On June 15, country soul singer Drake White plays the first night of an eight-gig tour that takes in Dublin and venues across the UK, including Black Deer Festival.
Ahead of his arrival, this first-time Dad talked to Six Shooter Country’s Alison Dewar about releasing new music, elevating others, and the sacrifice of missing his first Father’s Day away from baby son Hawk and wife Alex.
SSC: Drake – firstly, many congratulations on Hawk’s arrival, how are you all doing?
DW: It’s been really great, life-changing of course. Just watching a new baby come in is always special, all the clichés are true. He’s healthy, Alex is healthy, and I couldn’t really be any better.
Hawk is a lucky guy. I have never seen somebody as natural (as Alex) at it, you’re like ‘how did you know how to do that’, it comes back to being in tune with nature, it’s a beautiful thing.
SSC: Sadly, you’re going to be away for your first Father’s Day.
DW: I know, I know, we’ll figure it out. We did Mother’s Day recently and we kind of did a nod to Father’s Day but it’s ok.
That’s the sacrifices that (Chris) Stapleton talked about the last time he accepted awards, you know. We’re out here and people think Tim McGraw or Stapleton or Zac Brown, they’re rich and they can do whatever they want to and … that may be true… but they’ve sacrificed a lot of things, a lot of birthdays, a lot of Father’s Days and a lot of things happen while we’re on the road serving those fans.
That’s what my life’s journey is and I’ll accept it but yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that. We sacrifice this for the music and we love it.
SSC: Do you find being a father has added a new dimension to your songwriting?
DW: Yeah, there’s a deeper richness, a deeper love that you definitely feel. You realise it’s not about you, it’s about the legacy that you leave behind and that’s a good place to be a human and as a follower.
SSC: You dropped a stunning video with an acoustic performance of a new song called Life, Love & War from the iconic Bluestone in Columbus, Ohio. It feels like you’re digging deep on that one.
DW: Yeah, when new life comes into the world it definitely changes your perspective. That was one that kind of fell out, I had that title, it was actually Life, Luck & War, but it turned out to be like an advice song on ‘hey, here’s a little guy that’s got his whole life in front of him’. If he’s lucky he’ll be here 80 to 100 years, and it’s like here’s a little advice from somebody that’s been through 39 of those years, so here’s my take on life, love & war.
SSC: Are you going to release it as a single?
DW: I think we’re in a great time in music and we’re in like a Florence, Italy, type situation in Nashville – almost like a renaissance – because of streaming and how easy it is to get music out there directly to the fans, which is amazing.
So the answer to your question is yeah, I’ll release that, it’s Hawk’s song and how could I not. I don’t know exactly when, because I’ve got a lot in the pipe for the next couple of months and maybe even years.
SSC: Let’s talk about your visit over here, what are you looking forward to most?
DW: We planted so many seeds over there and I love seeing the people, seeing how they react to the songs, how excited they are.
It always fills me up to get over there and have new conversations, meet new folks and new fans and continue our goal of building this kind of worldwide family.
It might sound a little cheesy, but just being over there always refuels me and gets me going because I love storytelling, being a world traveller; meeting new perspectives and new things always gives me energy and kind of muses to write more about.
SSC: Talking of writing, I had a question from a songwriter friend who asked if you ever worry that you’ll get to the point where you’ve used up your creativity?
DW: No, (but) that definitely is a thought that can creep in. That’s what you call a ‘fear mindset’ and that is the antagonist of a creative mindset.
When you come from a place of abundance, when you watch new life come into the world, when you watch trees pop out in the spring, they don’t have a lack of mindset, they don’t have fear mindset; they are just doing what they know the season’s gonna bring.
With my (brain) injury, with Hawk coming into fruition…I mean, we struggled with infertility for so long to get him into the world. It just shows if you keep praying and keep your faith and your hope in life and humanity, that tomorrow’s gonna be better than today, there will always be more, no matter what happens.
You’re gonna go through dry spells, you’re going go through tough spells, but I’m a songwriter and there will always be ideas, there will always be songs and I just always have that faith.
So, the answer’s yes, you do have those thoughts but it’s what you do with those thoughts and not letting those thoughts take root and take seed. That is the secret there.
Drake White last played the UK in August, with gigs including at Scala in
London and The Long Road festival. Photos: Craig Dewar
SSC: You posted the other day about elevating others and you’ve invited Irish band Songbyrd to join you on stage in Dublin after hearing their cover of your song Mix ‘Em With Whiskey. Do you get a kick of helping artists like that?
DW: Yeah, I think back to Hawk and the baby coming into the world. In that song, it says ‘I hope your broken back’s my stairs and my ceiling is your floor’. Well, ‘my ceiling being your floor’ means to elevate others.
I’ve been doing this thing with my socials and it’s basically music, motivation and mayhem – mayhem being the humorous side, because I don’t really take things too seriously, but I do take motivation and I do take music seriously.
Elevating others…it’s so competitive out there in the world, especially in our cultures, it’s how high can you climb. Having a kid really shows you it’s not about that at all, it’s about serving other people, considering others before you consider yourself.
For me, it’s about serving fans and how can I help them get to tomorrow and be better than we were today, from hearing this music.
And that’s not just happy songs, that can be sad songs and letting people know that I’ve been through the midnight cold sweats shaking, that I’ve been through the fear of not being able to create tomorrow, that I’ve been through the fear of not being able to have babies, I’ve been through the fear of not being able to frickin’ walk in the last two years.
I get selfish sometimes, my wife Alex is probably laughing, sometimes I do get in a place where it’s like ‘I want my cake’ and you do have to be selfish, but for the most part it’s about elevating your brother.
I do want to say, The Big Fire (Drake’s band), you’ve heard me talk about The Big Fire band a lot, and there’s been a lot of different changes of members. You know, my buddy (Andrew) Stone, who was my tour manager for a while, now he’s writing stuff, so he’s elevated to another thing.
There’s guys that were in the band who have elevated to other solo careers. Adam Schwind, that used to do drums for me, he is doing solo stuff now.
It really is about elevating others and not holding them in there for yourself but letting them go. Teach a bird to fly (not that I’m teaching them to fly) but hopefully this culture of The Big Fire is remembered as a good stepping stone to get to wherever people wanna go. And that’s what you want, you want people to go where they want to go.
SSC: Well, your UK fans are just pleased that you want to come back to these shores and we can’t wait to see you very soon. Thanks for chatting to us once again.
For tickets and to follow Drake on socials, visit www.drakewhite.com