Recently one of our staff writers Kate Willis got a chance to catch up with Drake White on his recent trip back to the UK.
How have you enjoyed being back in the UK?
It’s been great, it’s been great we have been trying to get back here since March. We’re making some friends out here, it’s been a lot of fun.
There was a popular opinion last night (Shepherds Bush gig with Kip Moore) that you could have sold out Shepherds Bush by yourself.
Wow, that would have been fun.
I hear you met our friends ‘The Scottish Country Mafia’ in Glasgow?
Ha! Those guys were great, we have a tradition of going into a pub before a show and we were sitting there and these folks were looking at me. I did not have my hat on or anything I just had a proper baseball hat on. They were just kind of looking at me and I turned around and said what are you all looking at? They started laughing and going crazy, then they ordered twenty drinks.
My friend Paul messaged me immediately his picture with you.
It was fun.
Are you aiming to come back next year and headline some bigger venues?
That’s the idea, we are not coming over here just for fun, I mean it is fun but we want to build something. I can feel people relating to the music and that’s a powerful thing when you start making friends and start making family and your brand and people start buying into your brand.
Have you had a chance to visit the UK with your family whilst you have been here?
Oh, absolutely they have been trekking all over the place. We have probably walked eight or nine miles a day, we’ve walked around, experienced the tube, ate Mexican food, Chinese food, Indian foods, Italian food. We have drunk proper tea and enjoyed many alcoholic beverages.
I understand that you are not going to release any more singles from Spark?
We write so much we are creating all the time. I just want to get new music out there. There’s a couple of singles from Spark released over here (UK) that are doing really well. We are right in the middle of working on a new record ready for the first part of next year.
How do you decide on your set list and if your headlining is it set in stone? Or can you change it depending of vibe of the crowd?
Yep, definitely. I’m a big fan of live shows, kind of like The Grateful Dead way of touring. What I mean by that is that every show is different, every show is in a different city, so the covers may change up, some tempos may change of the music, that’s the beauty of live music. There’s no fence post, there’s no rules, you just go out there any put it on the table and let the room tell you what to do. Listen to what is happening. If it’s raining it will be a different show than if its sunny. If it’s a night time show or a day time show they’ll be different. If it’s an outside show or an inside show with 200 people in a small room like tonight. Tonight will be rowdy and loud.
That suits you doesn’t it? You’re famous for jamming and ‘freestyle Fridays’. Your passion exudes through you when you’re on the stage. I remember watching at Songwriters at C2C this year and watching your feet when you were singing sitting on your stool. You could tell you wanted to dance around the stage and not sit fixed on the stool.
Last night my wife said (after I had sung With A little help from my Friends – Joe Cocker, Beatles), ‘You looked different on the stage last night, it looked weird.’ I said ‘if you think I’m doing that (and she knows me better than anybody) you know that is my time to go up there and express myself. I’m not trying to do that for you, it’s exactly what I want to do in the moment, its selfish type thing, it’s not selfish it’s just, it is what it is that’s what I feel like doing in that moment.
I think that is what the fans love about you, it’s your natural passion and talent that shines through in your shows. It’s not contrived or formulaic, it’s just on that day in that moment that is what you feel like doing.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
That’s a really good question… there are a lot of challenges. This is hard, we are not messing around with it but also not trying to take it too seriously. It’s just music. Just write what you feel, be real with yourself, with your band, with your relationships, with your fans and live your life and be happy. The hardest part about this to enjoy where you’re at, the ride, it’s not about the next song, the next record, you always have to be thinking like that and now with social networking I have a bad day sometimes and the hardest part is that we have to be ‘on’ but some of my favourite artists, situations and shows were when an artist was just being normal and he or she said ‘I feel like shit today and I’m just going to be honest with y’all’. So the hardest part is enjoying every moment, enjoy exactly where you’re at, it’s not always about what’s next. It’s about then. That’s what I was thinking about in Shepherds Bush, I was in a state of euphoria. You’re putting it all on the line, putting your best foot forward to give the best show. I think that’s the hardest part, I don’t know!
That’s the difficult thing about being a musician. You don’t really have choice that’s what you’ve always wanted to do, but with that comes being away from home. How do you cope with that?
I love being on the road, I’m a nomadic spirit. There’s a balance to that, you want to come home and chill out.
It’s difficult isn’t it, you have to ride the wave whilst you’re ascending and the music business being what it is you have to find the balance without losing yourself, your family.
You have to stay grounded, my wife keeps it very grounded so does my family, Mum and Dad, they’ve come out on the road, and it helps a lot and makes it easier. You have to surround yourself with good people.
One of my friends came back from the bar in Kips set and said Drakes going to come on again with Kip in a minute as I’ve just spoken to Drakes Mum and Dad at the bar.
Oh really? She gave it way? Ha Ha..
Do you have a favourite gig of yours?
Over here? Or the States too?
I think my favourite gigs have been…. last year we did our own headlining tour and had a sold out show in Boston at this legendary rock club. If I had to say, like there has been so many, Red Rocks Colorado, with Willie Nelson we had an amazing time. Our gig in Scotland this week was phenomenal, Shepherds Bush was a bucket list, but really I can say the Boston Show. It was sold out 1500 people and they’re there for you and singing every word to every song. It’s hard to beat that.
Do you play any other instruments other than acoustic guitar, piano and percussion?
I wouldn’t call myself a pianist, I can bang on it. I really I feel I can pick instruments, to me, you can pick any of them up, any string instrument and do your own thing. I’m stumbling over this question, yes I play acoustic guitar, not really proficient at electric guitar, but I feel that I could pick it up and put my own thing to it.
What artists do you listen to?
I actually checked out some of Taylor Swift’s new music the other day which is pretty good. I checked out my buddies Midland. Bob Marley is always on, I really like Jack Johnson, this guy named Larry John Wilson, (old school blues funky Georgia guy), its always changing I listen to classical music, I listen to some Western type swing, Jazz then Meghan Trainor, I really like her.