Drake White Wants to Get Closer to His Fans on His Spark Tour
Following the release of his debut album, Spark, in 2016, Drake White has launched his own headlining tour, the Spark Tour. White learned the ropes by opening for big artists such as Eric Church and the Zac Brown Band, and he says it was an honor to not only hang out with them on the road, but learn from them as well.
"I believe if you want to do something, find someone who’s already done it and ask them how they did it," White shared recently, during an intimate performance at the Ryman Auditorium. "I have had the opportunity to do that over these last couple years, and it’s been a blessing."
White's debut single, "It Feels Good," landed in the Top 40, and his follow-up single, "Livin' the Dream," became a Top 15 hit, so White is earning the right to perform at bigger venues. For now, however, his primary focus is remaining close to his fans.
"When talking to my booking agent, he said, ‘What do you want to do? Do you want to go hard for another opening slot? What do you want to do?’" White recalls. "I said, ‘I want to go back to these markets, I want to go back to these places, these awesome outlets and markets that we went and played with Zac and with Little Big Town and all these folks. I want to get in with the clubs, and I want to build it, and I want to keep building it and keep building it and keep building it. That’s what we’re doing now ...
"It’s unbelievable to see people actually coming to the shows now; it’s pretty awesome," White adds. "I don’t take it for granted, and I’m going to keep writing my a-- off every day to keep it there."
White, who is becoming known just as much for his freestyle, off-the-cuff performances as he is for his songs, says that it's his heritage that made him the man, and the musician, that he is today.
"I grew up building forts in the woods and hanging out by myself a lot. I grew up in church; my grandfather was a preacher, so there was always a stream of consciousness there. They always kind of taught me to think for myself and do my own thing," White recalls. "Just making up stuff -- that whole freestyle thing is just thinking two phrases ahead. And I don’t know why I’m able to do it, because I can barely keep up with my wallet and my keys, but that’s always came to me; it’s always flowed through me, and it’s always given me great joy to do it and surprise people."
White found the most influence, when crafting Spark, in his childhood in Alabama.
"I would say, ‘Mom, I’m bored,’ and she would say, ‘Drake, only boring people are bored. Make something up. Entertain yourself. Go do something. Make something up with a street sign or something,'" White remembers, adding with a laugh, "I got in a lot of trouble rhyming duck.
"I grew up just, around a fire, hanging out and enjoying storytelling. That’s kind of what I kept finding the writing going towards in this record, is just, be present. Be there. Be in the moment," White continues. "That’s what I’ve tried to do. My head works a million miles an hour, and that’s hard sometimes. But it’s a blessing to have this outlet that calms you down. Everyone needs an outlet."
Being out on his own tour, on which he calls all the shots, is White's chance to express his gratitude to those who have contributed to his success and continue to follow his journey.
"It took three years to get my first album out, and I learned that the road that you’re on is your road, and there’s a lot of people -- you’re not alone," White reflects. "There’s a lot of people that have similar roads that you do, and you have to band together and come together as people, come out here and band together as writers and creative people that love the craft of songwriting and playing. The record is a labor of love. We poured so much guts and glory into it.
"I cut songs that I still love and got songs on there that just took a lot of people, kind of an army, to put these things together," he adds. "There’s so many people working behind the scenes to keep up with my keys and my wallet, and to keep up with all this stuff, so it’s not just me. I think that’s what Spark’s about -- those people coming together and saying, ‘This hard work deserves to be heard.'"
A list of all of White's upcoming shows on his Spark Tour is available on his website.
10 New Country Artists to Watch in 2017