White Town image

White Town

White Town demonstrates the culture, diversity and innovation is at the Heart of the Midlands

White Town is the solo project of Indian-born British musician Jyoti Mishra.

White Town formed in 1989 as a conventional guitar band but quickly shed members over the following year. By the end of 1991, they were down to just one member – singer, keyboardist, and founder Jyoti Mishra.

Mishra was born in India but moved to the UK as a young child, with his band’s unusual name referring to the predominantly white town of Derby that he grew up in. He certainly didn’t fit the image of a typical popstar: he wasn’t white, he came up through the decidedly un-commercial twee pop scene, he’d been straight edge since he was 16, and he was a radical Marxist.

White Town - Your Woman

White Town is Jyoti Mishra, who sings and records dance music using synthesizers and samples. This is by far his best-known song with its infectious hook. It samples a song from the 1930s by British singer Al Bowlly called "My Woman." Mishra heard it on the Pennies From Heaven soundtrack. Al Bowlly's vocals was first recorded in November 1932, and they finally reached the top of the chart 64 years later as part of this song. No other UK #1 single has such a time gap before reaching the summit.

White Town - This Could Be The Best Thing

A zero budget recording achieves UK #1 single

Mishra made it entirely on his own with a zero budget – he used a cheap sampler bought with money borrowed from his girlfriend, and he sequenced it on a program given away for free on the cover of a magazine. Despite this, the EP managed to end up in the hands of radio presenter Mark Radcliffe, who gave “Your Woman” – its opening track – a spin on BBC Radio 1’s flagship breakfast show while he was covering for Chris Evans. From there it blew up, hitting #1 at the end of January 1997. It was one of, if not the first bedroom-produced pop song to claim the honour.

White Town - Undressed

Marxist bedroom pop musician from Derby

Mishra ended up signing to Chrysalis, a sublabel of EMI, and releasing the album Women In Technology through the imprint. Yet unsurprisingly the major label system didn’t know what to do with a Marxist bedroom pop musician, and subsequent follow-up singles failed to chart. Today, it remains a cult hit, sampled on Wiley and Emili Sandé’s “Never Be Your Woman” and lending itself to the title of the 2007 Michelle Pfeiffer film I Could Never Be Your Woman.

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