Whitney K's folk-country-punk gets its official debut with Two Years
The Whitehorse-based singer-songwriter is Saroja Coelho's guest on The Intro
Watch Whitney K perform two songs and chat with Saroja Coelho on The Intro, above, and hit play on The Intro stream, filled with songs from artists featured on CBC Music's emerging artist series.
Whitney K's new album, Two Years, is a debut of sorts, but it's mostly a technicality: the Whitehorse-based singer-songwriter has been releasing tapes in short bursts for years, either under his current name or KoKo ("like the gorilla," he confirms). This time, though, the singer, whose real name is Konner Whitney, has spent the title's amount of time working away in a studio for his first official record release.
"We didn't think it was gonna be such a thing when we started out," says Whitney, over Zoom from his Whitehorse home. Whitney worked with friend and producer Josh Boguski in the latter's Montreal home studio over the 2016-17 years, and "it kind of turned into this mountain that we were both trying to climb," Whitney says. They recorded 25 songs together over that time frame, which was Whitney's first time using dedicated studio space and time for his project.
"I think for a long period of my life [I] operated with the mindset that we're not here for a long time, or I'm not here for a long time," he explains. "So everything is a mad dash and rush to be done as quickly as possible…. I didn't think I'd ever be in this situation in my life where I'd be having grey hair before this, to put it that way."
To that end, Two Years is a journey of time and characters, driven by folk-country (and sometimes punk-tinged) songs that feel as if you're travelling alongside Whitney, from "The Weekend" to "Last Night" to "Maryland" to "Richmond Beach." With his chosen instrument being the guitar, Whitney says he can "fumble through the basic rock 'n' roll, like bass, drums, guitar," while throwing a bit of violin in there. (Boguski also plays violin and cello on a few tracks.) While Whitney doesn't consider himself someone who travels a lot, he has moved a lot, splitting his time mainly between Vancouver and Montreal, though he mainly grew up in Whitehorse before leaving at 18, and returned in summer 2020 to live there for the foreseeable future.
"I personally think this is the best-quality thing that I've done as a whole," Whitney says.