Interview: Drake White Opens Up About ‘Eclectic’ Debut Album, Coming Soon
Drake White has a busy fall ahead of him: The singer-songwriter will be touring solo and as an opening act for Little Big Town and the Zac Brown Band, all while finishing his debut full-length album on Big Machine Label Group's Dot Records.
This summer, White scored a Top 40 country hit with his single "It Feels Good" and recently released his It Feels Good Live EP, a collection of four songs, including "It Feels Good." He has already written about half a dozen songs for the new project and plans to record a few more. And while everything seems to be going well, White has definitely weathered his fair share of storms, including being dropped from one of the biggest record labels in Nashville before his album even came out.
The Boot sat down with White to talk about his new album and new label, and how he emerged stronger, as a person and an artist, after the turmoil.
What will your album sound like?
It's going to be pretty eclectic; it’s got some different things in it. There’s organic, kind of back porch sounds to the whole thing. [And] there’s definitely the anthemic songs that are going to do well. Everybody says you need a good stadium song, a good anthemic, big-crowd song, and there’s definitely those songs on the album. But there’s a real draw back to the roots of country and soul music.
Were you surprised by the success of "It Feels Good"?
You’re always surprised, I guess. You take things humbly. You kind of follow your gut and your instinct on the way you release things. We wouldn’t have really chosen to release it if we didn’t think it was going to make some noise.
I think the surprise is how well it’s been received: We knew it would be tough, because it does sound different, and it is unique, but it’s also true to me and my band and what I do. We knew it would be a good decision, but I’m not really surprised ... I think it’s proved its tenacity, if you will, and its tenacious ability to stand in there among a bunch of songs.
You were previously signed to Universal Music Group. So, how did you become an artist on Big Machine?
I had been recently dropped from UMG. When they came in and everybody merged with Capitol, when all the merging happened, I got dropped. I got dropped on my birthday in 2013 ...
Something triggered in my head, like, "I have to go figure this out," because I had all this music, and I hadn’t even started. I hadn’t even released anything. So, I just took it as a challenge. I took it as time to roll up my sleeves.
Probably 35, 40 days after that, I opened up for Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Ryman Auditorium. Me and my band had been playing four or five shows a week, so we were well oiled and well tuned. [Big Machine label head] Scott [Borchetta] had already expressed interest in me on my first go-round. I had had four offers, and Luke Lewis and Universal ended up signing me. But Scott had expressed interest then -- he was just too busy to pursue the interest. I got my manager to call right when I got dropped.
He came to the show. We smoked it. It was a sold-out crowd. Scott and [Dot Records General Manager] Chris Stacey had offered me a deal with Warner on my first go-round as well. So I had two big fans in them already.
Has all of that turmoil affected the end result of your album?
This record’s going to be me. The UMG guys were great, and I’ll always say that. They were great. It’s just the timing of that didn’t work out, and God opened another door with this. I totally feel embraced here, and the passion is out the roof with Scott and Chris, and the whole Dot family has been incredibly supportive, and they are just hard workers. I do feel like this is where I belong.
What is your time frame for the new record to be released?
We don’t know for sure ... Obviously [I want to] gather fans on the Little Big Town tour and the other dates we’ve got on the book. I’ve got my heart and my sights set on the first of the year, the first of 2016.
We’re about six songs through the process. We’ve got about six or eight more songs to record. I write every day, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.
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