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Music Profile: Singer / Songwriter Drew Hale brings summer vibes to Cadillac

On Saturday, June 8, Drew Hale will perform at the Coyote Crossing Resort of Cadillac. Hale’s show will kick off a series of live music events taking place at the resort through the end of August.

Music is often described as “the universal language.” For Hale, this means that music speaks to everybody differently.

“[Music] is fluid, it's constantly changing and it's adaptive, so I feel like music can speak to people on multiple levels and it doesn't really matter who you are,” Hale said. “Music can speak to you on some level that you will understand.”

In Hale’s music, inspiration comes from life in northern Michigan. The real struggles of life and mental health are things Hale feels modern music shies away from, but that's exactly what people need to hear.

“It's encouraging that there are some newer artists that talk about mental health and the importance of self-love and taking good care of yourself in times of crisis,” says Hale “I feel like there’s a connected factor to that part of my music as well as just the camaraderie of loving life and the times here in north.”

Rural communities offer different kinds of inspiration than urban areas do for Hale. “The people that live in the rural communities tend to be blue collar, tend to have been generational in whatever they do,” Hale says.

Hale likes to write songs for working-class people and encourage them for “working their butts off for a living.”

Celebrating the things that keep people coming back to northern Michigan is another way Hale has been able to create music that resonates. His song “Great Lakes Summer Nights” has become a summer anthem in Michigan, talking about what makes the season so memorable.

“[The song] is all about the things that make Northern Michigan summer, summer,” says Hale. “Beaches, beers, bonfires, best friends, flip flops and hoodies on the beach celebrating and enjoying the short summer that we get.”

Courtesy Photo
Drew Hale

Hale is originally from Texas but considers northern Michigan home. According to Hale, the red dirt sounds of west Texas country music play a huge role in his songwriting. “I call it Michigan country with the Texas heart,” says Hale.

Hale classifies his music as “Roots Rock”, which he describes as a combination of the raw songwriting of the red dirt culture of Texas and Oklahoma with influences from blues and soul.

In Hale’s opinion, his music is most like Chris Stapleton’s because of the rock’n’roll elements and blues influences.

Smaller crowds are some of Hale’s favorites. The intimate setting allows him to tell stories that will impact people and speak to the topics and messages of his music.

“When I tell stories on stage, most of its either coming from a place of personal experience or if it's a song that I've created a story or a character for, then I kind of give the background,” says Hale.

One song that Hale said has gotten him the most “Thank Yous” is called Pills. The song is about the struggles of asking for help and the stigma around begin on medication for mental health.

“I’m really proud of it because my wife wrote that song and I put music to it,” Hale says. “It's touched so many people and we get requests for that song because it spoke so deeply to people who are also experiencing that or maybe struggling with their mental health.”

Hale’s next album will be a full acoustic album of one-take live recordings.

“This is really kind of celebrating the art of imperfection,” Hale said. “The album's going to be called ‘The Art of Imperfection’ and its tracks that are quality, but they're not perfect.”

Hale’s goal for the album is to put his most vulnerable self out there and create music that is real. “This is really what you might experience if you come and hear me live, it's not polished and perfect, but you’re going to have a great time listening,” says Hale.

Hale says, “This is about as raw as it gets, and I'm excited for people to hear that side of me.”

Draya Raby is a newsroom intern for WCMU based at the Cadillac News.