LA-based, Minnesota born singer-songwriter Drea is making her dreams a reality. This feisty pop songstress has released her first single since her debut album, No Vacancy. “Hometown” is a song everyone can relate to; it’s about chasing your dreams and remembering where you came from. With strong songwriting and fun beats, Drea becomes an open book. Each song is a peek into her soul.
We are living in a time where the powers that be in the music industry want the women to “step up.” (No, I’m still not over the Grammys.) Some have obviously missed the memo, and missed that the ladies have always been killing it. Drea is one of those female artists out there who has hustled, stepped up, and made her dreams happen. And we can’t stop listening to “Hometown.”
We briefly spoke to Drea about what makes her tick, her music, and what “Hometown” means to her. Be sure to give “Hometown” a listen, above.
Can you tell us a little about you and your background? Did you grow up in a musical home?
I’m originally from Minnesota, born and raised! My dad was a band teacher before he became a pastor, and my mom has been a piano teacher for the last 20 years. Having so much music in the home definitely influenced my love for music, although I will say I was never encouraged to pursue this as a career. I was always a good student and was headed straight for grad school, but music kind of derailed me, and now here I am in Los Angeles, pursuing the dream.
When did you start songwriting? Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I remember being 7 when I wrote my first song. I have no idea what it was about, but I remember it was on a bunny stationary. Just one of those funny memories that always stays with you, I guess.
How would you describe the style of your music?
It’s kind of difficult trying to put music into a genre these days, isn’t it? My new project is definitely still in the pop vein, but it’s not as dance-pop as my last project. I’m being intentional about having a lot of live instrumentation on this project, with the goal of this EP being authentic and vulnerable from a lyrical and vocal standpoint, as well as very musical on the production side.
What inspires or influences your music?
I’m influenced by what I’m going through, what I’m thinking about, or how I feel at any given moment; although, inspiration sometimes comes to me out of the blue. I am often inspired in those moments when my brain goes on autopilot, like when I’m driving or in the shower. One of the songs off this upcoming project was inspired by a liquor store sign I saw while driving home. No joke. But more on that later.
Who have you always looked up to musically?
I think my musical tastes have changed so much over the years, it’s hard to pick any one person. My first influences come from my dad’s CD collection, where you’ll find several “Greatest Hits” albums from Diana Ross and The Supremes to Bobby Darin to the Beach Boys. Some of the musical theater greats like Barbara Streisand and Julie Andrews are definitely top of my list as far as vocal performance and stage presence goes. These days, I’m inspired by modern-day divas like Jessie J and P!nk, especially when these artists use their voices to convey a greater message.
How has your music changed since No Vacancy?
No Vacancy was a bold first project, and my first true venture into the world of pop music. It was exciting to be able to create and write music that I could dance to, but I will admit that I wasn’t in a place to explore the depth lyrically or content-wise that I’m exploring on my sophomore project. This time around, I’m working to be truly honest, vulnerable, and raw. This time, I really want to say something.
Tell us about “Hometown,” and what the song means to you?
“Hometown” is a song about leaving home to fulfill your dreams. When I left Minnesota for LA, I left a good job, and all my friends and family. I packed up my life into a rundown Jeep, and drove 2,000 miles to a city where I had no connections, no job, and no place to live, only a dream. The hardest part about leaving home was knowing how much I hurt my parents, and knowing that they may never understand why I left. In many ways, this song is my apology to them, but “Hometown” is also a song for the dreamers. It is a declaration that no matter how hard things get, we are still here, we still believe in ourselves, and that’s why we’re not going home.
You recently started the “Reclaim Movement,” a dance and movement class that empowers women to reclaim ownership of their bodies from the trauma of sexual assault, and abuse. Why was this an important venture for you?
I am a survivor of sexual assault. I’ve been dancing my whole life, and have been teaching dance for a good portion of my adult life, but after my sexual assault, I had a hard time connecting to my body and to myself. I still have trouble somedays. A lot of time, dance, music, and support helped me to find my confidence again. I want to share that confidence with other women whose bodies and spirits may be burdened by a similar trauma, or by the everyday stress life puts on us as women. My goal is to create a safe place for women to reconnect with themselves, to reclaim ownership of their bodies, and to foster a community of women who empower each other through movement and music.
What does 2018 look like for you?
It looks like a wild and amazing ride! I just left my fulltime job last month to make more time for my dreams, and have been nose to the grindstone on these projects ever since. I am reminding myself daily that I don’t have to have the loudest voice or the most influential position to be heard and to make a difference now. That’s what this year is all about.