Haunted by ghosts, real and imagined, Michelle wrote all the songs on her newest album THE WHISPER OF A GHOST like a book of short stories. She chose to record it in her Victorian home, the oldest house in the Hollywood hills, where she lived and wrote the music. Having spent a couple of years listening to everything from live classical pieces to Radiohead, Michelle wanted a fresh approach. Her first call was to her close friend Brian Hardin, guru engineer that she knew from Nashville who had moved near her in the Hollywood Hills. He turned her home into a studio and became her co-producer. Then, she called on classically trained (and longtime friend) Josef Zimmerman to play upright bass. He brought in Jason Pipkin who was in time with her before he even walked in the house. She knew she needed the guitar virtuosity of another dear friend Chris Jacks. “It was a complete collaborative effort. The players were so focused and present. They worked with me until we found each song.” It took 4 days. She then called in other veteran players to ice the cake. “My father calls it my masterpiece, and that makes me feel good”.
Her Dad, legendary Tony Joe White (Rainy Night in Georgia, Polk Salad Annie), says her voice is like Sade hanging out with John Lee Hooker. Hanging on a mic, or quietly revealing herself behind her old Wurlitzer piano, or prancing like a wild horse, her fiery and raw stage performance has been compared to that of Janis Joplin. With soul baring lyrics and haunting melodies, her writing has been compared to Van Morrison and Neil Young. Her voice is deep and slow like molasses. She is a true American artist.
She was reared in the musical hotbeds of South Texas and Memphis, Tennessee, surrounded by famous recording artists and brilliant musicians. "I was influenced very deeply by all of the music I heard growing up," she says. “I spent most of my days in the ‘music room’. There were late night phone calls from Elvis to TJ, and the best musicians and famous singers hanging out playing music. I learned to run the reel to reel and play piano at a very early age so I could be a part of it.”
Michelle has worked with many of those brilliant musicians and Grammy award winning producer, John Leventhal, on her first album, “MEMPHIS” which was released to critical acclaim by SONY and established her a cult following in Europe.
The songstress joined forces with her father for her second album, WANDERING ROAD, a mixture of soul, blues, country, and South Texas influences. Recorded at her father’s studio in Tennessee, along with veteran musicians Ollie Marland on piano and co-production, Jack Bruno on drums, Michelle's long time upright bassist Joey Zimmerman, and of course, Tony Joe on guitar. Michelle's brother, Jody, ran the boards. They captured the happening all on an old analog tape machine, old school style. The album was released in France by Bad Reputation and on her own label, Sugarhawk, in the States.
She has played the prestigious Midem in Cannes, Bercy (France’s most famous hall), opening for Toto for tens of thousands of people with only her Wurlitzer and bassist, as well as touring with her full band. Michelle performed live for the BBC in England, and played the infamous Borderline in London, various blues festivals all over Europe and local hot spots in L.A. and Nashville. She is currently waiting for the seasons to change.