Back in 2017 when Big Machine Records decided it had bitten off more than it could chew and shuttered their imprint Dot Records, it left the fate of a few important mainstream artists in the air. As more of an offbeat imprint for the mainstream giant that includes Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line on its roster, it was a place where developing talent such as Maddie & Tae and Drake White could find a home.
Often when a label shutters or there is a shift in management, the status of the respective artists is updated for the public. But with Dot, the fans of the performers were left to fend for themselves. It was confirmed at the time that Carly Pearce and Tucker Beathard had been moved to other Big Machine divisions in the Dot disillusion. But it wasn’t until later that we learned that Maddie & Tae were left out on the street (eventually to be signed by UMG Nashville).
But this still left the fate of Drake White in question. As a more rootsy and songwriter-based artist on a major label, he became a favorite of many grassroots fans. Though Drake’s four radio singles all did decently, they eventually stalled outside the country radio Top 10, which is a no no for a male in the mainstream. Still with a more substantive sound, he was able to sell nearly 60,000 copies of his debut record Spark.
In a recent interview, Drake White confirms he was dropped by Big Machine, but promises he’s not giving up on either his career, or his sound.
“I’m gonna use this platform that Big Machine and Universal have helped me build over the last six, seven, years as a catapult and I’m gonna find a partner that loves that southern-fried thing that we do,” says White. “We’ve got a lot of interest already. And, I’ve got some music in the studio. I went to work. I went straight to work and started recording all these songs that I had written that for one reason or another the label said, ‘I don’t know if that’ll work at radio. I’m not sure.’ Or, ‘Man I think this is great for radio. I think this is great commercially but, eh.'”
Drake White leans heavily on more of a Muscle Shoals sound that is rarely championed in the mainstream, but is well regarded in Americana and among grassroots fans.
“I’ve always been super convicted about my art and what I wanted to do,” White says. “And the label’s job is to give that art the best chance to win across the board, commercially or whatever it should be. I know exactly who I am and what I want to do for an artistic standpoint. And that is that Muscle Shoal kind of southern-fried, soul, funky country music … It’s fiddles, it’s harmonicas, it’s great bass lines and great songwriting … I’ve always been one of those guys that are left of center. And that’s why I’ve never tried to deny that.”
Though there is no firm plans for the release of new music, Drake White says he’s actively working on new material, and a partner who understands him to help him release it. “I’ve got the confidence now and I’m gonna go out and do exactly what I know what we are great at. And we are great at it, at going out and doing it and having fun with it, serving these fans. And that’s what we’re doing.”
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To little fanfare, Big Machine released a Drake White EP called ‘Pieces’ in May of leftovers from his time at the label.