Brockton Boy DRUU Navigates the World of Entertainment

Artwork by Max Kolomatsky

Artwork by Max Kolomatsky

by Nada Alturki

In a cold and colorful Boston Common, I met up with Andrew Lawrence Cooper, stage name DRUU, looking effortlessly trendy in a jean jacket, a colorful crossbody, and gold-rimmed sunglasses. He was able to meet up for an exclusive interview with WECB right before heading down to Back Bay for a music video shoot for his track “LUVBIND”. The song is off his 5-track EP “BREW”, released only last September. As we make our way over to the Emerson campus, DRUU updates me on his life and recent projects. The Emerson alum has a music video coming out, participates in an international music festival, and hosts his own local radio show. How did he get here?

As we sat down in one of the study rooms at Walker, he recalls his very first inklings of the music career yet to come.

His first experience with recording and making music was in 2015 when he taught himself editing. He found that making music was very similar to how movies are made: there was a pre-production, production, and post-production phase. He was sitting in our very own Iwasaki Library, and that’s when it hit him.

“I think I know what I wanna do. I think I’ve realized exactly what I could bring to the table, I just have to really work and finetune these things. I don’t want to be a master of none,” DRUU told me.

The up and coming hip-hop and R&B artist isn’t afraid to branch out of his niche genres and play around with his sound, assuring that “rock and roll is coming,” along with some political and experimental vibes.

In his track “THE ONE”, he sings: I feel like a danger in my country / I can’t afford not to smile.  He explains that it is “literally how I feel about living in America. Every time I hear about an unarmed black man getting killed by an officer or just being mistreated in a certain way [...] I see myself in that person.” The politics of respectability definitely play a role in shaping how minorities in our society, or certain social groups, go about their lives and influence the front that they present to others. The whole concept of adjusting yourself to accommodate the standards of others makes it difficult to be authentically and simply yourself. “This country is going to view me as a black person. And the fact the I view myself as a black person is kind of ridiculous. The English language has it so that the word ‘black’ is a synonym for a lot of bad things [...] It starts with the English language.” DRUU represents a whole generation of youth, newly navigating the world, calling to action a social change and universal acceptance, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc.

DRUU, who graduated from Emerson in the spring of 2018, feels that although it is bittersweet to navigate a new world alone as a fresh graduate, it is quite freeing. He explains that it is “50 percent fear [...] and 50 percent ‘I get to do what I want, trust the process and just create.’”

Robert Fine, whom DRUU had previously worked with on his BFA, had also produced the last track on his BREW EP “Now You Know”. DRUU exclusively mentions to WECB that they are both working on an album, “WOAH,” to be released on January 1, 2019. “This one is gonna be a true hip-hop album. It’s gonna have its own mix and variety, but my goal is to make a definitive work with this.”

Although DRUU has graduated as a VMA major, music is a much more personal experience for him compared to filmmaking. It was an independent process in contrast with the cooperative effort of making and producing a film. When asked about the process of creating his first EP, DRUU vividly recalls his first initiation into the world of music curation.

“The day after I graduated, I bought $1,200 of musical equipment. The first night when I came in, I put all the stuff together mad quick, and I made the beat for “LUVBIND” [...] I got a nice beatpad, a red little box, you plug a microphone chord in [...] a really nice mic, mic stand. I had another piano keyboard already.” That was the beginning: all he needed, and all that went into creating BREW. The song, as described by him, carries a Prince vibe. “I felt purple, I was seeing colors.” In addition to Prince, his influences include James Blake, Frank Ocean, and Stevie Wonder. Although when initially listening to DRUU’s music, it definitely seems quite distinct from any other, you can definitely sense the impact of these artists on certain elements of his music.

DRUU notes that the most difficult part of the whole production process was mastering, known as the process of preparing an audio track for distribution. He continues to learn and grow, however, noting that he expects his next project to be much more developed than his first EP. “If ‘BREW’ ends up being better in terms of mastering than my next project, then I’m done [...] I’ll stop making music.” It would be a moment of reconsideration for him, explaining there would have been a regression on his end in order to let that “mess up” happen, DRUU said.

When it comes to lyrics, DRUU is the sole songwriter for all of his tracks, except for the first track released off the EP “WE IN THE CLUB”, which was written and produced in collaboration with Axl Rod. In reference to his writing process, he notes: “I usually start with whatever is ailing me. I do look at music as a way of therapy for myself.” His goal through this whole process and with putting out music is to spread awareness, both culturally and on a personal level. He hopes that people can relate to his experience and find a message and a sense of comfort within the lyrics.

The Brockton artist has complete trust in his decisions and where this creative journey will take him. When asked if he ever feels hesitant in the path he has chosen to take in the entertainment industry, DRUU replied: “I have trust in God [...] and I feel as though that is what gives me that confidence and courage [...] There is nobody that can stand against me.” His trust in God seems to be a safety net, making it easier for him to put himself out there and trust that the results would be in his benefit. “That has really helped with a lot of the spontaneous decisions and places that I’ve been put in. The fact that I’m working at a radio station right now, I have a radio segment. I did not think three weeks ago that I’d be doing radio at all.”

DRUU has just started broadcasting his new radio show, Primetime With DRUU, live on FFTG radio Mondays through Fridays from 4-6pm. The show features a word and a question of the day, which usually revolve around the same theme. This seems to be a creative outlet for the artist, bringing awareness to issues related to race, family, war, and other societal affairs. The show also features a 15-minute segment called “The Lude,” where the host plays his original beats. The goal of this segment is to provide a sensual and mellow vibe for listeners after a long day of work. Other creative skit segments are also in the works.

Other future works to look out for also include a short called “Mr. Nice Guy,” which will be published on YouTube.

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