Drew Baldridge: ‘To Be Accepted Is Awesome … and I Don’t Have to Change’
It's been about a year since Drew Baldridge released his freshman full-length album, Dirt On Us. In the time since the record's June release, the singer has shared two singles -- "Dance With Ya" and his current hit, "Rebound," which he co-wrote with songwriter Emily Weisband -- and Baldridge says that he's thrilled with how the latter song has taken his career to a new level.
"It’s just done amazing things for me, and allowed me to travel all across the country and play," Baldridge tells The Boot of "Rebound." "I’ve had so many people reach out on Facebook and social media that said, ‘Your song’s changed my life.’ I didn’t realize how many people had been in the same situation, where somebody was treating them wrong. You don’t deserve to be second, and everyone deserves to find love; they need to be their first choice, and that’s kind of what this song says."
The release of Dirt on Us also helped Baldridge cross another item off his bucket list: performing at the Grand Ole Opry. His debut performance, though, didn't turn out quite as he'd planned: Josh Turner, one of Baldridge's favorite artists, and the reason he decided to pursue a career in country music, surprised Baldridge as he was singing "Your Man" on the Opry stage.
"I had no idea. It was an emotional overload. I about fell offstage, my knees got all weak; I was going, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry,'" Baldridge remembers, adding with a laugh, "And then he starts singing, and I was like, ‘What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to sing? I can’t sing with Josh Turner. He’s too good!’
"And so, he looked at me, and he said, ‘Take it, Drew,’ and I had no idea where I was at in the song. I was like, ‘I don’t even know where I am anymore!’" Baldridge continues. "The band just started laughing, and they took it to the end."
Baldridge started out singing hymns with his father, performing in local churches as part of a gospel quartet, but as Baldridge's solo career took off, it became challenging to balance singing in bars with performing in places of worship. The rising artist made the difficult decision to focus solely on his own music; however, Dirt on Us ends with a gospel hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul," featuring Baldridge's father and uncle.
"I can do country music and have a pedestal to promote God’s word and show people to live like Jesus," Baldridge notes. "["It Is Well With My Soul"] was one of the most special moments of the whole record ... I think, throughout my whole career, probably every record I do, I’ll have a gospel-related tune, because that’s what I grew up on."
Baldridge admits that he is surprised at how well his music, and his faith-based message, is being accepted by fans all over the world.
"I want to be true and be the person I’m called to be. To be accepted for who I am is the coolest thing," Baldridge says. "I come from a small town of 550 people, so my whole life, you go to the next town over and you’re always kind of an outcast; you’re the small-town kid -- not necessarily that you don’t matter, but you’re kind of pushed aside, because you’re a small-town kid ...
"And I know that sounds crazy, but, for me, all these people I grew up listening to are telling me my record sounds good," Baldridge continues. "To be accepted is awesome. Finally I feel like people are accepting me for who I am, and I don’t have to change myself."
Baldridge is currently juggling work on his sophomore album with a string of tour dates: He's headlining the Highway Finds Tour, and playing some other shows, and "starting" to write for his next record.
"Writing an album takes a long time," Baldridge shares. "For me, I like writing -- I like writing the music, and so that’s really hard, and so I think it will get to the point where I take some outside songs, but for me, when I’m onstage and I’m singing, I love to be able to sing my words.
"I love something that connected my heart enough to write about it, to see the people connect to it," Baldridge adds. "And that’s really strong for me, so I hope that I can continue to write as much as possible, and to write my second album."
Dirt on Us is available for download on iTunes, and a list of all of Baldridge's upcoming shows is available on his website.
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