Fans of GOAT sitcom Seinfeld are sure to recall Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine’s love/hate relationship with “The Drake.” At various intervals, they both “Love The Drake” and “Hate The Drake.” There was no middle ground. In their defense, The Drake was a pain in the ass who was always breaking up with his fiancée. But enough about that.
As far as foot-stomping singer/songwriter Drake White goes, NCD “Loves The Drake.” We also love his new album, Spark, which drops today (Aug. 19), and we’ve got five reasons why we have a lovefest with The Drake . . . White.
5. Drake Has Zac Brown’s Seal of Approval
If Drake is good enough for Zac Brown, he’s good enough for NCD. After catching Zac’s ear at his August 2015 show at the House of Blues in Boston, Drake was invited to play some select dates on ZBB’s 2015 fall tour. Now, Drake is the only opener on Zac Brown Band’s current Black Out the Sun Tour.
“It’s been unbelievable to tour with Zac Brown Band,” says Drake. “I’ve always respected Zac and his guys. They’re just such great musicians and his ability to build that brand and build the army that he’s built with his fans, it has been a pleasure to go out there and just be amongst it. To see how Zac treats his crew and his fans, it’s inspiring.”
4. Drake Has Style
Drake shares a mutual love of headwear with Zac Brown, but he didn’t pick that up on tour with ZBB. Drake has always had a fondness for hats, as evidenced by his oft-covered dome. But worry not, he’s got a full head of hair under there.
“I love quality things,” says Drake. “I am kind of an old soul in the respect of hats. A lot of people used to wear hats all the time. Everybody used to wear hats. It’s just one of those things. It became kind of part of me. I believe you can’t really find a hat, a hat’s got to find you. I have probably a good 10 or 12 hats right now. I imagine if I’m blessed enough to have a good career in music, which I already have had a good career, but I’m pretty much saying that when I start making a lot of money, I’ll start buying a lot of hats [laughing].”
3. Drake Gives Back
Drake partnered with Ford Motor Company for the #LivingTheDream by Giving the Dream initiative. Over the last three months, Drake made stops in Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and Boston (Aug. 20) to join forces with agencies like the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity to participate in local service projects.
“I’ve always been taught if we’re blessed with a platform to use that platform for good and to push it back out into society,” says Drake. “It’s the most important thing I’m doing right now. The music is the music, but I’ve always dreamed this to be bigger than the music and to really help people with the platform. We come in to all these cities, so my vision was why not just dive into the volunteer work—allow ourselves to be open and allow our hands to be used. I think that’s what my calling is, and we’re blessed to have this pedestal. It’s kind of a test that God throws out there and says, ‘What are you going to do with the pedestal I gave you?’ For me, I want to do good things. I want to make the world a better place. That’s what #LivingTheDream by Giving the Dream is about.”
2. Drake Has Soul Like Joe Cocker—Not Ringo Starr
Drake is a mover and a shaker onstage. To prepare for each night’s show, Drake and his band—the Big Fire—have been warming up their vocal cords and psyche by singing the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” However, it’s clear that Drake is channeling his inner Joe Cocker—who covered the song at Woodstock in 1969—and not Ringo Starr, who originally sang the tune in 1967. It’s also a tune Drake and his band have worked into his live shows to the delight of fans.
“The spirit of Joe Cocker’s performance that everyone has seen from Woodstock, that’s really where I got almost a permission slip to do what I feel on the stage,” says Drake. “He was convulsing and just going all over the place. You could tell he was definitely in the moment. I’ve taken that kind of spirit over the last 10, 12, 15 years since the first time I saw that video, and just said, ‘You know, that’s true freedom, that’s true bliss.’ I’ve always loved the song and I remember it from the Wonder Years [theme song] when I was a kid. It’s just kind of a part of my musical upbringing. I brought it to the guys in the band, and they were like, ‘Heck yeah, let’s rock it.’ So we’ve been adding it to our shows, too.”
1. Drake’s New Album, Spark, Is On Fire
Drake’s new album, Spark, drops today (Aug. 19). The 12-song offering—of which Drake co-wrote 11 of the songs—is a refreshing mix of earnest lyrics (think Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town) and evocative vocals (think ZBB’s The Foundation). You’ll smile, laugh, maybe cry . . . you’ll feel something. That’s what good music does.
“I’ve been working on this project my whole life,” says Drake. “There are ideas that date back to my earliest memories that are interwoven into the songs, even down to the album art, the pictures in there, my grandmother, my grandfather, the church I grew up in, my wife, my dog, my band. All of that stuff is ideas. Some are old, some are new, some are three or four years old, whatever, but it is personal. It’s very personal and it’s just the first spark of a big flame. The first chapter of many. I hope [listeners] go, ‘Wow, that guy really poured his soul into that, into that performance, into that track.’ I’m from where the Appalachian Mountains start in north Alabama. I want them to hear those mountains. I want them to hear those trees and want it to be organic, but at the same time, modern. I want them to take away ‘This is a man who worked hard on a piece of work that he’s going to enjoy singing and he’s going to enjoy making a bigger army, a bigger group of people that can go out and influence the world for good.’”
Spark Track Listing and Songwriters
- “Heartbeat” | Drake White, Ross Copperman, Jason Sellers
- “Story” | Drake White, Mark Irwin, Tommy Lee James
- “Makin’ Me Look Good Again” | Drake White, Monty Criswell, Shane Minor
- “It Feels Good” | Drake White, Derek George, Philip Pence
- “Livin’ the Dream” | Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston, Luke Laird
- “I Need Real” | Drake White, Ross Copperman, Jon Nite
- “Back to Free” | Drake White, Randy Montana, Philip Pence
- “Equator” | Drake White, Matt Jenkins, Trevor Rosen
- “Live Some” | Drake White, Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
- “Waitin’ on the Whiskey to Work” | Drake White, Tony Lane, Philip Pence
- “Elvis” | Drake White, Jeremy Spillman, Ryan Tyndell
- “Take Me As I Am” | Drake White, Phil Barton, Lindsay Jack Rimes
main image by David McClister/BMLG