Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him, Crazy Germany Travel Stories, And What’s In Store For 2024

Drake White began his country music career in 2011. Drake grew up singing in his church’s youth choir in Alabama, where he learned the soulful and down-to-earth melodies that would appear in his music. 

Drake has hit the top 40 on the Country Airplay chart four times with his songs “Livin’ the Dream,” “It Feels Good” and “The Simple Life,” with his most recent hit being the romantic ballad “Makin’ Me Look Good Again.” His 2013 debut single “Simple Life” introduced his brand of Country soul, which he set in stone with his 2016 debut album Spark followed by the EPs Pieces and Stars.

Spark, his second album, hit the top five on the Country Albums chart upon its release in August 2016. Drake has received many acknowledgements including Rolling Stone’s 10 Country Artists You Need to Know, The Grammy’s Artist of Tomorrow and the British CMA Awards’ International Song of the Year. His most recent work is an EP titled The Bridge.

In August of 2019, Drake collapsed on stage due to a hemorrhagic stroke. The medical event left him in the hospital wondering if he would ever perform again. After undergoing a series of operations and physiotherapy to control his rare vascular disorder, he embarked on his Optimystic Tour to spread his incredible perseverance and positivity to his fans.

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

In 2023, Drake did his first charity concert event at the Ryman, Benefit For The Brain, where he helped raise over $253,000 for various organizations. These organizations were for military personnel and their families with a focus on PTSD and other trauma related issues, child and adolescent brain health, and research into brain and stroke treatments.

Drake has shared the bill with country music greats like Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Little Big Town. He is currently on tour until May and will be performing in August at the Music For The Mind: Music & Camping Festival in Missouri. 

We had the opportunity to meet with Drake White at Country Now Live event before CRS in Nashville and talk about his collaboration with Colbie Caillat, his tips for traveling with children, and his crazy Berlin travel story. 

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The last time we talked was 2020 right after COVID started. We were both riding a Peloton every day. You were recovering at that point. How are you doing now?

Doing good. We’re back on the road. We’re pretty much full time and watching crowds grow. I’ve always said in the last four years, it’s almost back to where it was, but now it’s exceeded that. So, we’re in a good spot. 

You toured extensively through the UK. Did you find any hidden gems that you would tell people to visit?

I mean, there’s a lot. Scotland’s great. Edinburgh is one of my favorite spots. Where we played Black Deer Festival last year was kind of in the countryside. London’s great. Spend all the time there you want to spend there, which is a lot. But then get out in the countryside and meet the beer drinkers and meet the farmers, because that’s where it’s at. It’s just like America.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Tell me about what inspired The Bridge

I went to the University of Auburn and graduated with an engineering degree. So, I’ve always been drawn to bridges. Bridges for me are the pathway getting you around an obstruction or getting you over a body of water. It’s all about getting back to what made me fall in love with music in the first place. So that’s why The Bridge EP was released. We were releasing a new record with my buddy Jonathan Singleton. The Bridge was to represent getting back to that spot that we love of making music.

How did the collaboration on “Power of a Woman” come about with Colbie Caillat?

The pandemic kind of ensued and we were doing our thing in the barn. I can’t remember how it went down, but anyway, she just hung out there with us at the barn during that time. We met at Live in the Vineyard years ago. I’ve just always loved Colbie and what she represented and the chill vibe of her. She’s just the coolest. So, we started hanging out during the pandemic. My wife and her became good friends as well.

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Tell me about Benefit for the Brain.

Well that’s an accomplishment for me. I was basically paralyzed in the hospital. I told God that if he would give me the ability to walk out of there, I would flip it for his glory and his good and I would bring awareness and be open with my story. I’ve just had this peace about sharing my story.

I’m not judging anybody that doesn’t share their story, because it’s a personal preference, but for me, he just gave me the strength to share that story to people and help them through the things they were going through. The most important thing that happened was all those prayers, all those things that I prayed for. Benefit for the Brain was God saying, ‘oh, thank you. I got you.’ So, it was amazing.

Since we last talked, you had a child, William Hawk. Any tips for traveling with children?

Have a badass momma that knows how to do it. I mean, for me, we’ve only been on two significant trips. I would say time that naptime it in the middle is key. You get through some Miss Rachel, or whatever he’s watching, he’s one, so then he takes a nap for three hours. Don’t go over seven hours because we just did it and it gets interesting. 

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Are there any places that you’re looking forward to taking him that you maybe vacationed when you were little?

I went to New Zealand for about six months back in 2010. If we want to get right down to Panama City and boiled peanuts and all that stuff, I’m definitely going to take him there, but that’s easy. I want to take him back to those special spots like New Zealand and say, ‘The reason I came here is because I followed a nomadic spirit. The reason I came here is because I saw Lord of the Rings, and it was that little thing in my brain that said, I’m going to where that was filmed, and I was 13.’ I went there and stayed forever and sailed around the southern tip of it. I hitchhiked around the whole South Island. I had that sense of adventure about me. If you want to go boating around the world, go do it.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s your craziest travel story?

I took my mom and dad with me to Germany. Me, Alex, my band and tour manager went touring through Germany and a tornado came through and we had a train ride that was like four hours long. The tornado blew a bunch of trees down over the tracks, and that four-hour ride turned into a 13-hour ride. It was a fiasco with my mom and dad and everybody was so drained. 

We had a show that night in Berlin, and my mom and dad and my wife were walking to the show and ended up in the redl ight district of Berlin. Now you’re talking about two southern women that are trying to get to their son’s show. When we played we were like zombies that day. Mom and Alex ended up in the red light district and were enjoying it. They were getting a cup of coffee and just vibing.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What does 2024 have in store for you?

It’s got new records. It’s got new tours. We’re looking forward to watching Hawk walk. I’ve got a new dog named Trigger that is just amazing. Continuing my health journey and continuing sharing this. I think I’ve got some speaking opportunities with this story of the stroke and overcoming that kind of stuff. 

I think the whole speaking world is going to open up. I think the whole music world is going to open up because we’ve been beating on the damn door for five years trying to prove to people that we were still alive. Now with this record and these things, the timing is right. What’s going on in music, I think is great. 

It’s just cycles that are happening that are very conducive to what I do, which is raw. I didn’t even know what I was going to sing up there tonight. You know? I just get up there and do it. We sang a brand-new song to end the set, which was stupid. I mean, who does that? But we did it.

Drake White Talks About How His Son Is Inspiring Him
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s inspiring you to write right now?

I would be remiss if I didn’t say watching a being on the earth that doesn’t have any concept of tomorrow or any concept of yesterday. A newborn, all he knows is what’s in front of him. If we could take that power and we could live each day like that, all we worry about is what’s in front of us. He doesn’t even worry about anything but the innocence that he sees through his eyes. That’s very inspiring. 

Not like ‘bubblegum in the baby’s hair’ type stuff. No offense to whoever wrote that song. Great song. Y’all made a bunch of money. Congratulations. But for me, that’s pretty cool to not think about yesterday, not think about tomorrow. He’s right there in the moment. So that’s why I hang out with him and my dog, because they both have the same mentality. 

My advice would be to be more like a dog and a newborn, just be in the moment and create what you feel in front of you. So that’s what’s inspired me to write. It’s like I’m a newborn again, or gives me the excuse to forget my wallet and keys like I do every day. 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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