"I was super surprised," Christofer Drew tells JSYK, reflecting on the fans that found him as he walked through Times Square in the early afternoon. "It was really awesome, though. I was super flattered. I just wanted to talk to them and have fun."
A Day in the Life: Never Shout Never
When Christofer Drew's cab took him downtown to our New York City headquarters, he treated the staff to an acoustic performance of a brand-new song, 'If You Go, Leave Your Key in the Mailbox,' which he says he just wrote after breaking up with his girlfriend of three years. The singer-songwriter also performed the album tunes 'What Is Love' and 'On the Bright Side.' 'What Is Love,' the title track and first single off of the album, was inspired by the divorce of Christofer Drew's parents, and it raises some big questions.
"It's just pretty much me questioning, trying to figure out what love really is. I'm kind of on a quest to understand a little more because love is such a big word," he says.
The song, with a chorus of "What is love?/Is it giving up?/'Cause that's not how you raised me," certainly has some raw emotion to it, the kind that can only stem from personal experience. When Christofer Drew first played it for his parents, they were still figuring things out about love and separation themselves; his dad was touched enough to cry.
"It made me realize that my parents are people, and that they're not just my parents," he says of his folks' divorce. "It was really cool because honestly, that whole situation just grew me closer to them. We became best friends."
But Christofer Drew's relationship with his parents wasn't always quite so smooth. At the age of 16, he decided to leave school in order to really focus on his music -- a choice of which his mom and dad weren't too keen. His parents kicked him out of the house, leaving him to live in his car for a few weeks. "My parents were like, 'Chris, you're stupid.' [They were] just trying to teach me a lesson by kicking me out, being good parents," he says.
Things were rough -- he had nowhere to sleep but hotel parking lots and the occasional friend's house, and he didn't have access to a shower -- but Christofer Drew made the best of the situation to prove a point. He spent his days writing songs on his guitar and interacting with his growing fanbase via MySpace, which his parents soon noticed. In 2009, he was signed to Warner Bros. Records.
"When I first started making music, I just played metal music and screamo," he tells us. "My parents were not into that at all because they didn't understand it. When I started writing love songs, a kind of a little more classic-driven sound, they really got into it and they started to understand where I was coming from."
Now, his family is his remote support system as he travels from city to city, playing shows and promoting his new album. On his way to JSYK's office and later, the Highline Ballroom -- where he was set to perform that night -- he stopped for lunch at a popular vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen. There, he ordered a meal of vegan sushi and brown rice. While it's easy to keep a vegan diet in New York City, it's not so simple to stick to it during the days on the road during a tour.
"At home, it's really awesome being a vegan 'cause I just go grab a whole bunch of stuff and fry it up and make it really gross," Christofer Drew says, laughing. "I just make awesome, greasy vegan food whenever I'm home."
At the end of a long day in the city, Christofer Drew wrapped things up at the Highline Ballroom. Before heading into the venue, he was friendly enough to say hello to fans who were waiting out for him in the cold. He then put on a live show complete with a strings section, in front of a sold out crowd -- but not before leaving Aol Music and JSYK a gift: a personalized, autographed note declaring his love for us.
'What Is Love' is available on iTunes, and Never Shout Never is currently on an acoustic tour with Carter Hulsey and the Denison. Christofer Drew tells JSYK he's always writing new songs - "I'm totally into just, like, a constant flow of music" - and will likely release an EP or two before the next album, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Story by Ashley Iasimone, photo experience/shoot produced by Elizabeth Bruneau, photos by Alison Roberto and video edited by Tristan Waldroop