Guy Kokken


Who She Is: Whitley, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter who grew up in New York and Belgium, is the daughter of late blues/rock singer and guitarist Chris Whitley.

Why She’s the Next Cat Power: Fans of Cat Power will find a lot to like in this month’s debut from Whitley, Fourth Corner (Strong Blood Records, $14). Like Power — a multi-instrumentalist who, for nearly two decades, has captured listeners with heartfelt lyrics and stirring vocals — Whitley injects soul into every introspective word she sings and is equally comfortable behind a piano, with a guitar or pounding on a drum kit. Whitley describes her sound, a potent cocktail of jazz, pop, punk, and rhythm and blues, as “soulful groove-based music with a punk attitude.”

Influences: “I grew up drenched in blues and soul music, from Nina Simone to Betty Davis and Thelonious Monk,” she says. “Rhythmically, I’ve been heavily influenced by Malian music and crazy electronica. I’m inspired by a range of artists from Iggy Pop to The Cure, PJ Harvey to Cat Power.”

Download: “Gradual Return,” “I Need Your Love,” and “Never Enough”



Nightlands
“Born to Love”
Oak Island
(Secretly Canadian, $12)

“Learning to sing is the hardest thing to do. But there’s always a ring, a ringing tune in my ears when I’m with you.”