R&B singer-songwriter Drew Vision is getting the mix just right on his latest project Hybrid, available Monday (Dec. 3) via his own Drew Vision Media.
The 7-track album is Vision’s fifth and follows his 2017 EP Shades of Summer, executive produced by Bryan Michael Cox. After establishing himself as an R&B heavy-hitter on the seductive, mature Shades, Vision looks to the future with a fresh blend of modern pop and R&B sounds that stands as his most adventurous and enticing set yet.
“Personally, I wanted to spread good vibes through my music in a way that was more honest to my lifestyle here in California,” Vision tells Billboard. “Musically, I really wanted to explore my sound in as many ways as I could without being defined by a genre.”
The result is a collection of songs centered on love, life and weed, three lyrical subjects of pleasure when all of the ingredients match up. As a visually-minded creative, Vision next took up the task of finding the set’s ideal narrative complement for video. As a means to grasp the urgency and immediacy of modern music consumers, Vision and his team aimed for a social-first approach that used three standalone video shorts optimized for social platforms that could be combined into one cohesive medley.
“Hybrid brought the most variety to my repertoire both musically and visually,” Vision beams. “That made it hard to choose a song for the video, so I decided to do three mini videos.”
The singer took the opportunity to showcase some of his biggest departures on the album with “Feel It With You,” the vocally-demanding “Magic” and the radio-ready “HitxSip,” which Vision teases he “got to deliver a version of singing and rapping in a way that no one’s heard from me before.”
The team brought on veteran casting director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd (Southside With You, Fruitvale Station) to direct the segments and find a through-line for the various moods of the project. Byrd immediately picked up on the beats of “enjoying life, friends and relationships” within Vision’s music and honed on that for the sultry yet playful visual.
“[Drew and I] vibe on the same wavelength and listen to each other’s thoughts and ideas,” Byrd tells Billboard. “Drew’s music evokes a feeling of sensuality, beauty and enjoying life. The visuals are inspired by those topics, literally and figuratively.”
With Byrd at the helm and a fleshed-out concept that would see Vision whisked around Los Angeles for a day of hazy lust and fun, the pieces began to fall into place and final roles filled by models Chasity Saunders and Majik Mone’t as well as a crucial cameo by actor Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why).
The fruitful collaboration between Vision and Byrd builds on the singer-actor’s ability as a multi-disciplinary artist to create music with a specific visual direction in mind.
The project also sheds light on the trajectory that the singer seems to be setting for himself. Vision, who is currently featured as Tidal’s “Artist of the Week,” has more than proven himself in the realm of pop and R&B and is now giving listeners a selection of the finest strains of everything he’s capable of on Hybrid.
He says, “I really wanted to take my viewers on a journey from high energy to mellow, seductive moments and then back to a laid-back, spark a blunt-type of vibe…in the end, all experiences you would enjoy on a great night to remember.”
Hybrid is available now on all streaming platforms.
Tune into the Billboard Instagram at 6:00 p.m. EST on Monday (Dec. 3) for exclusive release day coverage with Vision and check out the visual for Hybrid below.