Drake White on Releasing New Music: 'I Want to Be Real'

Drake White knows only one way to make music: authentically, and on his own terms. The Alabama native released one album, Spark, and two EPs, It Feels Good and Pieces, on Big Machine Label Group, before releasing the live project, Drake White and the Big Fire Live on his own late last year. The live album was White's way of capturing the magic that comes when he and his band take the stage, night after night.

"Our live show has always been where I get my energy," White told PopCulture.com. "It's like therapy. When I get to go up there and release for an hour and a half or an hour a night, we've always had that energy and I wanted to capture that energy. I strive to capture it in the studio everyday. We're in a culture of releasing more music and feed these fans, and just super serve them some music and something to chew on. And so I told my sound guy to record some of our new songs from the [sound] board that we were playing."

White plays new songs for his captive audiences, to see which ones will work, and decided to capture that sound for his live record.

"He just took the live feed and we recorded them straight off the board," White explained. "That's what you're hearing. And it's a great way to introduce fans to new music before you get in there in the studio and release it, but it's also my culture. It's the culture I want to build. I want to be live, I want to be real. If there's a mess up in it that's what you get."

White's love of performing can, perhaps surprisingly, be traced back to his childhood, when his mother worked as a hairdresser.

"It's been since I was a kid listening to Garth Brooks and my mom running a beauty shop she was always like, 'Hey the shampoo lines backing up. Come out here and entertain these ladies so they don't get upset,'" White recalled. "That's where I thrive, and that's where I feel alive is in front of people and doing my thing. Off stage I like to be alone in the woods and hang out and just be on our farm and just do things.

"I like to be with people as well, but there's nothing like that drug that is live music that's like being on stage," he continued. "Having a great band of loving brothers and sisters behind you and just coming together and presenting this thing and giving people an experience and giving people a change to get away from their normal life."

It wasn't White's decision to leave Big Machine, but he insists there are no hard feelings, and believes his best chapters are still ahead of him.

"I got dropped," White acknowledged. "Let's be honest. But it's all good. I would never fault anybody. I love all my family at Big Machine, and I'm not just being diplomatic and saying that. We created a relationship and it's a business. It's a business. That's what those guys are doing. It's about the numbers. We created a great fan base and that fan base and that platform could have not been accomplished without my zig and zag through this music. This musical journey to be cliché.

"It just couldn't be where it's at and we had this ground swell," added the singer. "We had this, everybody says organic, but it truly is. People are tailgating at our shows and now we're selling out shows, we're releasing live records and we're finding innovative ways 'cause we're on the cusp of something great."

White is eager to release more music in 2019, including more live songs.

"It worked out so well, [we will] continue push them toward streaming outlets, but we're working on a studio album right now," White revealed. "I'm just riding everyday with this great circle of friends that I have in Nashville and we're getting ready and getting locked and loaded to put the next chapter out. 2018 was such a transitional year in a good way and I feel like it's unique that it's spring now because pruning and sifting produces this, in plant life, produces this abundant growth and I just can't wait. I can't wait."

White is more optimistic than ever about his future in music, as well as his life off the road with his wife, Alex, on their land outside of Nashville.

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"I believe that everyday when I wake up that we're on the cusp of something, whether it be a video going viral or a song going to radio or just me and Alex finding a great recipe and having a good time on a back porch," White acknowledged. "Being in the moment, sticking there and just being okay with where you're at is a beautiful piece and that's what I'm working towards everyday."

Photo Credit: Getty images/Tim Mosenfelder