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Kanye West Discovers Upcoming Folk Superstar, Draven Riffe

Draven Riffe

Who Inspired you to make music?

My brother passed away from addiction earlier this year, and he told me before he died that through God I held the key to my own future. My brothers’ words, and Kanye West being supportive of my music gave me the fuel to enter a deep creative state and make music that was truly me.

What first got you into music?

 Technically I started “creating music” when I was a freshman in high school when I would freestyle for the older kids at parties, It was something that got me a little bit of recognition around the school and became kind of a joke because my rhymes were often pretty funny and ridiculous, I would just ramble off the first things that come to mind so whatever came out was what came out. Later  in my second year of college I was super broke and I felt like I needed to find some hobbies that didn’t involve spending money, so I bought a cheap fender guitar from a pawn shop near my house. I started learning and writing songs on the guitar, eventually I got into videography and started making music videos for other musicians and I really got inspired by their lifestyle and the fact that they were getting to travel and make money doing what they loved, which was music. Later in college I used student loans to buy a camera and a laptop, I started a little business making men’s grooming products that I would hustle into barbershops, I worked on that for about 3 years and I had a falling out with my older business partners, so to deal with that hurt I dropped out of college , made a few songs that I could send to bars, booked some shows, and hit the road in my barely running Jeep Liberty with 230k miles on it, singing songs and living off of whatever the little small town bars would pay me.

What is one message you would give to your fans?

 Do what you would do if no one else in the world was watching, and make what you would make if you were free of the cares of the world and money was not an issue, go hungry, go broke, breakdown on the side of the road and make the best of it, laugh at heartache and heartbreak, write your will early so that you can live everyday like it is your last.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

I would be a coal miner like all of my ancestors have been, weed eating hillsides for people, doing odd jobs, working construction or something, all stuff that honestly I love doing anyways, and certainly fishing, but it is hard for me to know how my mental state would be, because I know I have been called to music, therefore it really isn’t my decision anyways, this path was already created for me, it is just my job to stay true and not mess it up or forget my roots.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

 I would describe my music as an open book, without genre or category, it is inspired by the good times, the bad times, the haters, past and present lovers, my personal vices, but most of all, God.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

 I would love to make a song with Kanye, he hinted to me that something like that might happen when he told me that my music was “fire” but he ran for president a week later, so I know the timing back then wasn’t right, but I believe it is coming. I would also love to do a song with Billie Eilish or Post Malone. I want to do some features with some rappers on some of my projects, I have some in mind already, but honestly it comes down to whoever wants to put their full heart into the songs and go as hard as they can, I want passion in the projects I am involved in.

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?

 I want up and coming artists and creators to see that you do not have to base your musical style or at on your environment, I want people to create as if they were the last person on earth. When you make music trying to fit into a certain category or trend, I think that limits the spirit of the creation and can take away from something that could end up truly special. I started music as a freestyler, I did it for fun and I will always create music with that same free spirit, no song I ever do will be calculated or designed, it will always be free, off the cuff, and something that felt right in the moment when me and my friends around me created it, I don’t think music should be hard or complicated, it should come easy and should embrace imperfection.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

 My mother told me to stop caring what people think, and my producer Brandon Manley also told me that if I have been given certain talents that it would be an injustice not to try and spread my music to the world, he said that I reminded him a lot of Mac Miller, one of his favorite artists, so that was really inspiring to me that he said that, considering he is a hit record producer and one of the most talented and hardest working people I know.

Which favorite musicians do you most admire?

My childhood favorites were The White Stripes, Blink 182, and Sublime, I loved the openness and transparency of their songs and the way listening to them made me feel. During middle school the Young Money Crew with Lil Wayne and Drake were absolutely killing it and they put out some of my favorite songs to date. Kanye West, T.I., Kid Cudi, and Wiz Khalifa were definitely my favorites as well. In early college I really fell back in love with bluegrass music and especially the Ole Brother Where Art Thou album that my mom used to play in the car as a kid, I also felt really inspired by Tyler Childers when my cousin showed me some of his songs that sounded like he wrote them about our lives, growing up in the little coal towns in West Virginia. Recently, I have really gotten into Noah Kahan, Post Malone, an indie alt pop band from Canada called daysormay, Daya, benny blanco, Justin Bieber, Oliver Tree, and Billie Eilish. I also enjoy some of the EDM guys like Point Point, Flux Pavilion, Mike Posner, Point Point, Bassnectar, Skrillex, and The Chain Smokers.


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