanted to be part of a film that elevates consciousness and compassion, EARTHLINGS does that.
SayWhatNews: Most people don’t really know how animal testing effects human health. Can you speak on that briefly and tell us why its so important to you to help make a difference?
Persia: People may have an idea that the meat industry and what goes on behind closed doors might be creepy, but what you DON’T KNOW may be killing you. Yes! Actually killing you. There are huge corporations that are profiting off of peoples lack of awareness. This is not some hippy talk I’m giving you, but straight up truth. You owe it to yourself to know what you’re putting in your body, as well as the pain and suffering you take part in when you support such vicious industries. It’s liberating to be informed and make choices with open eyes, rather than being a blind unhealthy victim of corrupt corporations that only want your money.
SayWhatNews: Persia you are also the co-founder of Echoed Images Production Company whose mission is to create conscious world changing media. What was your inspiration to create such a company?
Persia: I love artists that use their voice to create good in the world. People like Michael Jackson, and Bono of U2 have used their art to create positive change. By the end of my time on this planet I hope to have opened minds, changes perceptions, and raised compassion in as many people who are willing to listen. Art and entertainment can be an amazing platform for good.
SayWhatNews: Persia, you are a actress, musician and animal rights activist, tell us something about you we don’t know.
Persia: I’m a NERD. I love technical gear and spend hours and hours alone on my computer, reading the dictionary, and going websites that have odd facts about space .
SayWhatNews: Since Girlfriends, you have been focusing on your music. Have you worked on any movie or TV projects since or are there any future projects coming soon?
Persia: I just finished working on a documentary called “Intelligent Life”. I also created a TV show currently in development. Other than that I’m working on my live ART MUSIC multi media shows, that will eventually be available on DVD or as digital downloads.
SayWhatNews: What’s in the future for Persia White?
Persia: FILM - “Intelligent Life,” I just finished (www.inteligentlifefilm.com)TV - A new show I created (in development)
MUSIC - Another album to be released this summer
ACTIVISM - Work with the HSUS, as well as other groups this year.
ART - Live art shows that include my music, photography, & paintings
I’ll post the dates for shows on my site www.persiawhite.com
Persia White Website
Persia White Myspace