SIMONE WHITE | LETTER TO THE LAST GENERATION | S/R | OCT. 18TH, 2019
“I’m a word person, I like solving the puzzle.”
Just one word sung in a hushed voice that is quite the opposite of the muscular engine that made it famous.
In 2007, songwriter Simone White’s just-shy-of-two-minutes tune “The Beep Beep Song” became the soundtrack for the Audi ® R8 campaign, catapulting the song from merely track three on White’s I Am The Man album, to millions of ears, generating countless cover versions, remixes, and over a million views of White’s homemade music video (budget: $30) for the song.
Interesting that White likens songwriting to solving a puzzle, as that very concept is behind her latest collaboration with the luxury carmaker. The latest Audi® campaign launched this spring celebrates the ten year anniversary of the Audi ® R8’s V10 engine and presents the vehicle in an astounding new commercial comprised of thousands of photographs of each individual part of the car.
“The Beep Beep Song” soundtracks the campaign once again, with an all-new string-accompanied recording of the song (“I’m a much better singer now and I was happy to re-record it,” White says) that will be released as a single on August 2nd. The release of the 2019 version of “The Beep Beep Song” will be followed by a new Simone White tune “Don’t Turn Your Back On Love” on August 16th, an inspirational dance jam collaboration with Adam Samuel Goldman aka Samuel Bing of Asthmatic Kitty recording artists Fol Chen.
All of this activity will remind listeners of White’s masterful songwriting, built on “cathartic intimacy” and “mesmerizing intelligence” (MOJO) and sung with a “sweetly airy and hypnotic” voice “like ether” (NPR), as White prepares for the release of her latest full-length album Letter To The Last Generation on Oct. 18th.
Returning to the idea of puzzles, White explains that it wasn’t until after Letter To The Last Generation was completed that she realized she was piecing together a concept album all along.
“Before I had the title, I played the demo of the song ‘Letter To The Last Generation’ to a friend and they thought it was a breakup song,” White remembers. “I was so mad! I said, ‘What?! It’s about climate change!’”
Soon after, White came up with the perfect title to convey the actual meaning of that song.
Letter To The Last Generation became the album title, as well, pulling together a collection of songs tinged with ache, longing and doubt into an overall story of an apocalyptic landscape in the not-too-distant future.
The title track will soon be released as a single, which is how it began.
“‘Letter To The Last Generation’ was originally going to be a one-off,” White says, “But that day of recording felt so right. It was so much fun, we were playing live, everyone in the room. I felt excited about making a record for the first time in ages and I only really heard the kind of album I wanted to make on that day.”
That particular group of musicians includes Jebin Bruni (Aimee Mann, Meshell Ndegeocello), producer Pete Min, who co-wrote three of the album’s songs with White, and adored multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, Andrew Bird. Grammy®-nominated bassist Kaveh Rastegar (Bruno Mars, CeeLo Green) also appears on the album.
“Kaveh was asking me how I came up with the melody of the first line of (album track) ‘Genuine Fake,’” White recalls. “He was grooving with it, playing it on the bass, and I answered him, ‘I don’t know, it was just suddenly there!’”
While the press has rightly praised White’s vocals and lyrics throughout the years, it is arguably these “suddenly there” melodies that keep the companies that sell $200,000.00 cars coming back.
“Melodies are ineffable work,” White continues. “I often think ‘How did they come, from where?’ I can argue a lyric, why I think one phrase is better than another, but melodies feel mysterious. When they work, they feel like they couldn't be anything else, and even though I wasn't trained in music enough to define that process, I know how it makes me feel. It’s magic.”
As for the more challenging lyrical puzzle struggle, White revels in what she describes as “the moment when the right word appears and it slots in so beautifully.”
Letter To The Last Generation, the sixth album by once again NYC-based (after 15 years in Los Angeles) singer-songwriter Simone White, arrives on October 18th. White will release the 2019 version of her hit “The Beep Beep Song” on August 2nd.