We’re only a week and half into the New Year, but it’s been a busy one for Drew Baldridge. After spending some quality time with his family over the holidays, he rang in the New Year playing a showcase in Las Vegas, released his infectious song “Dance With Ya” to radio the following Monday (it became the #1 most added song for a new artist), and dropped his Dance With Ya EP last Thursday! All of this was just in time for him to head out on tour with “Backroad Song” singer, Granger Smith. He also earned a spot on our “16 Artists We’re Excited About in 2016” list for his real lyrics and infectious rhythms. In the midst of all that we were lucky enough to catch up with the Illinois native to learn a little more about his musical influences, who some of his favorite artists are, and what he hopes people feel when they listen to his music.
Drew grew up singing at his church so it’s no surprise that one of his musical influences is the great southern gospel singer, George Younce, who Drew says, “was a big influence of mine”. He also lists Michael Jackson, Josh Turner, and Brooks & Dunn as some of the others. It was actually his mom surprising him with Josh Turner tickets for his birthday when he was younger and taking him to the Wild Horse in Nashville that made him want to pursue music as a career. “I got to meet Josh and I was so nervous and I just remember it was one of those nights where it just kind of hit me that man, Josh was up there doing this and this is exactly what I want to do” Drew says. He went home that night and told his mom he was going to pass up the baseball scholarship he had and move to Nashville.
Another artist that inspires Drew is Eric Church. When asked if there was an artist he would most like to sing a duet with in the future, Drew says “I would love to sing a song with Eric Church, that would be incredible! His whole Mr. Misunderstood album is really great, I’ve listened to it who knows how many times. I just think it’s phenomenal”.
While the tour with Granger Smith is Drew’s first tour with another artist, he and his band have been playing shows all over the U.S. the last few years. One of their favorite venues to play is Brick Street in Oxford, Ohio. Drew says it’s because, “it’s a great atmosphere and every time we’ve played there it’s almost been sold out and the people that come there are always wanting to have a good time”.
With songs like “Dance With Ya”, it’s hard to imagine not having a good time at one of Drew’s shows. He says he chose “Dance With Ya” as the single to release to country radio because, “it’s just the song, it says so much about me right at the beginning of my career. I’ve always loved to dance and it’s a great up tempo song for people to get to know who I am and it says a lot”. With a song title like that it’s also expected that Drew might have a few dance moves of his own that he’s known for. When asked if he busts out “The Sprinkler” or “The Lawnmower” Drew laughs and says it’s more of “I move the hips a lot. I guess when I’m on stage that’s probably what I’m known for. Just in my own way letting everyone know that I’m having fun”.
When talking about some of the other songs he’s written Drew is particularly fond of “Tractors Don’t Roll” because “it really touches my heart and really hits home. It’s all about my hometown, Patoka, Illinois, and how I grew up on Sundays. My grandpa was a farmer and every body was a farmer, but tractors don’t roll on Sundays because you’re in church. It’s a song that really hits home with people”.
Speaking of great songs, one of Drew’s favorite songs on the radio right now is Tim McGraw’s “Top Of The World”. “Every time that song comes on I just crank it up”. I also picked Drew’s brain and asked if there was a song out there that he wishes he would have written, “There’s so many great songs! I guess one of them would be “Red Dirt Road” by Brooks & Dunn. That song is just so good and pretty much how I grew up”.
When he’s not touring, Drew can be found hunting, fishing, and watching sports. Being home with family is also very important to him and he tries to get home as much as he can especially to see his little niece. Since we were talking about sports, I asked Drew who some of his favorite teams are, “I’m a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. Huge St. Louis Cardinals fan! And of course for football I’m a Rams fan. Anything St. Louis, where I grew up was only about an hour and half away from St. Louis so, if you’re raised in that area you’re just automatically going to love the Cardinals because everyone around there loves the Cardinals”.
For those not yet familiar with Drew’s music he describes it as “real, fun, and funtry. it’s kind of fun and country together”. He also hopes that when people listen to it “they know it comes from a real spot. When they listen to “Dance With Ya” at first I know they’re going to think it’s different, and they haven’t heard anything like it which is great that’s what I want them to think. But, when they dive into my music I want them to know I’m a real, genuine person, and I just want to inspire people and I want my music to touch people and I want somebody to be able to turn on their radio station and hear one of my songs and it takes them back to a memory”.
We definitely hear the realness in Drew’s lyrics and can’t wait to see what else 2016 has in store for him! To catch Drew on tour with Granger Smith this winter, check out his website for dates, to hear more of his “funtry” sound download his “Dance With Ya” and “Crossing Country Lines Vol. 1 and 2” EPs available on iTunes and Spotify, and be sure to request “Dance With Ya” from your local radio stations.