Photo courtesy artist

The Midwest has been represented by a collective of artists from different cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago. Meanwhile, St. Louis hometown hero Dre'Co continues to raise the bar for the area as he showcases himself as one of the most promising acts from the area. To hear more about his upbringing, goals, and plans for the future, be sure to read his full Q+A with Variance's Ethan Ijumba below.

Coming from St. Louis, there’s a new wave of artists from that area such as Smino, Dee Huncho, and 30 Deep Grimeyy. How would you describe being part of the new age of these new aspiring midwest artists?

Yeah shout out to them man. It's refreshing and super dope because it's showing that our city's musical imprint has been and will continue to be diverse! We all have a different sound and that's what makes me, being mentioned with those dope artists, so important. My music helps shed more light on our city because it's something different that's impactful and can positively influence the masses!

Having your hometown city of St. Louis support you as an artist, athlete, and just an individual of your community, how would you describe the city and what it means to you?

Man, my city is everything. I take pride in my city. One thing about me whenever I travel I love to let people know I'm from St. Louis. The city has been on a real dope development phase where new businesses and entertainment outlets are opening up. Lately, there's been a resurgence of music festivals which is bringing more attention to the homegrown talent in my city. Just know I always keep the STL hat on deck and packed when I travel. That brim is like a badge of honor in a sense.

Are there any artists that inspire you musically, your sound, and your persona artists-wise? Any specific songs, albums, artists, etc?

Yeah there are. I would definitely say Jay Z, H.E.R., Andre 3000, J. Cole, Jazmin Sullivan, and Drake just to name a few but there are others. Man, when it comes to songs I'm big on instrumentation, transitions, and things I like to call 'ear candy, you know, certain sounds that enhance a record even if it's not the most prominent in the song. Lately, I've been inspired by H.E.R.'s song 'We Made It' from the Back Of My Mind album (that live instrumentation is fire!), Big Sean's song Chaos, and J. Cole's 9 5 s o u t h. Album wise I always keep the artists I mentioned before in rotation and lately it's been Jay-Z’s American Gangster, J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, H.E.R.'s Back Of My Mind, and Nelly’s 'Heartland' (he forever pushing boundaries man and repping the crib and I appreciate Mo for that).

With Jay Z, Drake, Nelly among some of the artists you’ve influenced you in your career. As for dream collaborations are there any specific artists that you would one day want to work with?

Man, I think about it all the time. It would be real cool to collab with H.E.R., Jay Z, Nelly  Brandy, Mary J. Blige, and André 3000 to name a few.

Your recent album, Therapy Sessions, and single “Wit Me” were both released this past summer. Are there any plans that you have regarding upcoming music?

Oh yeah fasho fasho. Me and my producer—shout-out Martie Beatz—are always working on new music but right now I'm really focused on pushing Therapy Sessions because I want to line up some concerts at the top of the year (I have a show on Feb. 11th so we getting there)! I want to make sure that people who have been rocking with me for a minute and people who just getting put on to my music are ready to turn up with me when it's time to touch the stage!

On your album, you incorporate motivational themes through your music. Is there anything specific from your personal life that you get muse from when composing? 

Yeah most definitely! Whenever I write and record, my muse stems from my family and the urge to build generational wealth for my daughter (and my future kids if I’m blessed to have more). I've grown to be more vulnerable when I write so my struggles can be heard and felt. We all have things we go through in life and it feels good when people tell me they relate to something I experienced and even more so when they say it helped them overcome something in their life too.

Your latest video “Way Up” feat. Asia Major has recently featured BET Jams, what was the inspiration and mindset you had for the video?

The inspiration came from knowing that whatever obstacles you face you will overcome and conquer them, even when the situation seems out of reach or impossible in some people's eyes. I drew from some experiences I've encountered in pursuing my music career and I also drew inspiration from friends’ life experiences where they had to risk certain things to reach their personal goals. Shout out to my director Andrew Stephen who helped bring that mindset to life. The mindset was to show this in a way that was kind of out of the ordinary, a boxing match where one fighter is a woman and the other is a guy. Some people might have a preconceived notion of the outcome but it was a way for me to bring home that point I mentioned before. You can overcome anything even if it seems out of reach to others.

With that being said, what was the process when making the record? 

Man we were in a zone! Like most of my records, the process always comes organically. It typically starts off with conversations between me, my producer Martie Beatz and engineer Wes. We just talk, ya know? Talk about things we have been going through but also where we want to get to. While we were talking Martie started to cook up from scratch, you know, just playing with instruments and different sounds. Nothing was already made. From there I start to kind of hum the flow. Once I catch the cadence the words come. That always helps because I can always find myself and my pocket in a record when I listen to it as it's being created. Some people think it's different but I have heard other artists lock in like that too. But from there, I recorded and then went home and sat with it for some time (like a couple of weeks lol) because it was missing something. When we came back to the studio I remember us being like, "We need a singer on here!" First-person I knew who could get it done was Asia Major. That's the homie so I called her and she came through and did exactly what was needed on it! Once it was recorded we rearranged some things with the hook and it went time after that! And I'm glad it's being received well and is introducing more people to my music!

As for what’s next for you, do you have any specific plans or upcoming news that you can share for current and new listeners of your music?

Yeah fasho fasho, right now me and my team are deciding on which song will be the next music visual (we narrowed it down to two...Letter 2 Fam off my album Therapy Sessions or my record Wit Me). My fam Topp has some genius ideas for the record Wit Me and if that one is up next, he will be collabing with Andrew (the guy who directed Way Up). Closer to the end of March 2022 the goal is to have my concert at one of the new music venues in St. Louis. Man big things are planned for that so stay tuned!

Is there any particular impact that you hope to one day have as an artist or as an individual when it’s all said and done?

Sheeesh, that's a good question. As an artist I want my music to be life-changing for the better. When you listen to my music I want it to be felt not just heard, to a point where, once you realize your passion, you're motivated to execute and LIVE in your passion. And man as an individual I love to say "my passion can be someone else's blessing." And that goes for anybody. Once you realize your passion, in my mind it's imperative you achieve it, because you never know who's life you will positively change. I want my impact to be generational, not just seasonal ya know?