If you’re looking for raw, unembellished songwriting, you should listen to “Candid” by Drea. Besides its pleasing melody, there is something so refreshing about Drea belting out the unadulterated truth about this belief that women should be silent, not heard, and their role is to be pretty. We had the pleasure of interviewing Drea, and here’s what she had to say:
Q: I love how well-written “Candid” is! What message are you hoping to convey with this song and how are you hoping listeners will respond to it?
DREA: I hope this song, and the entire album, empowers anyone who’s ever been silenced to continue being loud and to continue to take up space and tell your story.
Q: Can you describe your songwriting process for this song?
DREA: Thank you so much! I sort of wrote this song out of frustration. I tend to be very vocal with my opinions, especially regarding injustice of any kind. I’m pretty unapologetic about it as well. Because of this, I’ve been put in situations where I’m punished for not being silent. No matter who you are, you’ll always face retaliation for speaking out against oppressive systems. However, I think society finds it even more distasteful when that objection comes from a woman, which is where the lyric “no one likes a woman with a mouth” originated. Men hate when we speak unless it’s compliance or flattery.
Q: What was a typical recording session for this song like? And what aspect of the creative process did you enjoy the most?
DREA: OOO I love this question.
My process changed every time I sat down. Sometimes I picked up my guitar or piano, wrote chords, and then wrote over that. Sometimes I wrote a poem and went to my computer and grabbed a sample, or a plug-in, and made the poem fit over the track. Sometimes it literally just flew right out of me all at once, almost as if someone was speaking through me. This is my favorite state. Not only because everything comes out quickly and I finish a track in a day, but because it feels natural and emotive. This particular track was one of those. I grabbed a sample, and the demo flew out of me. I did around 80% of production but felt like something was still missing. This is when I handed it off to my extraordinarily talented cousin, Sho, who took the production to completion. He also features on “Digital Love” under his artist name JAN3T.
Q: At what point did you decide or realize that you want to be a musician?
DREA: I just always was a musician. I come from a very athletic family, but my parents quickly realized anything involving physical agility was not for me (lol). As my dad likes to put it, I’m about “as coordinated as a snail at low tide”. So, I took my first piano lesson at 4 years old. I’ve always loved school and growing up with two parents who ran a small business, I’ve also always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I have always thought business Drea could not exist at the same time as artist Drea. For a long time, I bought into the narrative that you needed to starve in order to be an artist. As someone whose current “day job” is in music tech, I have let go of the idea of “either/or” and decided I can be both. (I mean, look at Rihanna).
Q: If you could perform at any venue in the world right now, where would you love to perform? Why
DREA: Another great one. Damn.
Madison Square Garden. I remember performing at Kiss 108’s Jingle Ball “pre-show” there on another smaller stage in the venue. I remember saying I’d be on the big one, someday.
Q: What is one major thing you’re really looking forward to achieving musically this year?
DREA: I have a few goals this year! Overall, I’d love to develop a more distinguished sound and expand my audience. I definitely want to begin a concept EP and ideally would finish production by the beginning of 2024. I’d love to multiply my streams and followers across all DSPs. I plan on doing more shows this summer, and potentially a songwriting camp! Lastly, I would love to get a sync deal on a show/movie.
Interviewed by Zoey King