Andrew Burke goes under name of DREUW and today he released his second single ‘Heavy’. It was a long time coming after debut single ‘When Will You’ released at the end of 2018.
I reached out to DREUW after hearing his podcast The People Sentrl. To The Music. After having a lovely chat about music and life I was thrilled to hear that there was a brand new song coming soon.
‘Heavy’ was produced by singer-songwriter and producer Will Killen. The result is a captivating heartfelt and fragile song that will be haunting us for sure.
This love ain’t a war.DREUW ‘HEAVY’
Tell us about your journey between your debut single ‘When Will You’ and your latest release ‘Heavy’?
I’ve definitely had a clearer picture towards my music since my last single. Who I want to work with and what goals I’d love to achieve within my career. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing musicians since my debut single, but I really feel now being based in Leeds, I’ve met people who can seriously relate to my identity and vision as an artist going forward. There is greater clarity with my single ‘Heavy’, in terms of the sound and message. One that I hope people feel I have expressed in a sensitive and respectful way.
How was the song born?
The song was written around 2 years ago when I was living in London, and I do remember playing it to my housemates straight after writing it. That’s very unlike me, so I knew this was one that had to be released at some point.
‘Heavy’ is written from the standpoint of an individual trying to endure supporting the mental health of his other half, to the detriment of his own.DREUW
What does it mean for you to release it at this rather odd time?
These are the strangest of times, but regardless I knew I would release it this month. Though, I wasn’t conscious of putting ‘Heavy’ out in the world during ‘Mental Health Awareness Week; one of my friends made me aware of this after I shared the story behind the song with her. It’s from the standpoint of an individual trying to endure supporting the mental health of his other half, to the detriment of his own. A feeling of helplessness that is consuming the romantic partner. I guess I hope it can be a small reminder that we are all affected in different ways, and there’s no shame in that.
Simply love and support one another, however hard it may be sometimes.DREUW
‘Heavy’ was produced by our friend Will Killen. Curious to hear more about how you both managed to create such a haunting mood.
Will has been amazing to work alongside for not only this single, but with more coming further down the line. He has been able to help me find a way to channel my vocal arrangements and take time to get everything out of it possible. I knew how I wanted the track to flow, with references to the likes of Axel Flovent and Billie Marten, yet still, have a distinctive nature to it. Will and the Evoke team flourished with the concepts and had really captured the direction we both shared. I feel very lucky to be collaborating with such a great producer, songwriter and collective of musicians, who I also get to call my friends.
Music to me is about connection.DREUW
Music to me is about connection. I think we can all remember a song, gig or a festival that we will always hold dear to us. There have been so many moments that have inspired me in my own music career; but even just as a music fan, I can recall a full host of memories that ends up in a conversation of just reminiscing and real joy.
I hope my music can have some form of effect like that with people, resonating in some way such as an emotion or triggering a memory. As artists, I think that’s what we’d love for our songs to do, simply connect with others on a deep level.
Where do your ideas for songs come from?
It’s something that I have had to really think about in the last year. Especially the sound and message I wanted to portray as an artist. Though, most of my songs are written in a very organic way and feels as though it comes from a subconscious place. Some time after you finish the piece, you come to realise where that story has derived from.
So, I guess it’s mainly through experiences and situations in my life that have really affected me. It can certainly put you in a vulnerable place.
Though it’s almost like a release of my inner thoughts and fears, so I can let go and move on.DREUW
What does your creative process look like?
Very spontaneous. Those phrases and melodies can come from almost anywhere; so I make sure my phone is at the ready to note down or quickly record a voice memo. It’s almost as if sometimes songs just fall in your lap. Though, don’t get wrong, it is most likely a long process until you feel happy with something new.
In terms of actively creating, I try to keep it relaxed and as simple as possible. So my environment has to relate to that. Whether I’m in the park with nature or in my bedroom allowing me to flow with my writing and guitar.
I’ve only really just started to collaborate with other artists in writing sessions, the nerves kick in for sure. But once you get into it, you both have a rhythm and it can be a wonderful experience. So I’m looking forward to getting back to that towards the end of this year.
Do you experience any of the challenges as an independent artist working in the music industry?
I feel I’m still at the beginning of my career and finding my way as an independent artist. I think it can be a challenge in reaching music lovers who could possibly resonate with what you’re doing, and trying to be creative in doing so. There are so many different sources and information online advising, which is great. But also so many companies that will sell you the idea that they can put your music in front of the right people, at the right price. Be clever, and don’t pay to be on playlists. You want to reach people or platforms like yourself who really love what you do.
Be clever, and don’t pay to be on playlists. You want to reach people or platforms like yourself who really love what you do.DREUW
It’s not a competition out there either, so support each other and just stay true to you as an artist and a person.
Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently in your career?
There’s always been times where I’ve held myself back. Even now you can find yourself saying ‘give up’ when things get tough; but that has no place for you when pursuing what you want to do. I wish I hadn’t allowed myself to be consumed by my negative emotions so early on in my career. I’ve certainly overcome that side of things over the years. You have to believe in what you’re doing or no one else will.
Everything is a learning process, so for sure, there are choices or decisions that I have made that I could have considered more and taken time to be with. As long as I’m aware now, then I can continue to grow with more purpose and confidence in the future.
What piece of advice you’d give to other artists who are at the beginning of their journey?
Keep writing, keep playing and you’ll meet the right people along the way.
If we’d hack your Spotify account, what artists would we find?
I’m pretty sure my top 3 from Spotify in 2019 were Matt Corby, Lucy Rose and Madison Cunningham. There’s a huge number of artists and bands that I could share, but particularly Laura Marling, Phoebe Bridgers and Everything Everything come to mind that I’ve most recently listened to on a regular basis.
Do you have a song, that when you hear it, you’d say, “I wish I’d written that”?
That’s a tough question. My go-to has always been Matt Corby’s ‘Brother’, it’s what really inspired me to start writing music. But, most recently I would have to go for Luz ‘I’m Lonely’. The emotion, delivery and melody draws me in. You can really feel its depth from just her vocal and piano. She has a hell of a career ahead of her.
Do you have any recommendations of artists we might not have heard yet?
These three are definitely worth your time. Easymess continues to take my breath away; he is a singer-songwriter based in London and brings a purity to the likes of Damien Rice.
Quite a few years back, I saw Rhodes perform at Colston Hall in Bristol. Where Amy Yon stepped on stage as a support act, her husky tone has forever stayed with me.
Finally, I discovered Yva many years back at my first ‘Live at Leeds’ festival in 2011; believe she’s returning with a new single ‘I Won’t Wait’ that I’m excited for. Though I have a sneaky feeling it’s a gem of an oldie of hers.
How would you define success in the music business?
For me personally, I would love to be able earn a living through my own music. That’s the dream.
Do you think there’s anything artists or fans can do to support each other during these strange times of COVID-19?
It’s been great to see so many musicians and fans interacting with one another. We’ve seen the surge of online sessions that have allowed us to find a way of seeing live performances. Definitely on a more intimate level. While, I know some bands have had their family, friends and fans be involved in a number of music videos. Again, it’s about that connection right, especially during these challenging times.
I think what we can do as musicians is to just continue with our careers in the best way we can. Be innovative in sharing our voices that provide some comfort and inspiration for people. Your fans probably want to hear your songs more than ever now.
What is the first thing that you will do once the lockdown is fully lifted?
I have actually been thinking about this for over a week now, funny enough. Particularly about all the places that I’ve said that I’d love to visit before the lockdown happened, so it’s about time I actually went and did that. York has been on the list for years, and actually being able to return back home to visit the family will be lovely. Apparently we have a constant visitor in the form of our neighbours cat, I’ve got to meet Daisy. But the first thing I will probably do is spend some time catching up with friends at a local bar or cafe. Finish the evening with a gig if we’re able to.
And I’m itching to get back into the studio of course.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
This year is going to be tough for everyone, certainly far more than others. And I think society is going to change forever. So I think it is more important than ever that we are understanding and patient with each other; supporting one another where we can.
AJIMAL has a song that says it all: ‘Above All Else, Be Kind’.
What have you got planned for 2020 and have any of your plans been impacted?
Some plans have been put on the back burner, but I’m pretty content with that. It’s about being adaptable and reevaluating with where the world is right now. Though, in terms of releasing music, that hasn’t changed. You will be hearing more sooner rather than later, songs that I am very proud of. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on the road and share these in person sometime in the new year.