Drake White is known for his soulful singing and energetic performances onstage, but he can't take all of the credit; rather, the up-and-comer says part of that honor goes to his grandfather, whose influence is in everything he does.

"He taught me about the outdoors and taught me how to enjoy the spiritual realm of life," White tells The Boot. "That’s kind of my favorite part, to really sit outside -- where somebody might call it weird or call it different -- to really tap into that organic spirit of spirituality. He taught me how to be an outdoorsman and how to be a gentleman and how to stand up tall and stand up for what you believe in, and all of that stuff."

White also honed his skills by sitting in a pew and listening to his grandfather, a boisterous minister, preach. It's those formative years that helped the singer create his recent debut album, Spark (which opens with a snippet of one of White's grandpa's sermons).

"I listened to him sing and listened to the music he listened to and listened to his sermons and his scripture for a long time. So it can’t help but seep into my musical palate," White notes. "The old soul, the gospel and all the growls and kind of vibratos that you hear, it’s because I grew up on Sunday mornings listening to it."

In fact, the lessons that White learned from his grandfather created the theme that runs through all 12 songs on Spark.

"There’s a common thread, as far as subject matter is concerned, with it, of work hard, play hard," White shares. "There’s a common thread of hope. Just h-o-p-e, like there is hope in tomorrow ... There’s also a 'disconnect' thought of subject matter, in the writing of it. Disconnect. Put down your phone. Put down your computer. Listen to the frogs. Watch the sun set. That type of thing."

And the Alabama native says that those messages he is sharing with his fans are ones he practices himself as well.

"That’s just the person I am," White admits. "I want to disconnect all the time. I want to sit on the porch with a good fire going and hang out and drink a good beer with my dogs and my wife, my family, and just chill out. I love disconnecting, so I think it’s an album that encourages people to disconnect and focus on reality, focus on the real things."

Spark is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.

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