Looft first saw Deterding perform at the Kansas District Youth Gathering in 2007. “He gets up there and everybody is already judging him and you don’t think he’d be able to do anything. He surprises you. He’s pretty good.” Deterding agrees: “People perceive my music in the same way they make assumptions about anything else I do,” he said.
“Some people seem to see the crutches or the wheelchair and automatically begin underestimating everything” Even though his disability is physically limiting, he does not feel limited in any other way. He feels that his special situations make him more unique. “How many people can say they're adopted by a family of a different race, in my case, an African-American adopted by white parents?” Deterding said. “Of those people, I can't imagine that many of them can say they are physically disabled and proud to be so. Beyond that, how many people are willing to rap about the fact that they come from an environment where rap is the absolute last genre you'd expect to come out of anyone from rural Kansas? In short, I’m unique.” Deterding did not get where he is overnight.
At the age of 14, Deterding began writing about his friends, family and faith in a spiral notebook. His writings turned poetic, combined with music and he discovered his passion for rapping. He was fueled by a competition within himself to write the most innovative and creative lines possible. The next step in Deterding’s development into a rapper was selecting his stage name. ”I chose Whyte Lyte to represent the 2 major aspects of my existence, my family and my faith,” Deterding said. “It is also by my family that I was presented the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as my only Lord and Savior.
Being a Christian, we are taught to let our light shine throughout the world. God brought me to my Whyte family, and gives me the perfect opportunity to shine my Lyte to the world.” Now, five years since he began writing, Deterding is a sophomore majoring in computer information systems at Kansas State and continuing to take steps in the music industry. He has performed at youth conferences, parties, small events and anywhere else he can find a sound system and listening ears. Deterding has recorded many of his original songs and released them on demo CDs and on his MySpace page.
His current two favorite songs are “Starts with Me” because of its powerful message and “An Outsider’s Perspective” because of its sound and emotion. “‘Starts with Me’ is a personal take on wanting to change the world based on a quote from Gandhi,” Deterding said. “‘An Outsider’s Perspective” narrates the story of the writer as he watches a friend go through difficult times in her life wishing he could help.” Whenever Deterding goes to see professional artists perform or other events, he carries flyers and demos to promote his music. He also carries an open heart and desire to meet new friends. “When I met him, he was very open-hearted and kind,” Looft said. “He didn’t care how he looked or how you looked.
He sees people for who they are.” For now, being Whyte Lyte is just a hobby, one that Deterding admits absorbs more of his attention and time than it should. Performing for the big crowds sounds like something Whyte Lyte would enjoy, but he plans to pursue a college degree first and allow his music to join him throughout the ride. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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