As I waited for a plane at the airport, I decided to go relax in a lounge. Passengers can enjoy comfort with free drinks, snacks, magazines, and showers. At the entrance of the lounge you see a small sign letting everyone know that there will be a live performer today. A gentleman in a nice suit enters the room ready to sing. Dru warms up with a few hit songs from musicians including Usher, Frank Ocean, Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo, Jodeci, and Stevie Wonder. Now he asks if everyone was ready. He explains that he will now perform some original tunes including “The One”, “Stay with Me (Always)”, “Seasons”, “She Can Ride”, “Gettin It In”, “Don’t Be Afraid”, “You” and YNF.
The time just flew by with this wonderful entertainment. Unfortunately, I heard that my flight was ready to go. Before I left, I can hear the performer quickly introducing himself. “I’m Dru, my upcoming album release ‘The Rebirth 2020’ is my re-introduction to the music industry. I’m bringing 20/20 vision along with my lessons learned.” Funny enough, as I got off the plane at my new destination, I noticed Dru waiting for a taxi. I asked if he wanted to split a cab and have a conversation. In our quick interview, we discussed ‘In Essence’, The One, songwriting, The Voice Russia and YNF.
1. Can we discuss your time with the Popular R&B group ‘In Essence’ Do you have any fun memories or stories?
I will forever miss performing on stage with my group. A cool moment was when ‘In Essence’ won the Juno for RnB Soul recording of the year 2003. We were positive that we were not going to win against greats like Robin Thicke, Tamia and Glen Lewis. We were at the bar killing time. Our A&R rep at the time Ivan Berry informed us that our category was coming up. He must’ve known something. We didn’t. He insisted we go back to our seats. Luckily we got back to our seats as they announced the winner for RnB Soul Recording of the year “IN ESSENCE!” I can’t lie. We were completely shocked. What a blessing at the time. We always think back and wonder what would’ve happened if they announced us and our seats were empty? Lol.
2. Looking back at your first album ‘The One’, released in 2008 with singles, “The One”, “Stay with Me (Always)”, and “Seasons”. Describe your emotions before and after it first went out to the public?
I was terrified! I wondered if the public would accept me as a solo artist. After the success of “Stay with me”, I felt better. That confirmed that I made the right choice to do a solo album.
3. What sort of advice would you give to songwriters?
Songwriting is not supposed to be difficult. If you are hitting a brick wall while writing walk away and move on to the next song. They say “the song is already in the room, you just need to bring it down”. So I opened my mind and let it flow naturally. Melody is one of the most important parts of a song. I like to focus on that first to catch a vibe and I usually record the melody first. Also, don’t judge yourself too hard until its finished, you can dissect and rearrange after.
4. You appeared on the show “The Voice Russia” For those who may not know, ‘The Voice’ is an international reality television singing competition. The show’s format features five stages of competition: producers’ auditions, blind auditions, battle rounds, knockouts and live performance shows. Dru, how was your experience on “The Voice Russia”?
The Voice Russia was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The blind auditions were nerve-racking while waiting for a chair to turn. I was so happy when 3 out of 4 turned for me. Making it to the semifinals was so exciting, feeling the energy of the live audience was amazing. 40 million viewers every week was great to broaden my international audience.
5. Dru, what can you tell us about your new highly anticipated single “YNF” to be released on April 7?
I’m so excited to finally release YNF! YNF is a remake of my group In Essence’s hit ” YOU’LL NEVER FIND”. I rewrote the verses to make it more relevant for today. It has been over 20 years since we wrote it. This is like the 20 year anniversary of our Gold-selling hit from the legendary New York Citys ICON Funk Master’s 60 minutes of Funk. Hot 97 showed us so much love long before we had Canadian radio stations like FLOW 93.5. I hope the nostalgia gets to the fans from 1999 and the new fans get a taste of the golden era of RNB. (YNF)
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