During a tour in which Drake‘s people seemed loathe to allow any photographers or reviews near the recent recipient of the International Male Solo Artist at the Brit Awards, we were lucky to get access for Brumlive’s Andy Watson, at the first of two nights at the Barclaycard Arena.
With music in the genes Drake is the son of Sandi and Dennis Graham, a drummer who worked with Jerry Lee Lewis. His father is African American, a native of Memphis, Tennessee and his mother is Jewish Canadian. Drake’s interest in performing began at an early age. From summers spent with his dad in Memphis, he gained an appreciation and understanding for music that would later influence the sound he would create in years to come.
Since first being recognized for his role on the highly-successful television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, and going on the road with rap star Lil Wayne after hearing Drake’s music in the summer of 2008, Drake has asserted himself as a trailblazer in the creative world. Drake released his mixtape So Far Gone in 2009 and his massive influence in the hip-hop and contemporary music space has commanded the market since, with no end in sight. Drake now holds the record for the most number one hits on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Chart.
Drake released his fourth album, Views, in 2016, breaking several chart records in the process. The dancehall-influenced Views sat atop the Billboard 200 for ten nonconsecutive weeks, becoming the first album by a solo male to do so in over 10 years. Its single “One Dance” topped the chart in several countries, including the U.S., the UK and Canada, where it became his first number-one single as the lead artist. This saw Drake leading the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 simultaneously for eight weeks, coming close to a record held by Whitney Houston. It achieved quadruple platinum status in the U.S., and earned over 1 million album-equivalent units in the first week of its release. He also secured his second and third Grammy win, for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song, at the organization’s 59th ceremony.
Drake has catapulted into stardom not only as an artist, but as a cultural maven with October’s Very Own. Sharing the story of the thriving music scene in Toronto, Drake has built out OVO from a small-scale blog about his crew to an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, including his clothing company, his record label OVOSOUND and his annual OVOFEST.
Drake has reached great heights in recent years and he continues to create and dominate the global market. As Drake says, “It’s about the experience. If the city isn’t talking about it five, six, seven days later, or if people don’t remember it for years to come, then I haven’t done my job…I’m going to find out what comes after this, but there’s definitely another evolution of Drake.”
Photographs: Andy Watson
Words – PR