Brooke White lights up the dimly-lit Hotel Cafe with her sunshiny attitude, beautiful music, and surprises

Brooke White (pictured with my friend Alice and me) accompanied herself only on piano for an hour-long set of music in Los Angeles.

Other than her singer-songwriter vibe, Brooke White was known for being ridiculously sweet, babbling during interview segments and judge critiques, and stopping and starting her songs all over again during her stint on American Idol in 2008 (She placed fifth in the show’s seventh season). Two years later, she still demonstrates all of that and with the competition aspect long gone, it’s all become more endearing than ever and anything. More importantly, she has truly established herself as a fine-tuned emotional performer, singing her lyrics with a whole lot of heart.

White performed for the last slot of the Monday night lineup at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, using only her keyboard as accompaniment (She’s also a pretty skilled guitarist). To start off the very candid vibe of the night, with a song she said was “For Karen” (Which she noticed us giggling about because guess whose name is Karen?), White and the audience found her suddenly starting and stopping the song three times in the beginning as technical difficulties and octave changes emerged. After smiling through a few apologies, she went on to perform a lovely cover of The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun,” which she later admitted was a song that she always wanted to perform, but never had the opportunity. Then she said she wanted to play it again at the end (Although she didn’t)!

The opening song was only one of a few covers White performed – she also performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” and ended her set with “a song she’ll perform forever,” The Beatles’ “Let it Be” (Considered one of her signature performances on Idol). In a surprising move, she even sang the chorus of Miley Cyrus’ addictive tune “Party in the USA,” but changed “USA” to “Hotel Cafe,” before going into her original tune “California Song.”

There were even more surprises throughout the night: White unveiled an unreleased tune called “Here Now,” saying that it couldn’t make the cut on her debut album High Hopes and Heartbreak last year, but mentioned it would just go on the next record. At the end of a song near the end of her set, White gasped into the mic and looked at her husband Dave in the audience, asking “Where are the cupcakes? Are they still in the car?” Obviously, it got the audience wondering about cupcakes, so White announced that she had brought cupcakes from her favorite bakery (Big Sugar Bakery in Studio City) and wanted to hold a drawing to give them away as a thank-you. I told you, isn’t she sweet! (Her crew eventually got the cupcakes out of the car, but I didn’t get them.) In another audience-related note, a man in the small crowd shouted out at her in between songs, profusely complimenting her and saying that her voice brought him in from the street and that it reminded him of Tori Amos (Which White found complimentary). That’s the power of Brooke White, folks (As well as the Hotel Cafe’s spectacular acoustics).

White’s in-between banter was filled with such little conversations with the audience, but mostly talking about the story behind each song she performed and what it meant to her. It is through those ways that people watching White perform on stage can feel connected with her, in addition to simply hearing her sing and play those instruments. Her music is truly organic and top-notch. Oh, and having all of us participate in sport claps during “Radio Radio” was too much fun too.

SET LIST: “We’ve Only Just Begun” (The Carpenters cover) – “California Song” – “Sometimes Love” – “Here Now” – “Take it Away” – “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac cover) – “Smile” – “Hold Up My Heart” – “High Hopes and Heartbreak” – “Radio Radio” – “Let it Be” (The Beatles cover)

For more information about Brooke White plus her social networking links, visit her official website.

4 thoughts on “Brooke White lights up the dimly-lit Hotel Cafe with her sunshiny attitude, beautiful music, and surprises

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