By: Brittney O.
Hip-HopVibe.com Entertainment Editor
Drew Vision, I’ve been vibin’ to your single “Stay,” today.. just getting into the vibe.
Sounds like you’re starting your day off right, then!
Brittney O: You already know it. Such a pleasure having you today. I have questions about “Stay,” and so many other things. I’m excited. Can you walk me through where you were when the words to this song came to you…
Drew Vision: So the interesting thing about this song, it was written a year before I heard it.. just half of it! I was in the studio and someone said that I would be good on this song if I just finish it. My manager was there as well and was like, “We HAVE to record this.” We got permissions for the song because it was written by Kaleem Taylor who is based out of London. It was just sitting in his laptop and it made its way to L.A. and I heard it. It was over. I knew when I put my voice on it that it would change the whole vibe.
Brittney O: Yes! Indeed! Tell me this. When you recorded this single, who were YOU talking to? Was it protesters? Essential workers? Anyone specific?
Drew Vision: I was using inspiration from people like — I lost my best friend in high school. He was shot and killed. That was my BRO! That was one of the inspirations. I also pulled inspiration from my ex. I’ve been single for awhile but I was tapping in from past experiences, ya know? This was all before Black Lives Matter. I recorded this last fall. I didn’t know when I was going to release it or what but when COVID hit and BLM really picked up it was almost like a sign that it was time for the world to hear it.
Brittney O: I’m going to read some of the lyrics from the chorus. “I wonder if your rise, could show a brim of light – to cover all the darker thoughts I have. I’ve never been so down…”
Does this come from a true space within you, or from pain that you’re witnessing in others?
Drew Vision: I think it’s from pain that I’m witnessing in others. I can relate because I know how dark your thoughts can be when you don’t have the person that you love with you. And when you lose someone it’s like “Wait! What am I even doing here?” and it can go down that spiral. I think it’s understanding how the human mind works.. ya know?
Brittney O: The song even sounds like something that would be in a film’s soundtrack or in a powerful scene. It really does!
Drew Vision: Right as the movie is ending and the credits are coming in…
Brittney O: YESSS! HAHA!
Drew Vision: Exactly! I feel the same way. The song is so powerful.
Brittney O: I totally agree. So in my opinion, the most powerful things about being an artist is the ability to have an impact on others. What is one of your most memorable performances to date? As we speak of impacting..
Drew Vision: Mmm, it probably was the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
Brittney O: Ah! In 2016?
Drew Vision: Oh! You remember?! That’s what’s up! That really changed my life because it was the biggest stage I had ever performed on and it was the first time that I had ever seen myself on a jumbo-tron screen. In my head, that was only something for celebrities and here I was being invited to perform on a stage this big!
It was memorable because it was a dream come true. It just felt surreal and when I got offstage I actually called my Mom and I cried because I couldn’t believe how happy I was feeling. And I’m NOT a crier!! I am NOT! That was just mad real…
Brittney O: Speaking of crying and emotions altogether, what are a few things that move you emotionally to a space that brings you to pen & pad?
Drew Vision: A lot of times it’s the music alone. The way that I write is to the music. Sometimes I’ll get lyrics in my head out of the blue, almost like God just pulling it out of my brain as I’m in the middle of traffic. But a lot of times it’s literally just me sitting down and listening to music that needs to be written to. And whatever sounds that music is giving is what inspires my feelings.
I’m really receptive to instruments, you know? I’m classically trained. I went to school on a full voice scholarship and I learned how to sing Opera and Italian and German and Hebrew. I think instruments are really what speaks to me and when it’s really good music then my brain just starts going… And it’s hard to get good music because a lot of times music producers aren’t musicians anymore. So it’s not the same.
Brittney O: It’s not the same, I agree. Speaking of making good music you worked with Bryan Michael Cox recently!
Drew Vision: That was another dream come true!
Brittney O: Okay I know you could tell me SO much about that experience!
Drew Vision: A LOT! HAHA!
Brittney O: What is something that you learned while working with him, Drew?
Drew Vision: I learned how to be more confident in my songwriting because before working with him I had always collaborated with songwriters, but when I got to the So So Def Studios and we talked about doing a whole project together – I learned that he doesn’t specialize in writing lyrics. He specializes in writing melodies. He told me that!
So I had to bring my lyrics game up! It was just me and him! What he told me to do and what he does with Mary J and Usher and everybody is – they have conversations. He said “The songs are in our conversations.” So we had conversations and that’s how the songs came about. He strongly believed that and he was right about it!
Brittney O: WOW! Speaking of all of this – I just want you to know this is giving me life right now!
Drew Vision: Ah man! It’s not enough people that really understand the whole process, you know?
Brittney O: Yes! I do! Give me three words that describe R&B Music today. Three words.
Drew Vision: Hm.. R&B Music today is Soulful. Uplifting a lot of times. Especially in 2020 I’m finding a lot of music that’s giving me really good energy. And the third I want to say is a word that’s a little more technical. Electronic. R&B once was all instruments and it still is. But more electronic.
Brittneyn O: How do you feel about that? Do you prefer having a live band of your own or are you cool with the DJ?
Drew Vision: I’ve gotten okay with it [electronic] but I really prefer a full band. That to me is real music! Everything else is just duplicating. When it’s real instruments we’re creating it right here on the spot!
Brittney O: Yes! Tell me what the shift of 2020 has taught you the most? You made reference on Instagram that it’s been your “STAYcation.”
Drew Vision: I was able to look inside myself more and get everything that I needed. The world was moving at such a fast pace you don’t know which direction to go to because you can go in a hundred directions. But when there’s NO direction to go to, then you have no choice but to go inside to find your inspiration. I didn’t know what was going to happen today – I didn’t know if I was able to shoot a video. When COVID first hit we couldn’t see nobody! I wasn’t able to shoot that video until we were more comfortable and understanding masking and everything and then we gradually went back into the studio. Back into production.
But before that happened I was just building and finding everything that I needed from The Source! Which is how it should be in the first place! So It was a beautiful gift for a lot of us, I think. The fact that everyone got to slow down.
Brittney O.: Especially as creators right? Yes! So we have a few things in common. Modeling, Acting, and even racing cars! I think that’s so cool. Tell me how these things all fuse together to feed the music artist within you?
Drew Vision: I think it helps to give me a balance, ya know? Well, modeling actually helped me fund a lot of my music. That’s a gift in itself. I’ve been the face of a lot of big brands and that’s helped me fund a lot of things that I needed in the studio and getting my songs ready to be released and hiring my band when I have a performance.
It’s an expensive endeavor being an artist. And even with racing being something that I do – when you’re getting that adrenaline rush as you’re behind the wheel.
Brittney O: With all of this.. The modeling. The acting. The racing. You’re beyond a triple threat! And our generation is known for being multi-hyphenates. But ol’ skool people will tell us that we’re being a “jack of all trades and a master of none.” How do you feel about that statement?
Drew Vision: That’s really good question. I always try to watch that. I do think that you can stretch yourself too thin. I think the beautiful part of my life is having the talent to go through different chapters and different phases so what that allows is for you to do everything. But not everything at one time. That’s where people forget and they overwhelm themselves trying to do everything at once. We do have more time than we think. I mean, tomorrow’s not promised either–But you really have to dive into one thing and give that your all, and then move to the next thing. And that’s what I try to do!
Having all of these hyphenates is cool but when I’m in acting class, I’m an actor. Even if I have melodies in my head because I want to be in the studio I still think to myself, ‘You’ve gotta stick to this script.’ And stay focusing on that. It’s the best way to do it.
Brittney O: Who has Drew Vision been a fan of the past couple years?
Drew Vision: Jhené Aiko. I like a lot of Afrobeats, too. One of my favorite artists is Tekno. If you know, you know! Haha! I’m a fan of James Fauntleroy. He works with Jhené Aiko and he writes for everybody!
Brittney O: You’ve seemed to gain the attention of some people that really mattered for your career. For example, the Editor-in-Chief over at Essence which later resulted in your invite to perform at Essence Fest and even Ms. Tina Knowles! What do you feel like your secret to cementing great relationships in this industry is?
Drew Vision: I really think it’s being in tune with yourself and the Creator. I call it God but whatever – your higher power. Because when you’re in tune w/ your purpose it’s kind of like a light that’s over you that people see and they’re attracted to. I think I find happiness in myself and I’m not looking for happiness outwardly. And people can read that. I think my relationships run smoothly because people feel comfortable around me! They can see my light, you know?
And I want to spread the light. So I think people like Mrs. Tina Knowles-Lawson saw that early on. I’ve met her a few times now, but the very first time I met her was on the set of Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Ever Had” video that I was casted in. Tina stopped me because she didn’t see me at the casting and I explained to her that I was called last minute! She then went on to take a photo of me and she was really involved. She said some really nice things and gave me positive encouragement. I was a lot younger at the time and wanting to be in music, it was needed, ya know?
Brittney O: Yes! So moments like that carry you for years and years to come I’m sure! You’ve taken a few L’s like many artists do along the journey. Are those little snapshots of light what gives you the motivation to keep going hard in all that you have your hands in?
Drew Vision: And it’s all we have.. is a snapshot! I had a meeting with the head of Capitol Music once and he said that I have something and that I have to keep going and to hear that from someone as important in the music industry as him to say that? That was my snapshot. Like, I’m right there I can almost taste it and it really really does help me. Because most of the time it is people saying they’re going to help me and they don’t. Or not responding to emails. Or not showing up for a meeting that you’ve arranged. It’s a lot of things like that happening.
Brittney O: Tell me something that you’d like the fans to know about Drew Vision as you’re growing as a recording artist.
Drew Vision: That there are levels of different of genres of music that I want to explore. I don’t think people know all of my abilities. I want to branch out to gospel, I want to branch out to classical. I want to start a band that makes straight party music like Black Eyed Peas. Haha! You’re going to see me jumping up and down onstage singing my part and just having a good time and you wouldn’t even know it’s an element of me… but it is! I have several sides to my musicianship, you know?
Brittney O: So one last question to wrap up. Everything that I’ve gathered from you so far tells me that you are truly a dreamer. What do you see for Drew Vision in 2021?
Drew Vision: I see myself landing a big role… on a movie or TV show. That shows people different elements which hopefully with an important role that will inspire me. And then when those people see me on TV and find out later they’ll become fans because they saw me in their show but now they also hear good music, ya know? All coming from that same actor.
That’s really what I’m hoping for 2021.
Brittney O: Let it be written, let it be done. I look forward to that!
Drew Vision: YES! You said it and we claiming that right in 2020. Thank you for actually doing your research and not just talking to get the job done. You knew your stuff and that’s what’s up, it makes it so much better me.
Brittney O: I thank you! Thank you for letting me dive into your brain and share pieces of your story with the fans. On behalf of Hip-HopVibe.com, you have our full support. We are rooting for you with all that you do.