By Peter Cronin
Jody Whitesides: Freestyle Success
In the Idol-fed, instant gratification-based pop landscape we’re currently occupying, it can sometimes feel like old fashioned persistence, bullheaded determination, and a never-say-die work ethic have gone the way of the Sony Walkman. Thankfully, nobody told Jody Whitesides. Over the past several years, this NY-born, LA-based singer/songwriter has been laboring in his own creative and commercial universe, churning out a steady stream of undeniable pop songs to an enthusiastic and wide-ranging fan base – online and off.
“I didn’t start guitar until I was 17,” Whitesides says. “But I practiced eight hours a day for several years straight. I went nuts...I’m not kidding.”
When his family relocated from the big city to Park City Utah, Whitesides, then barely 10 years old, hit the area’s legendary slopes with a vengeance, working his way to within a centimeter of a national skiing championship and a shot at the Olympics. Having taken his mogul and aerial skiing as far as he could, Whitesides dove headlong into his new obsession, attending Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music before heading west to graduate from LA’s Musician’s Institute.
Not suprisingly, when he finally got around to songwriting, Whitesides found his niche where sports and music collide. After writing a little ditty called “Do You Want To Play,” the songwriter posted it on iTunes and things just took off. Whitesides next musical revelation occured (where else?) at a hockey game, where the between-the-action music was “so wretchedly bad,” he decided to do something about it. Returning to his home studio, Whitesides retooled the lyrics to “Do You Want To Play,” licensed the song as a hockey anthem and he was off and running. He was soon cranking out song after
song, all custom tailored to specific sports and individual teams.
“I did a version for every team in each league,” he says. “I just released all of it and it started selling. Currently I’m in the process of finding singers to do versions in every language that soccer appears in, and I am working on licensing it to individual teams. It’s rather daunting.
“Never deterred by a challenge, Whitesides has placed his music in video games and film trailers, all the while working on building an audience for his own pop releases.
Whether it’s sports, video games, film trailers or just an old-fashioned love song, one thing Whitesides has learned about forging a career in the 21st century music business is that’s it’s all about doing it yourself.
“There’s this great scene in The Buddy Holly Story where the record company guy says, ‘We always bring in a producer, that’s the way this industry works,’” Whitesides says. “And Buddy says, ‘No. We keep it simple, we hear a sound, we put it on tape, we move on.’ Now that’s how it should go.”