Balancing creativity with the expectations of country radio, where a sing-along hit is the ultimate goal, can be tricky for all artists. But it’s an especially difficult road to navigate for up-and-comers. Drake White is one of the best-suited new artists to find such middle ground: his 2015 song “It Feels Good” was entirely fresh, but maintained that elusive mass-appeal quality. Still, White says finding that intersection between the art and the commercial is challenging.
“If you ask 10 people in my position, it is difficult to be on the line. I have committed myself to this, to my music. I said a long time ago, if it was in my gut, I could feel it in my gut and feel good about it, I would always go with my gut. If I didn’t feel something was right I would immediately tell my team,” White tells Rolling Stone Country.
For inspiration on that balancing act, he looks to some classic-rock heroes. “You watch all these documentaries of Zeppelin and the Allman Brother and the Band and Janis Joplin, and they were so free to the art, and so spontaneous,” he says. “We have to keep that as artists. That’s the glow inside of us and keeps all the fire burning.”
White and his band the Big Fire are currently on the road working their new single, “Livin’ the Dream.” They’re set to open for Zac Brown Band’s upcoming summer tour.