Radio executives who attended the Country Radio Seminar in March came away excited about the musical offerings of many of Nashville's newcomers – with MCA's Drake White being one act who attracted quite a bit of interest. With new single "The Simple Life" on the radio (No. 54 on Country Airplay), and tour dates filling up this summer, it's an exciting time for the singer.
"I'm beside myself. I've done this my whole life, and you know how hard it is to get where we've been able to get. I'm blessed to be in this position. I believe in the music, and what we've created. I'm really anxious to see people's reaction to it."
He gives credit to MCA for not trying to change his sound, though he admits that would be a tough task. "I had a good idea when I signed the record contract of who I was musically. I'd been playing for quite a while, so I was writing my own stuff. I didn't need anyone to tell me who I was or show me my identity," he says, stressing that he hopes that comes through to the listener. "I think you get a strong sense of that when you see me live, or when you hear this record." And, the record is definitely unique, with shades of country, blues, rock and reggae throughout.
When asked about his earliest musical influence, he didn't quote the name of Haggard or Williams, but a neighbor growing up. "Mr. Brown was a bluegrass guy across the street from us. He lived on a dead end road. My dad wanted to get a guitar in my hands, and thought it would be a good thing for me to start taking lessons. It was an old Yamaha guitar, and I didn't really take to it at first. It took a couple of years. As long as I have somebody telling me I have to do something, I'm not going to do it. But, once my dad told me I can go about it on my own free will, that's when I got bit by the guitar bug."
After high school, White continued his education at Auburn, where he said he realized that music was what he had to do with his life. "I hooked up with a real good buddy of mine. He could play guitar rather well, and we learned a bunch of cover songs. We started to see people show up on Saturday nights at this place called Wings To Go. That was where I began to say that God put me on this earth to do. People started reacting to the music, and I've stayed true to that – those free spirited shows. It was nothing for me to go off on a tangent about what the local news was talking about, or the local gossip. It became funny, and what I became known for – those freestyle rants, if you will. It was great, very surreal," he says of those days in Tigers territory – though he confesses to being more of a Crimson Tide fan when it comes to football.
White - who will be performing over the next few weeks with acts such as Kip Moore and Blackberry Smoke - is enjoying every minute these days, and he says that he's just trying keep his focus on the music, and not worry about the charts. "You can't really do anything about that. You write your music, you play your music, and it is what it is. With radio, there's only so much time. When you see Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Eric Church and all those guys competing for the same radio time you are. It really brought it down to the fact I'm just glad to be in the position I'm in. I think the music will take care of itself."