Originally from Spokane, WA, singer-songwriter, Whitney Mongé moved to the Seattle area in 2008 to pursue her career in music. She began her journey busking in the Pike Place Market, which has since led to several opportunities such as appearances on ESPN’s Mayne Event, CW11’s Band In Seattle, an artist spotlight on PBS station KTCS 9 and currently, a local commercial on KOMO 4 for the $9 million Pike Place Market expansion fundraiser project. Along with TV opportunities, Mongé has performed live on various radio shows such as KJR FM, KSER FM, & KYRS FM. Whitney brushed up on her public speaking skills for Ignite Seattle in 2013 at Town Hall, where she did a 5 minute Ted Talk-esque speech about how to busk in the Pike Place Market. The segment aired on KUOW NPR’s Speaker Forum program.
“Whether she’s performing outdoors or playing a long-booked gig, Mongé’s music isn’t just a career, it’s a way of life. This singular artist takes all that on and pushes forward with tenacity.”- Morgen Schuler, Seattle Weekly (August 6th, 2014)
Mongé‘s released her debut solo album, Heartbeat, in 2011 then shortly after, recorded an EP, Steadfast, with by Grammy Award Winning producer, Pete Stewart later that year. Although she is inspired by an array of music, her raspy, sultry vocals are highly reminiscent of Melissa Etheridge and Tracy Chapman. Each album consists of the deep, introspective lyrics that Mongé is known for. On September 11th 2014, she re-released the Steadfast EP with a bonus track, “Gracefully” produced by Grammy Award Winner, Justin Armstrong. Also, she was recently apart of a compilation album, The Empress of the Blues: A Tribute to Bessie Smith, that released in 2014 which includes performances by Jenny Owen Youngs, Tift Merritt, and more.
“When an artist of Miss Monge’s caliber chooses to keep going, it’s not because of ego, or vanity, it’s because her blood is lined with a substance almost every other successful person in any industry has, and as long as she breathes, it’s flowing.” – Thomas Starks, Seattle’s Working Musician (Apr 22, 2011)
In the beginning of Whitney’s busking stint, she was approached by filmmaker, Brian Nunes, to be apart of a documentary about street performers. For 2.5 years, Brian captured her journey from busker to professional musician and all of the struggles that came with it. Find Your Way: a Busker’s Documentary released in early 2014 internationally, and focused on an even larger subject, the nature of context and how it can affect our perception of artistic worth. This award winning film features Grammy Award Winning violinist Joshua Bell, Pulitzer Prize winning author Gene Weingarten, 90’s rocker Chris Ballew (The Presidents of the United States), and your favorite Pike Place Market buskers.
“… she sang with a soulful sandpapered voice pleasingly roughed at the edges from years of barking her pop songs on street corners. ‘The American idol, the American dream. Oh and one day, one day, you’ll be free.’ She won. It was a moment made for TV.”- Mark Baumgarten, City Arts Magazine (Mar 07, 2012)
The year 2012 was break out year for Ms. Mongé as she single-handedly came in 2nd place for the Hard Rock Cafe Seattle Battle of the Bands contest out of 1,200 bands in the area. From playing major venues in Seattle like the Neptune Theater to Nuemos, Whitney performs nationally and is scheduled for a West Coast Tour in January 2015. She may be performing more regularly on stage but occasionally you can still catch her playing a busking set.