SOSspotlight – Drew De Four | SOSstudio

SOSspotlight gives us a chance to showcase the things we enjoy and think you should know about.  

This week is our good friend Drew DeFour.  Drew is a songwriter and all round good egg based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He regularly tours the US and Europe as a solo artist as well as being one of America’s foremost duelling piano players.

To find out more about Drew go to

SOS: What was the last project you worked on?
“Humanist Pop” – music a la The Band with lyrics that support my current life’s thesis of “Health, Happiness, and Sustainability” (Humanism). I recorded the album with some of the most talented live/session musicians from my days at University of Michigan: Joe Dart, Theo Katzman, Tomek Miernowski, and Woody Goss. Not to mention guest vocalist Kin Curran who is not only a stone cold fox, but a fantastic singer. The band played the whole album live in the studio over 2 days and I recorded the vocals in my home studio later on. Mixed by Geoff Michael and Mastered by Devin Kerr, I’m very happy with the result!

SOS: What was the last record you bought and why?
Well, my wife bought me “Small Change” by Tom Waits on vinyl… very cool. She knew it was my favorite Tom Waits album from the 70’s – the perfect combination of his Beat Poet/Jazz style with some incredibly beautiful ballads like “Tom Traubert’s Blues (4 Sheets the Wind in Copehagen)” and “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” This is one of the best records ever made in terms of consistently great songs, great performances (all done live in a sound studio in Hollywood with Waits, a sax/bass/drums Jazz Trio, and a symphony), and flow. Super happy with the purchase, super happy I’m married to such a thoughtful and tasteful woman.

SOS: If you could work with one artist, dead or alive (performer, writer, producer etc) who would it be?
How about besides Tom Waits, because that’s too obvious?

Performer: ?uestlove from The Roots. He is what all computers will always be trying to emulate in terms of creating a “Groove” (metronomic time is robotic, human groove is… well human).

Writer: I’d want to work with Trey Parker from South Park on anything (Comedy, Music, etc.) He is probably my favorite living writer and one of the most evolved moral thinkers of our time.

Producer: Greg Dulli from The Afghan Whigs. I could write an essay on why he’s a beautiful human being.

(I know you said ONE artist… but that’s not fair).

SOS: what is your favourite musical tool? Instrument, pedal, processor?
Piano… I’ve played it so long it’s almost an extension of myself. When I need to express anything, I get on the piano and I can say it. It’s taken literally 28 of my 31 years of life to get this way and I still improve every year, but it’s truly the instrument I can communicate most eloquently with – though I do play guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, harmonica, etc. Piano is THE instrument for me.

SOS: What is your earliest musical memory?
I remember singing “Somewhere Out There” from “An American Tail” in Greektown, Detroit when I was 5 I think – these guys were making fudge in front of a large group of people and they were singing and they asked if anyone could sing so I volunteered to sing my favorite song at the time. I’d find out years later that it was written by James Horner who is one of my favorite movie composers (“Field of Dreams” is such a beautiful score, and for every guy out there who thinks they are crying every time they watch it JUST because of the relationship between Kevin Costner and his dad at the end of the movie… well, don’t forget that incredible music building in the background, that’s probably what gets to ME every time).

SOS: In your opinion, what song that you have heard is “perfect”; you’d never change a thing?
Once again, let’s just not include EVERY Beatles song…

So, probably “Somewhere” by Bernstein/Soundheim. That song has melody, chord changes, and perfectly eloquent lyrics that will probably always be relevant to the human race as long as we exist.

Interview by Dan Cooper

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