Silver Star Café to host singer Coles Whalen |

Silver Star Café to host singer Coles Whalen

Singer and songwriter Coles Whalen cut her musical teeth on jazz while growing up in Denver, Colo.

Her biggest influence was the late Eva Cassidy, but as Whalen branched out into her writing her own songs, she tapped into various singer and songwriters, such as Sheryl Crow.

"When Sheryl’s first CD ("Tuesday Night Music Club") came out, that was pretty much what got me on my way," Whalen said during a phone call to The Park Record from San Diego, Calif.

Whalen, who will perform a dinner concert at the Silver Star Café on Friday, Nov. 9, said when she began writing her own music, she wanted them to mean something.

"I wanted to be as honest as I could in expressing my thoughts and feelings through music," she said. "I’ve practiced that, so, hopefully, I’ve gotten better to easily compress all that into an easily-understood song."

To Whalen, there is no such thing as being "too honest."

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"I do think it can be a scary to be as honest as you can be, because you don’t know how people will react to what you’re singing," she said. "Sometimes it can be unnerving to put yourself out there and exposed so boldly."

It appears she’s doing something right, because most of the feedback she gets is from people who tell her the music helped them through their own challenges."

"You can’t ask for more than that when a listener says my music has made them happy," Whalen said.

Still, her career isn’t just making her audiences happy. One of the biggest concerns she has is to keep her music original, and not let outside influences guide her songwriting or performances.

"I spend a lot of time in L.A. and in Nashville and there are many successful music people in both of those towns who are quick to give you advice about how to achieve the next level and make the next best record," she said. "Sometimes it’s difficult to not let them get to you."

To date, Whalen has released three extended-play CDs and three full-lengths. Her latest full-length, "I Wrote This For You," was released last February and is comprised of songs that were written over a four-year period.

"Some of the older songs were saved for this record," Whalen said. "The challenge was finding how these songs worked together, since my songwriting has evolved over the years.

"I hoped it would all come together as a smooth project and flow as a single record, but I recorded the whole CD and then went back to add some new arrangements on it, because it just wasn’t working out," she said with a laugh. "We had to redo some of the tracks and I think the old ideas and new ideas now flow together seamlessly."

Copies of "I Wrote This For You" will be available at the Park City show, which Whalen will perform with bassist/percussionist Kim O’Hara.

"Kim has played with several bands in Denver throughout the years and I was introduced to her in those music circles," Whalen said. "I had a bass player who took another gig for a year and when he returned, he had lost his job to Kim."

The Park City performance will be an intimate set and Whalen is looking forward to playing.

"This is the first time where I will have a new record for Park City and I hope people like it," she said.

Singer and songwriter Coles Whalen will perform with bassist and percussionist Kim O’Hara at Silver Star Café’s Park City Limits, 1825 Three Kings Dr., on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. For more information, call (435) 655-3456 or visit