The singer gave his original Country tune “Senior Year” a whole new meaning when schools across the nation were forced to cancel their graduations due to social distancing measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Thinking of ways to help, Baldridge took measures into his own hands by doing what he could, which included performing over 60 private Zoom concerts for this year’s Senior Class. Those virtual concerts and his passion for his fans led to him going out on the road, performing socially distant concerts, at a time where the touring industry has been put on pause due to the pandemic.
“With [Senior Year’s] hook saying, ‘never thought it would disappear, senior year,’ it kind of had a whole new meaning for the Class of 2020,” Baldridge tells Celeb Secrets Country. “It hit differently.”
Baldridge gave us an exclusive interview about the inspiration behind his Senior Year tour and coordinating the tour himself as an independent artist while giving us details on how he proposed to his fiancé earlier this year.
Take a read at the full Q&A below and don’t forget to let us know what you think of “Senior Year” by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @CS_Country.
You can connect with Drew by following him on Instagram at @drewbaldridgemusic.
Celeb Secrets Country: You have a song out called “Senior Year.” Can you tell us a little bit about the song and the inspiration behind it?
Drew Baldridge: “‘Senior Year,’ it’s been a crazy ride for this song. We put it out in 2019 for the Class of 2019, so in May of last year. With the hook saying, ‘never thought it would disappear, senior year’, it kind of had a whole new meaning for the Class of 2020; it hit differently. As soon as it happened I remember my dad called me and was like, ‘Hey. A girl down the road used your song ‘Senior Year’ in the back of her senior year video. You oughta go watch it.’, so I went and watched it. As soon as it got to that hook I just started crying and was like, ‘Man, these kid’s senior years really did disappear. What can I do? What can I do as an artist to help bring some light to this and help these kids out?’. So I sent out a message to some radio buddies and I posted on my own social media and was like, ‘Hey. If you know of someone in the Class of 2020 that wants me to do a Zoom concert, I’ll do it’. Before I knew it I was doing about 6 or 7 Zoom concerts a day and I ended up doing over 60 Zoom concerts for kids all around the country. Then shortly that turned into going and playing in person; some schools were like ‘hey, can you play our graduation?’, so before I knew it I was doing a bunch of drive-in parade kind of style graduations. Which is something I never thought. But man, it ended up being a really special little trip. We’ve done about 15 schools now and I have another school in Arkansas on Friday. We’ve just been from California to New York to play Zoom concerts. We did 60 of those and now 15 in person.”
CSC: That is amazing! Do you have a special moment or memory from playing those graduations?
DB: “Oh man. I just think when you’re doing these drive-in graduations and you sing Senior Year, everybody just honks on their horn; it’s so much different than claps. There’s kids honking on their horn and some bring their tractors, so they’re starting their engines up and revving them up real loud and you see the smoke blow up. I just think the interaction with the kids; I’ve played a lot of shows, big festivals, and have opened for a lot of awesome people, but these are some of the most rewarding shows I’ve done for these kids. I think that’s the most memorable moment; just doing it. This is really unique. Just picking up the phone and talking to these principals and talking to these parents myself to setting up the tour myself, it’s just been a really cool experience.”
CSC: It sounds like your Senior Year tour is keeping you pretty busy! Have you been doing anything else during this time to keep yourself busy?
DB: “Well I just got engaged so there was 60 days of being quarantined that I think everybody should have to do before marriage (laughs); it’s a good test. I planted a garden in my backyard and we’re just starting to get tomatoes out of it, which is pretty awesome. That’s the first time I’ve planted my own garden in my backyard; growing up we always had one. I’ve actually had time to do one, it’s been kind of a hobby. Then I started planning these, I’ve been flying around and driving around now and I’m out on the road more than I thought I would be. Of course we’re keeping all social distancing rules, it’s actually just me and my guitar. The last month I’ve just spent a lot of time out on the road alone, which is really different compared to most of the time I have 7 guys and a tour manager telling me what to do. It’s just me hoping I get everything right myself and not screw up what time I’ve got to be there.”
CSC: Congratulations on your engagement! Can you tell us a little bit about how you proposed?
DB: “Yeah, so crazy story; I was supposed to propose in Paris. I was on a fall tour last year with LoCash and we were writing some songs and we wrote this song that just seemed so much like me and Katie [fiancé]. I came back to the house and made the verses even more about Katie; I wanted to put out a song for her, something special for her. So I wrote a bridge on a song and it said, ‘Never thought I’d fly to Paris to get down on one knee’. It was 2 days before we were supposed to go out and I had just got the song done, got the master back, and then I was told ‘Hey, you can’t fly to Paris anymore…a travel ban happened’. I was like, you have got to be kidding me. I was stressing out, I got this song recorded that says Paris in it, I had the photographer lined up in Paris where I was going to propose at, and I was just stressing out. Katie was like, ‘I just really don’t like how you’re being, I don’t understand why this is such a big deal’. I was like, ‘well…you know, I just really wanted to go to Paris’, of course still trying to do this [the proposal] all behind her back. The day before we left she decides that we want to go to Aruba. So I went into the studio behind her back and changed it to ‘I never thought I’d fly to an Island to get down on one knee’, which ended up working out really good. I had this video that I did every step of the way of what the engagement looked like; I had them record making the ring, I recorded myself going in there and picking it up. It was the most raw video I have ever done. How I proposed, it was right on the beach in Aruba, and I caught it all on camera. It was really special and I’ll always have that to show my kids one day.”
CSC: What was it like writing the song “Before You?”
DB: “It was really great. Me and the LoCash boys were out on the road, we were on Long Island playing a show. We were eating lunch and Chris [Lucas] and I were talking about our wives, well, his wife and my girlfriend at the time. Girls always want to know like, ‘what happened, what were you like before me?’, that’s always a common, I feel like, talk. Chris just said out loud, ‘before you baby, I was crazy’. I was like, ‘man I feel the same way, that’s what we should write; you know, before you I was burning that crazy and trying to figure out what life was and then I met you and you changed all of that’. Before we knew it we had the whole chorus wrote and we were messing around on some verses; we had a verse. I brought it back to the house and just kind of rewrote the first verse and kind of changed up some stuff in the second verse and made it all about Katie. I just think so many people can relate to that…it couldn’t be more real.”
CSC: Have you and your fiancé begun wedding planning? Is she taking the reins or have you been involved as well?
DB: “You would think we have this thing all planned out with as much time as we’ve spent together, but with all of the Co-Vid 19 stuff going on, we decided to wait until next year to make sure we can have the number of people that we want. We want to make sure we can have it the way we want to have it. I would like for her to take the reins, but she can’t make decisions very well. Which I guess is a good thing because she makes sure she picks what she likes, but she takes forever (laughs).”
CSC: Do either of you have any special requests for the big day?
DB: “No, I don’t think so. I think her biggest thing is she just wants her family to be there and she wants her daddy to walk her down the aisle. We don’t know if we want to do a wedding destination where we fly somewhere and just have our really close friends or do it big. We haven’t decided yet on what exactly we want to do. But of course we just want to make sure our families are there, that’s the most important thing to us. That my mom and dad can be there and her mom and dad can be there; her and her dad are real close. I think that’s just a must. We aren’t very fancy people so we don’t want to spend a ton of money on a huge wedding, we’d rather pay off our house or something like that.”
CSC: Last but not least, you are talking to Celeb Secrets Country. So tell us, what is one secret or fun fact fans may not know about you?
DB: “When I first came to Nashville at 19, I had a really nice truck. I played a lot of shows up in Illinois and mowed grass to buy this really nice truck. Well, I moved down here and I had no money, so I sold that truck so I knew I could continue to do music. I knew I was going to go up to Illinois every weekend and play shows, so I bought this completely hail damaged, black Chevy Cobalt. Like, the manhood just went away real fast. But it was brand new, it only had a couple of thousand miles on it, and it was really, really cheap. I knew I just needed something so I could continue to play music; something that was reliable to get me up to Illinois every weekend. I’m telling you, it was looked like a black golf ball; it was so bad. I drove that for probably 3 years when I moved here and I would drive it home every weekend. People would stare at me everywhere I went but I didn’t care, I just wanted to play music. I used to write at a place called THiS Music and I’ll never forget, I was sitting on the hood of my black Chevy Cobalt and this really nice truck pulled up. It was brand new and lifted, and Thomas Rhett steps out. He came by and I said, ‘dude, I love your truck, it’s so nice’ and he was like, ‘thanks buddy’ while giving this funny look to my car, and he goes, ‘dude, what happened to your car?!’ and I was like, ‘I bought it like this!’ It was so funny.”