An Interview With Drew Henmi
The brand new EP release from Drew Henmi dubbed Begin Again is a wonderous and colorful record that blends acoustic pop, jazz undertones, and R&B all in one smooth and vibrant release.
The songs touch on Americana and hold true to an indie-pop feel while the sounds feel cinematic and powerful.
The guitar work is excellent and songs breathe and build as Drew performs passionately and drives the record's emotional platform.
The record seems almost like a concept album as songs are personal and honest as lyrics get descriptive even in the form of metaphors.
There is a contemporary pop vibe happening throughout the EP's 5 track life span and there is so much to soak in that it actually does feel like you've read someone's journal or watched a film that moved you.
With such a powerful EP we wanted to have a sit down with the artist to talk about the EP and what's next for him.
TSWS: Okay let's start with the Begin Again EP. This record has a variety of genres that all seem to tie together very well. Tons of soul and neo-folk styles with anthemic undertones. Where did this EP come from?
Drew: The overall sound and vibe of the EP itself is definitely the culmination of many years of fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a sound that felt real and authentic to me. Apparently it took a series of global catastrophes for things to feel like they started to coalesce. But in all seriousness, there’s been A LOT of trial and error, and a lot of really bad demos that will hopefully never see the light of day.
TSWS: This is your sophomore EP right? How did this all start for you?
Drew: Yep, this is my sophomore EP. In terms of how it all started, if we wanna go way back, we could start with some very mediocre middle school cover bands. We somehow even played a fundraiser for current California Governor Gavin Newsom’s San Francisco mayoral bid. Given the polarized public opinion of the governor these days, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that in this interview. But hey, we were like 12 years old.
TSWS: What artists or bands really influenced you? Who changed you?
Drew: I’ve been influenced by so many bands and artists over the years, so this is a really hard question to answer. I try my best to be a sponge and just take everything in. Although I’ve had Lianne La Havas, Anderson Paak, and the 1975 on heavy rotation lately for sure.
TSWS: Did you used to perform live at all? Do you think you will be focusing on that when the time comes?
Drew: I used to perform regularly, but that all went bye bye after COVID hit. I’m definitely looking forward to playing in front of live audiences once again soon.
But virtual gigs are still happening. And speaking of, I have a virtual EP Release Concert on Jan. 2 courtesy of the good folks at Bonfire Live, an organization that has been an amazing partner for musicians during COVID. I’m really looking forward to celebrating the release of this project, and I’d love to see you there. Plus it’s for a good cause, as I’ll be donating all the proceeds to the Hawaii Foodbank. Visit bonfirealive.com for details on tickets.
TSWS: What does someone like you do when you're NOT working on music?
Drew: If I’m not working on music, I’m most likely surfing. Those are the two things in life that keep me most balanced, at ease, and a manageably pleasant person.
TSWS: What sort of non-musical things inspire you to write?
Drew: I find a lot of inspiration in seeing the creative processes of people in other fields. Whether architecture, cooking, photography or the like, there is something universal about the process of finding unique ways to express yourself through art.
TSWS: What's next for you as an artist?
Drew: Inspiration can be a fleeting thing, so I just hope to stay inspired, stay motivated, and to continue to be able to create art that feels authentic to me.
TSWS: This is a big undertaking and quite an accomplishment. What sort of advice would you have for artists out there just trying to get heard?
Drew: Be resilient. Don’t be afraid to make mediocre things. And don’t be afraid of rejection. This all sounds like advice for other people, but I’m also really just trying to reiterate this to myself.
TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Drew: I’d just like to say thank you for listening. It means the world to me when I hear that my music is connecting with you, inspiring you, or even helping you through some tough times. That’s all any creative can ever hope for, and i’m so grateful for it.