Erica Mitchell Styling

Whitney Coleman's Groove is in Her Heart

In a summer filled with superhero movies and world class athletes going for Olympic gold, it's hard to not become inspired to challenge one's own personal goals. In that spirit, we want to introduce you to Whitney Coleman and tell you a little about what this Southern California native has accomplished and is currently achieving in her life. Besides being one of the nicest people we've ever encountered, Whitney is a scholar, a multi-talented singer/songwriter and former basketball star.

Currently Coleman is working on her Ph.D in Informatics at IUPUI with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction and recording her latest album. How does she balance all of this? That's easy, she has a huge support system including her family, friends and relationship with God.

Whitney says, "I have always enjoyed challenging myself to be the best at everything that I put my mind to. Moreover, even if I’m not the “best”, that passion and faith has helped me achieve many things that I would never think were possible (i.e. modeling, breaking college b-ball records, getting my doctorate)."

All in a days work for this gorgeous 24-year-old who takes nothing for granted. Giving back to her community and working with her local youth group is one of the most important things in her life which attributes to her focus and ability to stay grounded. "Indianapolis has really shown me some amazing things and has really been welcoming and supportive to not just the music but also the academic side." says Coleman.

FWU: Let's talk about your music. When did you first start singing?

Whitney Coleman: I started singing at a young age. In grade school I was always a part of my schools’ talent shows. My father has a musical background so I guess you could say being around him encouraged me to want to get into music.

FWU: Who are your musical inspirations?

Whitney: God, my family, artist like Lauryn Hill, Tina Turner, Fiona Apple, Res, my friends. I mention God because I believe that my talents and all that I do have been a blessing from God. I mention my family because they constantly inspire me to stay true to who I am and where I’ve come from. Plus, everyone in my family loves music of all types and just about everyone can either sing or play an instrument. Growing up, my brother, Greg Jr., and my sister, Kim, really exposed to me to so many genres and artists at a young age.

FWU: Tell us a little bit about your upcoming album and what was the influence behind the album?

Whitney: The upcoming album “Sit this one out” really is exactly that. I chose to take a year off from music, mainly took a break from performing, so that I could get to know myself better…my strengths and weaknesses. I come from a family who encourages maturity and success in both a service/community standpoint as well as a professional one, but spiritual growth being the driving force for both. I guess you could say that the album shows that growth, exploits those weaknesses but highlights how I’ve grown to be stronger.

FWU: When will it be released?

Whitney: Spring of 2013

FWU: How does this differ from previous albums?

Whitney: The only difference is the instrumentation. I’ve chosen to work with a local Indianapolis producer named SoulCinematik (Jason Peate) who basically took my raw piano/vocal tracks and transformed them into something amazing, original, and so fitting for my new approach and outlook on my life and music.
FWU: What embarrassing songs might we find on your iPod?

Whitney: I don’t really have any embarrassing things. If anything, you may find raw unfinished songs that I’ve worked on but have not completed. Pandora has helped with the embarrassing playlist I would say.

FWU: Not even guilty pleasure songs like "Baby, Baby" by Justin Bieber or any One Direction?

Whitney: No, I don't think I have any since I mostly listen to Pandora.
FWU: If you could collaborate with any other artist (singer, duo, songwriter or group) who would it be and why?

Whitney: I’ve always said that I would love to collaborate with an artist named “Res”. Growing up, I remember her style and music and thinking, "Wow, she is so soul and hip hop but so rock." And now when I look back I realize how similar our styles really are. I would love to collaborate with her.
FWU: What was the first album or record that you purchased, and how did it affect your music style?

Whitney: I honestly can’t even remember my very first album I purchased. My brother Greg Jr. and I were so close that usually he would buy the music and I would like it just because he did (i.e. Timberland and Missy Elliot, Tribe Called Quest, Music Soulchild, Erykah Badu, K-OS, Lauryn Hill, Bjork, Beck, Fiona Apple, Portishead). I do remember in probably the 6th or 7th grade buying an Everclear album though. Either way much of the music that I listened to has influenced me one way or the other. More with identity and freedom, to just be me, more than anything.
FWU: Describe your personal fashion/style?

Whitney: A sensitive tomboy. My stylist/sister/friend Erica Mitchell has to remind me to show off the figure sometimes. But, she loves the look as well. I guess I wear whatever fits and typically I do well at finding clothes that fit me, including my personality and hair-styles.
FWU: When you are not performing, how do you spend your free time?

Whitney: I pretty much hang with friends and or manage my “me” time. I really like being outdoors. I’m still a Cali girl at heart so I’m my happiest in the sun. Eating, hiking/bike riding or just lounging at my friend Erica’s house is where most of my down time is spent. The other time is spent studying or writing papers and reading for school. It’s a nice balance. Especially during the summer time.

Whitney's Favorite's

Drink (alcoholic and non): I love sparkling water! I prefer beer over liquor, my favorite would be a Blue Moon with an orange slice.

Movie: I have so many favorites, but I’d have to go with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Favorite restaurant: Working Man’s Friend, Indianapolis, Indiana

Celebrity crush: Lenny Kravitz

Favorite clothing item or accessory in your wardrobe: my brown leather boots (“Wanted”) I bought from Urban Outfitters in California.

Favorite band/singer/group: Cold Play, Mumford and Sons and Lauryn Hill

For more with Whitney and to hear her music, please visit her website and follow her on Twitter @SistaColeman

~Christy Pastore @christypastore


Photography by: Mandykae Blair

Hair and Makeup by: Allure Salon

Fashion Styling by: Erica Mitchell

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