New artist Drew Greenway appeared on the scene last year with his successful single "Walk In The Light." We recently caught up with him to discuss the song and talk about his hopes for the future of his music.
For starters, introduce yourself.
As my bio states, I am Drew Greenway. I have currently been successfully evacuated from the womb for eighteen years, and, if you couldn't already tell by my YouTube page and collaboration with NewReleaseToday, I hold a special passion for music, be it in its composition or performance. Given that I am usually associated with music yet choosing to major in engineering in college, I am often asked which interest I prefer and even more frequently receive conflicting reactions when I reply with "both." Rather than either area of interest residing in separate spheres of influence, each acting independently in my life, they in reality work in conjunction and serve to emphasize my love for both. While studying the natural and material sciences, my understanding of the nature of God is deepened, which in turn inspires the music I write, while at the same time, the music that I play brings my soul and mind to a place of stillness and clarity that in turn births the unquenchable curiosity that drives my exploration and examination of the natural world.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Much in the same manner as my passion for science and music, the songs that I write represent more than simply the marriage of my faith and my artistry but rather the voice of my collective experience of every aspect of life I have experienced thus far. Being a Christian who writes music, I spend a good portion of my time submerged in the world of contemporary Christian music. Although I am largely impartial and objective when it comes to any form of Christ-based music and harbor unfathomable amounts of respect for the honest vulnerability of many newer groups, such as We Are Messengers and the more recent incarnations of Hillsong and Sanctus Real, much of my foundational inspiration is derived from the artists of my childhood in the early 2000's, such as MercyMe, Crowder, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bebo Norman, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Rice, and Matt Maher. The introduction of Unspoken during my adolescent years acquainted me with the idea of creating my own distinct musical style, and a solid month during my sophomore year of listening to nothing except for King & Country's album Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong. established rigorous introspection as a core step in my songwriting process.
With all of that stated, being an artist, I spend the majority of my time exploring different genres of music to incorporate into my own. Given the more soft-spoken, acoustic subtleties of my early and still current musical style, artists like Passenger, John Mayer, and Amy Winehouse have all served as early contributors to the archetypical "flavor" I aspire to create in my own compositions, but the real gem of my inspiration lies in the sixties and seventies. From the lyrical absurdity of The Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon" to Robert Plant's frequent occasions of screaming in the middle of a song for no apparent reason, listening to the first generation of classic rock has taught me that, when it comes to true artistry, anything is fair game.
What do you hope to communicate through your music?
If there is one thing that I strive to accomplish in the music that I write, it is total honesty. From the very first books of the Bible, music has been used to bring Him honor and glory in ways that words alone continually fail to express. Being a gift created and given by God, I believe that music possesses the power to cut through the hearts of man and touch his innermost being, leaving him vulnerable and open to self-evaluation. With this in mind, I approach songwriting with the direct intent on letting Christ take the metaphorical wheel and mold the piece to whatever best suits His will. Too often do songs reference vague struggles or take inspiration from the same verses but fail to bring the listener any closer to Christ than he or she was before hearing the song. For this reason, I try to make everything that I write as honest and relatable as possible, because to write a song that may sound awesome but fails to reach the listener and direct all glory to Christ misses the point of my ministry altogether.
What are your thoughts on your recent IMA and ISC wins?
As of recently, "Walk in the Light" has won two separate international songwriting awards, but the creation of the song and the process taken to bring it from an amorphous brainchild to the product that it is today is actually a rather funny story. Of all things, the idea for the song started when I went to see Captain America: Civil War with a friend. Being a fan of classic rock, he played Guns N' Roses' "Civil War" on the ride to the theatre, and, aside from geeking out over the historical references interwoven in the song, I was mesmerized by the acoustic guitar in the introduction and the chord structures throughout, and I kept thinking the entire rest of the night, "I have to learn to play that when I get home." After some experimentation and a few key changes, the beginning of what was to become the chorus of "Walk in the Light" had taken a rough form. In my excitement, it didn't take but an additional day and a half, and the first draft of the song made its debut to my parents in our living room. After being contacted by Eric Copeland from Creative Soul Records, I travelled to Nashville to meet with him and perform the song for constructive criticism and advice. After performing the song, I was invited to record it with Creative Soul Records as a part of their compilation album, being left with the suggestion of revising the song as to create a more distinct separation between the verse, chorus, and bridge. After a night of revisions, I sent a rough recording of the second draft back to Eric, and a date was set to have the song professionally recorded and produced by Johnathan Crone.
After being recorded, all that was left was photos and promotional material. At that point, having experience in the recording process from my first album, I thought the whole undertaking was over, and I was to start working on another song. I didn't think much of my father's comment when he mentioned that I had been entered into two songwriting competitions, as I had entered the first draft of the song into different competitive platforms with little success. Little did I know that God had other plans. After being told that I had been nominated as a finalist for the Independent Music Award for Christian music, my father and I packed our bags and flew to New York City for the awards ceremony. At that point, I still expected very little and treated the trip as an opportunity for a short family vacation, but again, God had other plans. After being announced as the 2018 IMA winner for the best Christian/Gospel song, I went a little weak in the knees. That overwhelming sensation was further exacerbated upon my father's announcement that I had placed third in the International Songwriting Competition: the same competition that launched for King & Country into the massive platform that they have today.
If I learned anything over the two-year process, it was that God can use anyone to accomplish any task for His glory. I mean, He used a socially awkward nerd from one of the smallest counties in Tennessee to write a song that would go on to place in two international competitions. If that doesn't speak major volumes about what God can do in our lives, I don't know what will, because I certainly could not have gotten past one bar of melody without His direct influence and guidance.
Who would you love to co-write with?
Although there are several artists with whom I would love to co-write, each possesses characteristics that lend themselves to different aspects of the songwriting process as a whole. If Jeff Lynne, Jimmy Page, or the founding members of Chicago could co-write with me, the product would take the musical world by storm. The same goes for John Mayer. It wouldn't matter what chord structure was used; it would simply just be enthralling. Bart Millard always stands out to me for his deeply-rooted appreciation and incorporation of retro styles into his music, and We Are Messengers and the most recent incarnation of Sanctus Real would be absolutely essential, given the honesty of their lyrics. Of course, co-writing wouldn't even be a thing without Ed Cash, who has more GRAMMYs behind his career than there are letters in the alphabet. Now, if all of the previously-listed artists came together in one collaborative effort, if the world wouldn't rupture along all of its major fault lines from the sheer amount of talent, I do believe that the product would be quite pleasing on the ears.
What do you think are some of the biggest issues of this current generation?
Being only eighteen, I still have a good deal of things to learn, but as far as my generation, I feel that we are plagued by distractions and selfishness to near pandemic proportions. So many people get so caught up with what is happening on social media to notice or share concern for some of the more pressing issues facing our society today. Don't get me wrong, many of the technological and social advancements made in the past few years have opened doors to bring about change in the most profound and sincere ways, but all too often, these same tools can be easily abused to yield negative effects on both the user and those within his or her sphere of influence. My charge for those in my life and for those reading this is to try to take a step back from the hundreds of distractions in life. Try to think less of how something will effect you and more of how it can benefit others. It is my belief that if people could adopt a servant's mindset regarding those around them and try to think of the end goal, the "big picture," our world would be an infinitely better place. My advice to others is and has always been this: present fun by no means comes with a stigma attached, but delayed gratification often yields a greater fulfillment of self in the end. When you can look past the here and now and seriously consider the future and the future of the souls around you, you can begin to experience a life lived walking in the fullness of Christ, and it makes all the difference.
Talk to us about your current projects. What are you working on now?
My music is in a rather exciting place currently, and I am thrilled to see where it goes. Given that "Walk in the Light" was originally written two years ago, I have radically changed how I write music since the composition of my last single. Having many unexpected seasons of trial and spiritual reevaluation, I have added quite a bit of life to the "collective experience" that fuels my musical composition. I am currently entering a new approach to songwriting that differs greatly from what I have previously produced--a transition that can be glimpsed in the most recent song that I wrote for my father on Father's Day ("A Father's Prayer). Above everything, I have always strived for raw honesty in the music that I create, and I feel that many of the songs I have written fail to capture the depth and transparency that I would have wished for them to possess, and for that reason, I am excited to share more of what the Lord has taught me in these past two years in the music that I create going forward.
How can people be praying for you?
As most artists would probably admit, having a music ministry is difficult at times, from the time commitment that it requires to keep it going to the monetary costs of equipment, travel expenses, and recording albums. As I transition into college, many decisions will have to be made regarding the direction of my ministry, and many accommodations will need to be arranged in order to balance school work with weekly recordings for YouTube. Prayer for me as I make this transition and am faced with decisions regarding my ministry would be more than appreciated. It has been a blessing to be able to share and write music for the past five years, and it has been an even bigger blessing to have the support of the best fanbase an artist could possibly ask for. Being able to meet so many people from across the globe and discuss topics ranging the entire spiritual spectrum has been a highlight of my life, and I look forward to seeing what God has planned for the near future.
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