Brooke WhiteView in iTunes
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Before she appeared in the seventh season of American Idol, Brooke White cut her teeth as a small-time singer/songwriter in the vein of Carly Simon and Carole King, two icons whose influence helped her earn a fifth place finish in the Idol competition. Born in Phoenix and raised in the nearby town of Mesa, AZ, White grew up amidst the sounds of her parents' record collection, including James Taylor, Elton John, Carly Simon, and other artists from the 1970s. She began singing publicly during high school, having landed the titular role in a production of Kiss Me Kate, and a brief stint in beauty school failed to keep her from pursuing a songwriting career after graduation. She shelved her beauty course work and focused on music instead, issuing an album entitled Songs from the Attic while working as a nanny to make ends meet. White auditioned for American Idol in late 2007, where the show's new allowance for instrumental accompaniment (in previous seasons, contestants were not allowed to play an instrument on-stage) worked to her advantage. She played piano and guitar during her time on the show, effectively displaying herself as something more than a simple vocalist, and she readied herself for a record contract after the show's conclusion. Rather than partner with a traditional label, however, White opted to form her own label, June Baby Records, with help from American Idol judge Randy Jackson and manager Carl Stubner. The three then set to work on her first post-Idol album, which ultimately in arrived in the form of 2009's High Hopes and Heartbreaks. ~ Andrew Leahey