Fourth corner. Physically, it’s where four states in the U.S. come together at one singular point. Symbolically, it’s where the four great rivers in China come together as one. Or, it could be the cycle of life during the four seasons of the year.
For Trixie Whitley, it’s a metaphor for trying to find balance and belonging from the songs that make up her scintillating debut album, Fourth Corner.
Trixie Whitley burst into public consciousness in 2011 as the lead singer of Black Dub, super-producer Daniel Lanois’ (U2, Bob Dylan) project, blowing people away with a voice and presence beyond her now-25 years. And it’s that voice: an emotional, blues-drenched instrument that ranges from a lilting slap to a knock-you-backwards uppercut.
Whitley lived a nomadic life: born in Belgium, she split her time growing up there and in New York but also frequently visiting family in France, Texas, and Mexico. Her mother came from an artistic European gypsy family, filled with musicians, painters, writers, and sculptures, while her father, renowned singer-songwriter Chris Whitley, thrust her into the world of music as a toddler when she joined him onstage in Germany at age three.
After her parents divorced, she returned to her mother’s native Belgium and became engrossed in the arts: she played drums, acted and sang with several theater companies, and toured Europe with the renowned dance company Les Ballets C de la B. She dropped out of school at 17 and moved back to New York and started slinging burgers at a local dive. Meanwhile, she ground out her own material in the city. She learned piano, guitar and soon started playing solo shows, a preface to recording her first EP, Strong Blood.
With that EP in hand, she and her mother went to a music festival in Belgium where Daniel Lanois was playing a gig. At her mother’s behest, she thrust a copy of Strong Blood into Lanois’ hand and returned to New York, thinking nothing would ever come of it. He was so blown away that he asked her to front Black Dub. The band’s self-titled album was released in October of 2010 and the group toured well into 2011, with Whitley’s voice propelling the group’s unique groove to ultimate peaks.
In November/December 2012, she embarked on her first solo U.S. tour, and currently continues to tour Europe and the US in support of Fourth Corner’.