A Nottingham native now living in London, Drew Thomas has a knack for writing honest music suited to arenas and small bars. After establishing himself as a solo artist in 2018, Drew has built quite a reputation gaining positive feedback from BBC Introducing and Sofar Sounds (to name a few). We had a chance to speak with the handsome singer/songwriter about his new single ‘Somebody You Needed’, discovering new music and much more.
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
I don’t think it was ever a choice if I’m honest. Music has always been the most important element of my life and I’ve always naturally wanted to share it with people. Like any creative industry, music has its ups and downs, but the buzz of writing songs, playing shows and connecting with listeners never gets old. Until the last few years, I’ve been in bands, so it’s amazing to be able to show the world what I can do on my own.
Can you tell us about your single ‘Somebody You Needed’?
‘Somebody You Needed’ is an incredibly important song for me. I hit a really tough writer’s block last year; one which I just couldn’t seem to kick. I went to see Bon Iver live in the summer and suddenly everything about music started to click again. I wrote ‘Somebody You Needed’ the next day in about ten minutes. It’s the first of a series of tracks I’m putting out this year which will form an EP by the end of the year and felt like the right one with everything in the world the way it is.
What was the recording and writing process like?
I’m lucky to work with a great producer who is happy to go down any strange avenue I want to go down musically and is really great at what he does. After I initially wrote the song, I did a super terrible demo of it in my bedroom which was then developed properly once I was in the studio. I played around with some brass and synth sounds which created a really warm vibe to the whole song and it seemed to come together very quickly.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
‘Somebody You Needed’ may lyrically be one of my favourite songs I’ve written. It sums up to me the feeling of losing someone and something leaving your life. I played it to one of my good friends during lockdown and it really resonated with them for completely different reasons, which I think is the most magical element of songwriting; knowing how the little song you wrote in your room can soundtrack someone’s life even if it’s not the way you intended.
What do you hope people take from your music?
Music for me has always been a very cathartic and reflective thing, so if someone listening can connect with my music and it becomes a part of their life then it’s mind-blowing and very humbling to me. It may sound cheesy, but the songs I love and listen to feel like good friends to me in the way that I’ve known them for such a long time. They can sum up memories and moments better than any picture or description could.
What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
Ooooo, this is a tough one. I’d say nowadays I find lyrics harder to finish than melody, however, the main idea of them usually comes with the initial tune. I used to finish writing my songs in a practice studio with a band and as long as the song had energy I just said whatever I felt at that moment in time and found the meaning later. As I’ve grown up though, I’m a lot pickier with what I want my songs to mean and what message they put across.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I find a lot of inspiration from people around me and other artists in the world. During lockdown, I’ve felt very uninspired, but have luckily lived with some great people who have given me loads of ideas for lyrics that have turned into complete songs. I’m very hard on myself and always want everything I write to be as good as it can be so usually I only release music if I’m 100% happy with. I’m also a huge fan of travelling, especially to random places in the world that I’ve never heard of before, so I’m definitely looking forward to being able to do that again.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is always developing, but I think there’s a certain nostalgia around my writing which has come from my life and experiences. I’d say in terms of similar artists I tend to liken my sound to bands like The Fray, The Killers and solo musicians like Dermot Kennedy.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Personally, the way I really connect with an artist I love is if I see them live. The world is so over-saturated with musicians that I think listeners sometimes don’t have the chance to find artists they could potentially love because there’s literally so many of us! Live shows feel like the good part of music where it’s worth all the long hours for an artist working a job they hate so they can perform on stage. It’s a chance for the listener to hear songs at their best.
What does the future hold for Drew Thomas?
After ‘Somebody You Needed’ I’ll be putting out another track in the summer followed by an EP in a few months. I want to make music for the rest of my life and, once the world gets back to normal, start playing a lot more shows with a full band behind me instead of on my own. I played a headline show in London at the end of last year and the response to my music was so overwhelming. I can’t wait to do it again.
Do you have a message for our readers?
If you’re reading this – thank you, you legend! But seriously, any like, stream or comment goes so much further than you think. If you do like my music, please let me know and hopefully we’ll become good friends. Stay safe and listen to Drew Thomas!