Kentucky's 13-year-old yodeling cowgirl gains national attention
Thirteen-year-old singer Phoebe White has been yodeling for audiences for nearly half her life. The London, Kentucky yodeling cowgirl is gaining national attention for her music.
When Phoebe White was eight years old, she taught herself to yodel. It was the song Blue by country singer LeAnn Rimes that inspired Phoebe to learn how to yodel. She heard it on the way home from vacation. She said the sound was so different she wanted to try it.
Phoebe said she’s also inspired by old-time yodelers like Jimmie Rodgers and Patsy Montana.
Now she’s thirteen, and in September of last year released her 10-track album called UnXpected.
In the music room at her southeastern Kentucky home where several stringed musical instruments hang on a wall, Phoebe plays an acoustic guitar and sings one of the songs from her album. It’s easy to smile when you hear Phoebe White.
The giggling teen wears a pair of denim overalls. She said she likes everything cowgirl. She also likes cheesecake and cookies, and the family dog they call Kenny Rogers. But most of all she likes to perform in front of people.
“I just love yodeling. I love making the audience smile cause it’s something different. And when I see people smile, or just see them happy, it just makes me so happy,” said Phoebe.
Phoebe’s mom and manager, Tiffany White sits close by as her daughter demonstrates a few different types of yodeling patterns.
Tiffany said it was a complete surprise when they learned recently that Phoebe’s album, UnXpected, made the Western Music Charts. Tiffany found out when she received the International Western Music Association’s spring edition of The Western Way.
” I was stunned because she just released the album. And, I was flipping through the magazine. I didn’t know that she would be on the charts at all much less number seven. So that was, exciting, very exciting,” said Tiffany.
When she was seven years old Phoebe told her mom she wanted to sing for an audience and be entered in competitions. She’s won 24 talent contests. The bubbly teenager can sing different genres but prefers what she calls Cowboy or Western music. Phoebe said she plays several instruments by ear.
“I play piano, I play 12-string guitar, I play guitar, I play banjo, ukelele, and mandolin and I’m learning fiddle right now,” explained Phoebe.
At age 10 Phoebe appeared on the 1000th broadcast of WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour with Grammy Award-winning Riders in the Sky. Creator and host of WoodSongs, Michael Johnathon produced Phoebe’s album and suggested she call it, UnXpected.
“I thought what a nice title for Phoebe’s album because nobody’s going to expect a 13 -year- old kid to not only be this good but to be recording her album with Riders in the Sky and The McClain Family Band," said Johnathon.
Phoebe said she’s become friends with the Grammy-winning western music and comedy group Riders in the Sky. The Grand Ole Opry members sing three tracks with Phoebe on her new album.
They even change the title of their big hit, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl to Phoebe the Yodeling Cowgirl, when they sing with Phoebe.
The song was written by Riders in the Sky’s Doug Green, otherwise known as Ranger Doug. Green who is known for his yodeling and has given Phoebe a few yodeling tips said she has a lot of talent.
“Well, I think she’s just really just beginning. She laid the groundwork starting at age 8 to 13 and she has plenty of developing yet to do. She’s going to be a major talent,” said Green.
With one album under her belt, Phoebe White is planning her next album and she’s hoping to write all of the songs. For now, the yodeling cowgirl is scheduled to perform at various concerts in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio.
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