Drake White Is Hoping to Ignite a ‘Spark’ With His Debut Album
It's a hot summer day in Nashville, and Drake White is ready to ignite a Spark. The singer sits in a leather chair behind a funky Nashville bed and breakfast one month before his appropriately-titled debut drops. Sitting next to him, it's easy to feel like you're home. His vibe is similar to that of a crackling campfire.
“I feel relieved," he says with a smile under his brown hat. "I feel good and confident about what’s in store and how people are going to react, but there’s also a vulnerability there. There’s a nervousness a little bit, not too nervous. I’m just anxious to get it out there and give these fans what they deserve.”
He's talking about his debut album that drops Aug. 19. With this 12-track release he's hoping to build his brand — one that's similar to the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you're enjoying an evening in the great outdoors.
"When you think of me I want you to think of a campfire. I want you to think of people sitting on logs, fireflies dancing and a good acoustic sound kind of breezing through the pines," White says. "In that thought, my band’s name is the Big Fire. My fans names are the Firestarters. There’s an infatuation with the warmth of a fire and sitting around it, and I learned how to entertain people around a fire."
"Spark is the first thing that happens when building that chemical reaction, when building that fire," he adds. "That’s the reason Spark came to mind, was this is the spark, this is the beginning of a big fire that’s going to warm a lot of people for a long time.”
White is starting the fire with a person who's been influential on his sound. The voice of his grandfather can be heard multiple times on the record, and he uses that voice to introduce the first track, "Heartbeat."
This is the beginning of a big fire that’s going to warm a lot of people for a long time.
“My grandfather played such a huge role in my music and in my spirit and just in my soul in general. He was a baptist preacher in Alabama when I was growing up, and the good ole gospel music that he used to play and sing was amazing," the Alabama native gushes. "I just went digging through some of his old sermons ... I wanted to get pieces of that sermon that were conducive to the songs and really intertwine and weave them in and out of the songs in an interesting way.”
The "Livin' the Dream" singer has even been influenced by his grandfather in his live shows. They're energetic, rootsy and have a gospel flair. He's showing that off on tour right now with Zac Brown Band, a stint that's providing a new flame for White's songwriting.
“We wrote a good bit since we’re been out there, and I don’t think you can go and open up 50 or 60 shows for Zac Brown, the Bruce Springsteen of country music, and it not affect you," he explains. "If you’re paying attention and enveloping yourself in the art that he does, it’s going to affect your writing. It’s going to raise the bar to your live shows, but there’s going to be a lot of songs that come out of this relationship with Zac.”
The Black Out the Sun Tour is also providing White a chance to begin warming his fans with the songs from his album, and he's noticing their responses to a few tracks in particular.
“People absolutely love ‘Back to Free.’ They really like it when we sing it. Zac loves it, Zac and them sang on it. It was one of the standout ones. People love ‘Story’ and ‘Livin’ the Dream,’ obviously with it being played a lot on radio people are learning it and singing it back to us, so it’s pretty special to watch that one. Then the rambunctiousness of ‘Elvis’ and ‘I Need Real.’ People like that stuff, especially at a time now where there’s so much gray out there. There’s not a lot of black and white. I think people listen to this music and they hear a little bit of the roots and the tradition and they kind of are attracted to it, hopefully."
Transport to White's traditional campfire when Spark drops on Aug. 19. For now, fans can pre-order the album on iTunes and get four tracks instantly, including "Story" and "Makin' Me Look Good Again."
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