January 2019

Musicians in Bathrooms: Whitley Deputy

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

What’s your sign?
It’s red. It has eight sides and it says “STOP IT!” Whenever someone asks me what my sign is, I always say, “Cancer” or “Gemini” or something that I’m not, and they’re always like, “Oh, that totally makes sense” lol. I believe a person ultimately chooses who they want to be with their free will, so I don’t believe in zodiac signs. But the Mazzaroth is pretty cool.

Most underrated song that in your opinion should be a classic:
There are so many songs I love that would fit. But the song that comes to mind at this moment is Chicken Grease, by D’Angelo. It grooves so hard!

Biggest compliment you’ve ever gotten from a fan:
Most of the compliments I receive are on my voice, but lately I’ve been getting a lot of other compliments. Last weekend, I had two people tell me my guitar playing sounded flawless—like it was on the radio. I had two people tell me I had a nice butt. And to top it all off, I had a guy tell me, “I don’t know how to say this, but you look like Captain America.” I was like, “Thanks man.” lol. But maybe the biggest compliment I’ve received was the first time I made a woman cry playing one of my original songs. Sorry, Holly! Not sorry.

What is your favorite song to perform?
It depends on my mood. My favorite songs to perform are my original songs. But perhaps my favorite cover to play is “Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green.

What do you sing in the shower?
Believe it or not, I don’t really sing in the shower. I typically spend that time evaluating my life. Then I can’t remember if I washed certain parts of my body or not, so I wash them again just to make damn sure.

Favorite cereal?
Cookie Crisp is my jam.

At what venue do you most like to perform?
Over the years I have played at many amazing venues, but I would have to put two of them on the top of my list, and I’m very proud to say they’re both right here at home: The Tiki Hut and The Jazz Corner. Another favorite of mine is The Mansion at Forsyth Park in Savannah. The acoustics are incredible.

Most requested song at shows?
People always seem to request the most random songs. They ask me to play songs I’ve never heard of by people I don’t know who the hell they are. Did ya really think I would know that one, Harold?

First concert you attended?
I must have been about 17. I went to see Goodie Mob.

Favorite artist:
I’d have to narrow it down to these: Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, James Brown, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo, Aretha Franklin, Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, Sonora Carruseles, Puerto Rican Power, and Vulfpeck. And I love my brother Zach Deputy!

Place you go to get away from it all?
For me it’s not a place; it’s a thing. SALSA! If you haven’t tried salsa dancing, you are missing out! I love it. I go every week. I practice several times a week. I go out of town to conferences. I just can’t get enough. If my schedule allows, I’m hoping to start teaching classes again at Alliance Dance Academy after the new year. But if I’m really having a tough time, I pray. I go to God. I just let go and let him take care of it. It works out 100 percent of the time when I do that. God is good.

Do you tweet, gram or book? What’s your handle?
I have a Twitter account (WhitleyDeputy) but I don’t really use it much. I think that will change. I do Instagram (whitleydeputy). I’m either posting some music-related stuff or some comedy video I made that I and 14 other people think is hilarious. I have three Facebook pages: Whitley Deputy Band, Whitley Freakin’ Deputy Hilarious Comedian, and Whitley Keepin’ it Real where I talk about politics, current events or whatever I feel like blabbin’ about.

Finish this verse as if it were the hook of a song: “Sally went down to the bayou…”
She was looking for a soul to steal. Tight red dress; she’s a hot mess. Better run from them high heels.

Who would star as you in the epic retelling of your life on film?
Well I would have said Chris Pratt or maybe Channing Tatum, but after last weekend, I’m gonna have to go with Captain America.

First instrument you learned to play?
My Uncle Grady taught me how to beat box when I was five years old. I was the man on the playground. I play guitar now, but I started playing drums at 17. I miss it. I played drums on my record that will be coming out in the spring. That was so much fun! Big thanks to my boys Nick Poulin and especially Kyle Wareham of Pretty Darn for making this record sound so freakin’ awesome. Couldn’t have done it without you Kyle! Love you bro. I also want to thank my bass player Clarence Williams and my keyboard player Willie Jones. These guys absolutely killed it.

Song you were thrilled to finally master:
I don’t know if I ever want to think that I’ve mastered anything. It makes it harder to grow. I just want to continue trying to become a better me.

What do you wish you knew more about?
God. He’s so awesome. There are so many things about him that I just don’t understand—can’t understand. But what I do know is that the closer I get to him, the better my life gets.

What famous musician would you love to sing a duet with?
RIP Aretha Franklin. Maybe we’ll do one in heaven.

What animal do you most identify with?
It used to be a turtle, but since I have come out of my shell, I would have to say a falcon—a very large and majestic falcon.

If you got super-famous and you had to change your name, what would your new name be?
I spent a large portion of my childhood being ashamed of my name. There was a female character on a show called A Different World named Whitley Gilbert. I can’t tell you how many times I was called Whitley Houston. Going into middle school, I decided to start going by my first name, Jonathan, to avoid getting made fun of by a whole new group of stupid kids. Whitley is my middle name. When I was 17 years old, I decided that I was going to embrace my name that my family called me rather than be ashamed of it. It’s mine. I’m the only Whitley Deputy in the world. I will never change it again. But just for fun, if I got famous and I had to change my name, I would change it to Enrique Pablo.

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