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Interview: Drew Green discusses ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ and being a new artist during the pandemic

The Country riser opens up about his journey so far.

Drew Green
Credit: Matthew Berinato

Rising Country singer-songwriter Drew Green signed his record deal with Sony Music Nashville just before the pandemic shut the world down.

Rather than bide his time for the pandemic to pass, Green released music including his song ‘She Got That’, attracting plenty of attention and millions of streams. As the pandemic is starting to ease up, Green has just released his latest track ‘The Rest of Our Lives’, which picked up traction when it was previewed on TikTok.

I spoke to Drew about his launching during the pandemic, his new single ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ and learning to use social media to reach his fans…

Launching music as a new artist is always tough but I imagine doing it during a pandemic is less than ideal…

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This was not the dream, by any means. I signed my record deal literally one month before everything happened, and in a way it’s kind of a blessing because if I hadn’t had had a deal I might not still have one. They didn’t really sign anybody after (the pandemic hit) and they were letting people go. I got pretty fortunate to sign my deal right before COVID. It then became the struggle of putting music out during COVID but it’s gone good man, not for everybody, but for me at least I feel like it’s done way better than I thought I would do here. My goal for my first year with a record deal was to have a million streams. That was my own personal goal and I’ve had 30 to 40 million. That’s way better than I thought.

In some ways the pandemic has enabled music fans to discover music that perhaps they wouldn’t have had they been able to get on with their lives. As you mentioned you’ve had 30-40 million streams, 11 million of which are for ‘She Got That’. Those are crazy numbers so you must be feeling like you’re building a solid fanbase?

Yeah, Spotify, Apple and Amazon, they’ve all been supporting me really. When we first came out Apple was really supporting my first single. We don’t have a song on the radio and we don’t even have a radio date yet but we’re hoping August. We’re on The Highway XM Radio right now and we’re just growing slowly. We’re just now getting the band working and getting some shows ready finally, which is super exciting and stressful. I was playing four nights a week for four years and then COVID hits and I get a record deal and I haven’t played a show in a year and a half. It’s crazy. It’s almost like a whole new world but it’s still a dream. It’s still what I wanted to do and I’m still getting to make music so that was my dream. Whatever that entails with this COVID or whatever other thing that happens then I’m happy, as long as I get to make music.

Despite the pandemic, your music has clearly been connecting with fans and I know people are starting to talk about you here in the UK. How have you managed to create that connection without being able to get out on the road?

For me, what was new to me was social media. When I signed my record deal I think I had 1,000 followers. Most people when they get a record deal they have 300,000 fans already, but I was just a songwriter. TikTok has been very good for me. I didn’t even know what it was but my social team helped me out and showed me the ropes with it. I put out some songs, just goofing around really, and I didn’t think anything would happen. We had some like Christmas thing talking about a drinking game and it got like a million something views. That put me to 7,000 followers. Most recently, I put out a demo of a song I wrote in L.A., called ‘The Rest of our Lives’ and it just blew up. It’s my new single that I put out and it’s literally (taken off) just off of social media. People have been scrolling and heard a song that they like. That’s turned into the platform right now. My stage is social media because that’s the only place you can really have a stage. I can’t play a show (anywhere else).

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The power of TikTok is really incredible…

It’s an animal! One minute I wake up and I’ve got 100,000 views and 1,000 new followers. Instagram is great, I love Instagram and I love the business side of it but TikTik is a completely different animla. It’s pretty incredible really how it works. The algorithm… it just blows up.

I still have no idea what I’m doing on TikTok. Are you a master of the platform now?

I’m not at all a master. I have a team of girls that help me out. I grew up as a kid wanting to do this. I wanted to be Alan Jackson and I wanted to be Luke Bryan but that’s not the way that it is today. It’s a lot more raw and people want to know your everyday life.That’s way more cool today than when I was a kid. Eric Church, for example, he didn’t even have social media and you didn’t hear anything from him for six months, and then he would put out an album and you would love it. It was the surprise and everything used to be under the radar. There were massive budget films and videos, and they put so much money into these little movies. That was my dream and that changed. I had to adapt to putting out a random video of me singing in my truck (laughs), just very raw.

I miss the days when you received an album and you hadn’t heard most of it already. The mystique of the artist has gone…

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Yeah. I love that mystique but that’s literally not good anymore. People hate it and it’s not what today’s society likes, so you gotta adapt. It’s fine. I’m still getting to sing and make music.

You mentioned your new single ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ earlier. What’s the inspiration behind that song?

It was my first trip to Los Angeles and I was with one of my friends, Andrew Rollins, and one of my good buddies, Russell Sutton, who at the time I wrote almost every song with. We went to L.A. for three or four days and we stayed with Andrew because that’s where he lives. Andrew has had a bunch of cuts on TV and films. In L.A. we wrote with a guy named Mitch Allen, who produces Demi Lovato and a bunch of pop artists. We went in there not not really knowing what was going on and it was way more upscale than what I’m used to. I’m used to sitting around with a guitar and he had six mics and an awesome studio. It was a really cool experience for me in the Hollywood Hills. We wrote the song that day. He had an idea called ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ last and he said he really didn’t know the plot or what it was about, he just liked the title. I likeed the thought of someone looking at their special person and saying, ‘here’s to the rest of our lives’. We didn’t really have an idea better than that one at the time. At that moment, I would say, I don’t know if I loved that idea. I felt like I’d wrote that song 100 times, because I’ve written 1,000 songs. Now it’s one of my favourite songs. As soon as it was done, I thought it sounded very special. Everyone can can relate to that song if you love anyone.

You have more music coming this year. Will that be singles or is there another EP on the way?

I don’t know (laughs). We have another EP, ‘Dirt Boy Volume 2’, completely done and it’s ready to go. We were pushing it and then the TikTok phenomenon of this demo took off so we went and recorded ASAP and we just put it out. I imagine the next EP will come out and it’s got a couple singles hopefully on it, but at the same time if something takes off between now… ‘She Got That’ at XM radio is doing really good and we just put out a song called ‘Hooch’ so we’re a little everywhere across the board right now. Every song is a different type of song, which is what I love as a songwriter. It’s good shoes right now to be in. If you like more of a rowdy type song, you might like ‘Hooch’. If you’re more into the love songs for the girls, there’s ‘The Rest of Our Lives’. Everything is going for us right now. I’m hoping they might let me release an album. They might say go record six more, because I’ve been writing for six years. I’m fortunate enough to have been in the room and be obsessed with songwriting so I’ve got a lot of songs. It’s almost a bad thing. Picking songs is the hardest part right now in my journey as an artist. ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ wasn’t even on my shortlist of songs to cut and it’s got me the most traction so far.

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I’m definitely up for an album…

I mean, that’s my dream. I would love to. If they if they gave me the OK, I’ll be super, super happy with that.

You wrote ‘Colorado’, which Florida Georgia Line recorded and that led to your publishing deal. How big a milestone was that song for your career?

It was everything. It was crazy. Me, Hardy and Hunter Phelps were at the bar just having dinner. We all wrote that day separately and I had that idea. I’d pitched that idea for a year and nobody bid on it. Hardy heard me pitch that idea and he liked it and we weren’t doing nothing s we just went back to Hunter’s house and wrote it in like 30 minutes, really quick. None of us thought that much of it. Hardy did a quick little demo of it and he was on the road with FGL a couple weeks later and he showed it to him and they loved it. He called me and said they wanted to cut it. At the time, I’d had that happen to me probably five or six times. I had one with Luke Bryan (that didn’t get cut). Being told someone loved my song and wanted to cut it, that had happened to me a couple of times so I didn’t think that much of it. I didn’t think that this was gonna happen. Hardy and Hunter surprised me in the studio one day with the news of FGL actually cutting it. From then on all my writes started picking up and I didn’t even have a publishing deal.

At the time FGL was the biggest band in country music and I had a cut with the biggest artist in Country music. I had a lot of trouble before getting a publishing deal because I’m not really a networking person, I’m more of a let’s just go write a song and work kind of person. As soon as that happened, I had the ability to pick where I wanted and I had a lot more people shooting at man. I’d previously met with Brett James, who’s my manager now, years before and I’s always wanted to be with him. I signed with Cornman and Warner Chappell and then a year later called Brett one morning and said, ‘hey, I got some songs that I don’t think you’ve heard yet’. We went and had breakfast and he listened to 30 songs and he kind of flipped out. He said, ‘man, I think you’re ready for a record deal if you want one?’ I was not expecting that, I was literally just trying to show him songs to pitch to other artists. I never once said I wanted to be an artist. It was always the dream but I wasn’t gonna push it as I was trying to make it in the business and I didn’t think that was the route to take. Brett really became my champion. I had a record deal week later. It was crazy.

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Might we see you here in the UK in the future?

Man, I would get on a plane right now. I would love to play anywhere. I have no idea what this this coming year brings. We’ve booked a bunch of shows and hopefully things pick up the way that we hope they pick up, then hopefully I’ll be everywhere. I’m super thankful that the UK likes me. All I see is the number of streams and I don’t know where it’s coming from. I don’t go into that much depth. I would love to play in the UK. That would be awesome. I’ve never been to the UK.

Drew Green’s new single ‘The Rest of Our Lives’ is available to stream and download now. You can listen to the track below:

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