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Spotlight – Jeff Draco

Today’s Spotlight – Jeff Draco. We sat down with Jeff to talk about his musical journey and the meaning behind the music. Take a moment to learn more about this talented artist and how his music evolved.

Can you take us back to the very beginning of your music journey? What sparked your interest in music?

As the youngest sibling of a very musical family, some of my earliest memories are of sitting in the basement of our home in rural Maryland, an hour outside of DC, watching my brothers’ band practice. Those moments first drew me to the guitar and drums, and later other instruments like the piano, bass, and tenor saxophone. By eight years old, I was releasing music on MySpace.

As a teen, I played with Nashville-based New Orleans-style “jazz punk” band The Willies and later fronted Baltimore garage-rock group STRANGER before starting the Jeff Draco project.

“Never Gonna Be The Same” seems to be a deeply personal and emotional track. Can you share with us the inspiration behind this song and how it reflects your own experiences?

“Never Gonna Be The Same” revolves around the theme of change and the challenges I’ve faced as a young person trying to make sense of a world that often feels confusing and unnerving. It reflects the rapid evolution of our society and the sense of fear and uncertainty that can accompany it. I also touch on isolation, stemming from the feeling that we need to look out for ourselves when it seems established systems are failing us. The song’s lyrics delve into the unsettling reality of gun violence and the struggles of transitioning from college to the ‘real world,’ making it a reflection of both the changes in my own journey and the parallel observations of the changes happening in society.

What kind of hurdles have you faced in your career, and how have you got passed them?

As a solo artist who performs with a full live band, I think the largest hurdle at the beginning was finding people to consistently play music with and keeping a consistent lineup. Over time, I’ve been lucky to find a solid group of friends which have made that easier and more fun to do.

The music industry has evolved significantly in recent years, with new platforms and technologies influencing the way artists produce and share their music. How has this affected your creative process, and what role do you think technology plays in the future of music?

It’s been really interesting to see the music industry evolving in recent years, especially with new platforms emerging. I feel even more in the loop currently because I started working on the venue promoter side as a designer and social manager last year. When it comes to my own music, however, I try not to let these changes impact my creative process too much. I don’t want to write music just because it seems like it’ll do well in the digital landscape. That said, evolving technology is a huge game-changer for making music more accessible for both creators and listeners. It’s going to keep shaping the future of the industry in exciting ways.

“Never Gonna Be The Same” has received remarkable attention from both fans and critics. Were you expecting such a positive response, and how do you handle the pressure to create music that lives up to the expectations of your audience?

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve been so happy to see the positive response. I’m always nervous about a song’s reception when I first release it, this one especially because I took a step in being bolder in my messaging and lyrics, it was a little grittier and darker than a lot of my discography. I love exploring different tones/genres within what I feel is my sound and trying to push those boundaries always, so it’s reassuring when others gravitate towards those attempts.

Every musician worth their while has thought of an epic collab they would like to do. What’s yours and why?

I’d love to work with Medium Build. Our sounds differ in some ways, but his lyricism and songwriting are on another level, and the energy he puts into his live shows is awe-inspiring.

Your music often carries a distinct emotional resonance. How do you maintain a balance between staying authentic to your emotions while also connecting with a broader audience who may interpret your music differently?

I’ve always aimed to stay true to my emotions while writing music that also captures more universal perspectives. Even if some people may interpret my music differently, the core emotions I convey attempt to resonate with a broader range of experiences, which I think makes it relatable to a larger audience while still being authentic to my own emotional journey.

Who are some artists you think we should be listening to these days?

Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Royel Otis, Yot Club, Medium Build, Altin Gun, Surf Hat, and Sun Room.

What's something on your go-to playlist that people wouldn’t expect you to listen to?

Probably “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. My family has always been very musically inclined. Every family get-together always ends with us jamming together. This song is one that I’d always sing with my grandfather and brothers.

Many musicians find that their creative process evolves over time. How has your approach to songwriting and music production changed since you first started, and what factors have influenced this transformation?

In my new single, I explore navigating a changing world as I evolve beyond my college days. Ideas still hit me at random moments, but now they evolve more naturally into full compositions. I’ve also found that absorbing the stories of those around me, meeting people who listen to my music, and hearing any sort of impact it has had on their lives has profoundly influenced my creative process.

What do you hope people take away from your music?

I hope people can feel the joy and nostalgia in my music. I try to create a space where everyone can dance, have fun, and reminisce.

What motivates you to keep going?

I love every chance I get to connect with different audiences at our live shows. Whether they’ve been long-time fans or are experiencing my music for the first time, there’s always genuine support and enthusiasm, which motivates me to keep making music.

“Never Gonna Be The Same” marks a milestone in your discography. Looking forward, how do you envision your musical journey unfolding, and what do you hope to achieve in the coming years as an artist?

Looking ahead, I plan to continue working on my sound as I start to craft my next releases. I hope to spend as much time as I can on the road and touring consistently. I also want to keep collaborating with artists and creatives who challenge me to expand my creative boundaries, ultimately pushing my artistic endeavors to new heights in the coming years.

This year, those goals have culminated in a few ways like playing larger venues, headlining my largest tour yet, performing alongside acclaimed artists I admire, and getting to work with artists who share my passion for music and creativity.

Spotlight – Jeff Draco has come to an end. Big thanks for taking the time to chat

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