Interviewing Drew Baldridge has been on my “must do” list for some time now. He is a kindhearted gentleman whose spirit and energy is unmatched. He is the boy next door from a small town in Illinois. His smile lights up the room and his laughter is absolutely contagious.
Thinking back to your childhood, what was your first experience with music like?
“The first time I ever sang in front of people was in first grade at the Christmas program. We still have it on tape! I sang this song with all the different languages of goodbye at the ending of the show. The next year I did a whole dancing skit to “Thriller” because Michael Jackson was my dude. A couple of my buddies were monsters and I was Michael Jackson. I had the gloves and the jacket- it was fun. I did some things with Grease and Blues Brothers during high school.”
What do you think was your biggest break or opportunity thus far?
“We’ve had so many great things happen in just these six months. Sirius XM and CMT started spinning my songs, which was huge. I grew up watching CMT and there I was on CMT. Four months ago we signed our record deal and after that we released our fixxxrst single to country radio. It broke the Top 60 on Billboard. They even sent something to me in the mail! For the band I would say that we got a new spinner van. We actually have room and space. We all grew up in Southern Illinois about an hour away, but we didn’t all know each other, so it’s nice that we all get along great.”
What are your immediate career goals?
“Right now we’re working on an album that comes out in May, which we are very excited for. We’re still working “Dance With Ya” to country radio. I’m just excited to see how it does on the radio. It’s a really different song and it’s not your normal country song. It has some horns on it and some really up-tempo stuff, which I am fine with because it’s who I am. I love dancing- that’s why I did it. But as far as goals, I would love to play the Opry. My biggest goal though, like knowing that I made it is when my hometown has a sign saying ‘Home of Drew Baldridge.’”
How much creative control do you have over your music?
“I have 100 percent say. My manager, my producer and I all get together and we pick our favorite songs. Most of the time our favorite songs are each other’s favorite songs. I haven’t put out anything I didn’t like. I’ll even sit down with the band – especially these last couple of days. We’re trying to decide between six or seven songs because I really like them all. At the end of the day my team lets me decide, but most of the time I’m like ‘alright guys let’s do this.’ Everybody on the whole team is just so great, even my label. It’s been great to work with a team that gets me and my music. They’re not trying to change anything that we’re doing. Everybody just works together so well and we’re all on the same wavelength. I’m a huge believer in ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’”
Describe the moment you knew you wanted a career in country music.
“I sang my whole life, but being from a small town you just never think you can do it. I was always that person that would be watching the award shows with my parents and being like I think I can do that. I just never really thought I would leave my hometown and do this. But that kinda all changed when my mom bought me tickets to a Josh Turner concert – one of my idols. I always covered his songs. My mom just surprised me for my 18th birthday. We got front row and even got to meet him before the show. I was so nervous I was shaking. That was the night that I knew I was going to move to Nashville.”
What has been your biggest challenge?
“There’s more than just one. Being away from home is hard for me. My family and I are really close. The street that I grew up on is filled with my mom, dad, cousins, aunts and uncles. The other challenges are with music. I’m a winner and I always say that winners focus on winning and losers focus on winners. It’s hard to just focus on yourself. People have success at different times. It’s hard because as a competitive person you know growing up playing sports all the time that you just want to win.”
If you had to change anything about the music industry what would it be?
“I don’t know. I really love where music is at right now. I feel like creatively I can put out whatever I want to put out. There’s not a box anymore in country music where you feel like you have to write to this box. There’s all kinds of country music out there. I think country music is in a really cool place right now. I love all the people I get to work with, so yeah, I don’t think I would change anything.”
What are three things that your fans should know about you?
“That I love my fans – that’s number one. I’m a Jesus lover of course, and I am always going to put out good music. That’s my goal.”
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Drew Baldridge in the future. His single “Dance With Ya” is climbing up the charts and his next single will do just that as well. He has the wit of Brad Paisley, the faith of Josh Turner, and he is one that everyone needs to know. With his team by his side – he is going to do wonderful things.