APEX Hour at SUU

10/22/20: ThatViolaKid - musician and entrepreneur Drew Forde

Episode Summary

The acclaimed violist and entrepreneur Drew Forde joins host Lynn Vartan to talk about the power of music, the state and future of the music business and what makes classical composer like Brahms & Ravel special and relevant today.

Episode Notes

Video and other resources from this presentation can be found on the A.P.E.X. website at:


Episode Transcription


Lynn Vartan: Hey everyone, this is Lynn Vartan and you are listening to the APEX Hour on KSUU Thunder 91.1. In this show, you get more personal time with the guests who visit Southern Utah University from all over, learning more about their stories and opinions beyond their presentations on stage. We will also give you some new music to listen to and hope to turn you on to some new sounds and new genres. You can find us here every Thursday at 3pm or on the web at suu.edu/apex, but for now, welcome to this week's show, here on Thunder 91.1.



Lynn Vartan: Okay, everyone. Well, welcome in to the APEX Hour. What a cool day it is. We're here today talking about music. And I, you know, that's something that is so near and dear to my heart. And we've just been celebrating the demystification of classical music, and my guest today is the APEX guest for this week and that is the violist and classical music sensation, Drew Forde. Welcome to the studio, Drew!



Drew Forde: Hi! Sensation, oh stop! Thank you!



Lynn Vartan: Come on! Take it, live it, breathe it, love it!



Drew Forde: So, sensation, man. That is a superlative I'd never thought would be associated with me, so thank you.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah, cool. And then I'm just going to see if you can give me a little bit more gain. I've got you boosted up as far as I can hear. That would be amazing. 



Drew Forde: Sure. How's that? Is that better?



Lynn Vartan:Great, sweet. Thank you.



Drew Forde: These Shure SM7B [microphones], like they have such low gain. Anybody with a cloud lifter sometimes just don't have enough signal. So I just don't want to peak your system.



Lynn Vartan: No, you won't. I could even use more.



Drew Forde: How's that, is that, is that good?



Lynn Vartan: Even better.



Drew Forde: Cool.



Lynn Vartan: Awesome. So we're talking about classical music. And I just wanted to dig in. We're live on air. And so some people may not know a little bit about your story, and if you could give us just a little snapshot of how you came to be, and a lot of people know you had that Instagram sensation, YouTube sensation, but tell us just a little bit about how you got from there to here.



Drew Forde: Well, um, It's kind of crazy because it seems like it's been a while now. I started playing when I was 12 years old. I was in sixth grade. Previously in fifth grade, I'd been in chorus and band. I was in chorus in fourth grade and always had music classes in the school. From when I was in [preschool], I went to a really nice elementary school, Peachtree City Elementary. We had a music teacher named Mrs. Groover, perfect name, right? So Mrs. Groover was always teaching us about music, always having this clap and sing, and But it was just, they gave us recorders, you know, but it wasn't giving me like the tools that I felt that I needed. I learned how to read music through that class. I learned how to feel and count rhythm, but I didn't like, I wasn't given an instrument. So I was in fifth grade, and that was really annoying to me because I wanted to instrument as soon as I saw one.



Lynn Vartan: In your blood from the get go.



Drew Forde: Yeah, but it took a while. It was delayed gratification. So sixth grade came around and I finally got, you know, the original instruments that I kind of wanted to play were in band. It was earlier in my life. So I had an opportunity at earlier access, but you know, I was told that my lips were too big to play flute. I couldn't really make a sound from a trumpet or clarinet or a saxophone and so you know, kind of gave up on wind instruments and I was just like, "Let me just hit stuff," so I did percussion, but it wasn't my passion and wasn't really like the part of me that felt like it was able to sing in a way that I felt like my soul wanted to sing. And so when I had the opportunity to do strings, I jumped on that opportunity because I always felt like my soul was singing it wasn't, it wasn't like bumping.



Lynn Vartan: Well, you know, one of the things that I think is mystifying to people is, what is the life of a professional musician. I mean, you and I know that being professional musicians-




Drew Forde: It sucks.



Lynn Vartan: Well, I think every job does, you know, and as much as we are so lucky to be passionate about what we do, you know, there's challenges too. So I'd love for you to tell me, you know, kind of, what are some of the great joys for you in being a professional musician and also what are some of the most challenging things?



Drew Forde: The thing that I love most about music is it, it allows me to live my life in a way that I get money by making people's days better. Like one thing, my really good friend from Juilliard. He's a, he's a wonderful, magnificent writer, his name is John Hong. In one of his blogs, we were in school once said, "People work nine to five to make a living, but our job is to make five to nine worth living."



Lynn Vartan: Oh, I love that.



Drew Forde: Yeah, and so it's like a the bar of a century. And I was like, "That's so true." So that's equally valid. But if you're going to make people's lives from five to nine worth living, those are weird hours. People are usually turned off during that time. So your hours immediately, like for people who don't know like, musician hours are completely different from yours. Okay, we're on demand to be available at 9pm and perform until one in the morning, so y'all can boogie. And then we got to go to sleep. We all sleep sometime. Musicians tend to like wake up, I'm like, naturally, especially gigging musicians and like, jazz musicians people work super late, that waking up at like 10, 11 that's normal, right, especially DJ and producers who are doing clubs and doing the late night touring scene. Yeah, they don't wake up before noon. And that's just normal. You just got to deal with it but I, the thing I love and to answer your question, because I'm going off on a tangent, like I just love how I get to exchange my time my limited a noble amount of time on this earth. I love sharing it with people for money in the exchange of like making their life happier and more vibrant and full.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah, I love that too. What's hard about it and in your eyes and your perspective right now, what, what are the challenges of being a professional musician?



Drew Forde: Everything else. Everything else is hard about it. There's nothing easy about it. Like that's the thing, it's like every day is like, you wake up and it's a mission, even if you take a day off. That could be a catastrophic failure in your part because you could miss out on an opportunity and like the more tenuous your situation is and financially or just schedule wise every day off, feels like torture sometimes. What I find is to kind of save that away. It's good to have some financial security so you can take time, but often musicians, the worst part about it is you never have a day off, no zero days. Like you don't get weekends, you don't get holidays, you don't get this, you don't get that, because you have to work and you have to build and you have to grow and you have to change and you have to market and you have to all these other things that people don't really understand about what is required for us to be on stage performing the magic.



Lynn Vartan: That's absolutely so true. And you know it is, you're always you're always on in some way. I mean, you could add that that old adage, you can always be practicing, you can always be networking, you can always be, and one of the things that I was curious about it is is this something that you came to find out? And I know that when you when you mentioned when you're in school, you know, maybe you struggled a bit and and weren't as motivated and as driven and so tell me a little bit about that realization and thinking how helpful that can be, especially to students, because you know I have students tell me all the time, like, "Oh, I want to compose for video games" and "I want to do this" and "I want to do that," and I think that's amazing, but I just don't know if everybody realizes what it, what it takes. So how did you come to find that out?



Drew Forde: Well, it was early on. It was like the social media move was the realization. It was like no, wait a minute. You have to. This is your job. It's like, this is your passion, you now have to treat it like it's a job. And you can fire yourself. You know what I mean, like you have to give yourself permission and I told myself, "If I don't really make any substantial gains, I'm willing to sacrifice everything, I'm willing to sacrifice love, I'm willing to sacrifice financial, like expect like expedience like better, easier job doing something." I hate I'm willing to sacrifice a respect-like cultural respect among among my peers, because whenever you're building anything from the ground up, people always look at you funny because yes, you look funny and you look awkward and you don't know what you're doing and everybody knows it, especially you. And people comment. So it's like, how do you, it's all of these different things with every musician whenever you're starting your career, you don't, you don't have the performance experience. So you make the mistakes, you make all these crazy different mistakes. Everybody's looking at you being like, "You sure you don't want to just get a real job?" You have, those are all of the entry points and all the negative things that you have to like, get through in the beginning. And so I told myself I would accept all of that for 10 years and if after 10 years, nothing happens, "You're fired. Get a real job." But that was just, that time limit like, put a fire under my butt to really live up to the expectations, like always arriving on time early if possible. Well, make mistakes. So it's just better when you make your mistakes that it's just a one time thing, a legendary occurrence was like, "Yeah I remember though like 12 years ago, there was this one moment that he was late." You know you want to. You want to have that reputation, right, where it's like, once in a decade mistakes. So just accepting those things and just really working hard was like how I shifted from that kind of insecure place. It was just the mindset change. That's all it is, just a mindset change.



Lynn Vartan: 100% agree. Thank you. Well, let's get into some music, and you have a couple of original works and original pieces online and we definitely want to make sure to tell people where to find them. But let's listen to them. I have "Duality" queued up. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about that track.



Drew Forde: Yeah, "Duality" is the first ever rap song I ever created. And it shows, but what it's about is just a general auto-biographical, braggadocio-type flow and in lyric narrative that like really kind of conveys like where I'm from, what I'm trying to do, what I'm about. And yeah, I hope you enjoy. I wrote it all in Japan and when I was visiting Japan.



Lynn Vartan: Oh my gosh. Cool. Alright, well this artist is Drew Forde and you can find him on a Spotify as ThatViolaKid and the song is called "Duality" and you're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1.



Lynn Vartan: Alright, everyone. Well, welcome back to the APEX Hour. This is our time you are listening to. The song you just heard is titled "Duality" and the artist I posted on Spotify is ThatViolaKid. And we know ThatViolaKid is Drew Forde is here in the studio with us. Welcome back.



Drew Forde: What's good?



Lynn Vartan: That song, we were just talking about the story behind it and and just the power of the duality in it, you know, you have classical music references, references to Juilliard. You have risque language a bit because it's really to who you are and your story and things that have happened and people who influenced you in a bad way. In some cases, do you want to comment anymore on that sense of duality and how it came out in the music?



Drew Forde: Well, I will. It's hard to like, come up with new ideas like, I see as are so hard, and for me. Music has always been a very, the generation of original music has always been a very hard and difficult thing for me to do because my whole training and relationship with music has been transactional in that I can read a piece of music. I can deliver this sound. Just tell me what to do. That part of my brain of being able to follow directions, but to be a leader and create your own original music is has always been a block for me. So the only thing that I could really like, latch on to in the moment when I was forcing myself to write music. Finally, was this idea of I'm this classically trained dude who loves Brahms, Shostakovich, and Ravel and I'm trying to make hip hop, even though like I came from an upbringing that was not necessarily the same as the originators of hip hop. I didn't, I came up in suburban lifestyle, you know, But I didn't want to co-opt the off the art form without, without being, well, being disrespectful. So I was like, "How do I, how do I balance the two? How do I as a classical musician really live in the duality between classical and hip hop and how do I give respect for this art form that I love, but I haven't really, I don't have the typical experience of it, and how do I do that in a way that is authentic and real?"



Lynn Vartan: You mentioned authenticity. And I think that's a thread that you've been so dedicated to and and that authenticity itself and being true to yourself in so many ways. And, um, I just wonder if that, is that very comfortable now? Is that still scary at times? I can imagine that there's a vulnerability that comes along with that, that is very scary sometimes.



Drew Forde: It's scary all the time. It's scary all the time, because like every time you you show that you're vulnerable you give people So if you like slice right here, that'll do it, right?



Lynn Vartan: Yeah. Right on your neck.



Drew Forde: I'm sorry. Sorry, I was pointing to, like, the vein or carotid artery. Like here, this will be a good place if you want to hurt me. And I think that takes a lot of strength and a lot of people perceive that as arrogance. A lot of people will perceive that as whatever they want to perceive it, but I think that's what prevents people from wanting to be fully authentic. It lets people hide behind perfection. It lets people hide behind all these other things that can maybe shield them from ultimately what could be a potential, potential ostracization society which is everybody's deepest fear.



Lynn Vartan: Hiding behind perfection. I love the sound of that. I feel like that scares me a bit, you know, being someone who tries to be perfect too, I think about that a lot. You know, and what tools do you use to sort of fight that vulnerability? Do you just stay true and not worry too much about failure? I know you've talked on another podcast about failure, being part of the process and not being afraid of that. Is that the way?



Drew Forde: I think it's a combination. I think it's, it's a cocktail of many different supplements and things like that. So part of it is the failure. I think failure is not just a part of the process. And I think, "Stop saying that." I think it's an ingredient of success like, can't have it. Without it, like, because failure means not, it doesn't mean you're bad or wrong, it means you did something right, it means you went out and you actually spent time and you actively did something. Whereas, like if you want to avoid failure, you could just like not do anything but when you don't do anything, time passes you by and then the pain of that compounds over and over and over into this idea of regret, because we're not living to be our most self-actualized self. And I think that that's a struggle that everybody has to deal with. So that fear of failure is actually just the wrong thing to have. It's not, the failure is inevitable, and you need to just accept it and then the moment that you can kind of do that and realize that then authenticity, it just becomes a matter of being who you are. being passionate about what you're really passionate about and being unapologetic about it. And then just kind of accepting whatever comes your way.



Lynn Vartan: I love it. That's great. Well, you mentioned some classical composers and I want to get into classical music, a bit. So you are a fan, it sounds like, of Shostakovich, Ravel,you mentioned. What do you love about Brahms? What is it about Brahms and I'm going to ask about Shostakovich and Ravel too, and like, what is it about those guys, and let's start with Brahms. Why do you love Brahms?



Drew Forde: There's so much to love about Brahms. Brahms is the quintessential case study for imposter syndrome. Having really wanted to be a composer his entire life, he actually was unable to at first steady composition. His father, who was a failing musician in Hamburg, he just got by, he was not that good. But he was like the only bassist, so they're like, "I guess we're going to have Johann Jacob come through and give us some beats," right? But little young Brahms wanted to be like his dad and like, be a musician, but he wanted to compose music, like that was a deep passion, so Johann Jacob put him in piano lessons because he was like, "composers don't make money," you know, then this is like 1839 or so. Yes, Brahms's around six or so, and what's so crazy is like he was taking these piano lessons as a child. And he was eventually starting to get kind of good at piano, but he wanted to get good at piano, so he could compose more, like, that was still his driving force. And eventually he started getting a teacher, helping him compose, but his father was like "Okay, kid," like, looking to try and compose and trying to like learn piano and stuff. "These are kind of expensive. These lessons are expensive. So you're gonna have to start paying for them yourself, so get a job, 12 year old." So when he was between ages 10 and 12, I forget exactly when he started, he started performing piano music in brothels for sailors. Yes Hamburg is a port city, so they had a lot of pubs and brothels for the men that work at sea and Brahms, to make money to pay for his passion, would have to go and perform in these brothels and these men would sexually assault him. Brothel women would sexually assault him over and over, and well, and it destroyed his relationship with women for the rest of his life, he was able to connect with women. And yeah, it just kind of messed him up forever. So like these childhood traumas, he then took on forward in his life, and they manifested in insecurity about his compositions, insecurity about writing letters, insecurity about every aspect of who he was as a person, he was determined, ultimately, to kind of write the narrative of the type of person he was by eliminating, burning anything that wasn't perfect about him so that he would just be the legend, who is known for his music, not this kid who was systematically raped and abused as a child, you know what I mean? And so this whole thing manifested, even though he was lauded as the next Beethoven by Robert Schumann, "This is the guy." This is the successor to the great Germanic compositional tradition, you can't get higher praise than this, right? He still was burning for decades. His First Symphony, drafts of his First, countless, countless drafts were gone, and we don't know how good they were. They could have been dope, but when he was 40, he finally published his First Symphony, but he had been a composer for well over 22 years; he was the imposter syndrome. It was like this need for perfection that kind of destroyed, maybe an ascent in his career that could have happened 15 years sooner. So sometimes we're just our worst enemy. And that's why Brahms is one of my favorite composers because he's like all of us. They've, we all have our issues, our stuff that we have hung up that prevent us from being who we're supposed to be. And the key ingredient is getting through those emotional struggles and really addressing them so that we can be the most wonderful version of ourselves.



Lynn Vartan: Well with that, we have to listen to some Brahms' First Symphony. I have the First Symphony in C Minor. And of course, it's too long to play for our show, but I'll play about three or four minutes of it, so we can really feel, I mean, the power and-




Drew Forde: This opening. Oh, this opening just tells you everything you need to know about Brahms. 




Lynn Vartan: Absolutely! So with that, let's hear everything that you need to know about Brahms. This is Brahms' First Symphony in C Minor. And this is the opening of the first movement of that and you're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1.



Lynn Vartan: Okay, well, that gives you a sense of some Brahms. So that was again "Symphony No. 1 in C Minor," Opus no. 68, if you're interested. And that was the opening of the first movement of it. And you're listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1. I'm in the studio with ThatViolaKid, Drew Forde, and we're talking about classical music, and we just were talking about the power of Brahms and his tragic story that led to this amazing output of music that we have now representing the Romantic era. So welcome back Drew. Let's talk some more about composers. You also love Shostakovich and Ravel. Tell me why.



Drew Forde: Well, I'm, first, if I'm being very honest, it's because they write well for the viola. And that their music wasn't ever boring to me. Like one of the things about being a violist is oftentimes, that composers will just give you nothing to do. You're just filling in the harmony in the rhythm. 




Lynn Vartan: It's like playing the triangle. We know it as percussionists, also.



Drew Forde: No melodies, no melodies ever! We never get melodies, but with Ravel and Shostakovich, more of these composers like Brahms and in the latter 19th century, in the turn of the 20th century, viola was actually way more well received and way more highly thought of and the virtuosity of the players was beginning to reflect that, especially the end of the late 19th century, but the whole reputation before then still kind of like plays out today and all the viola jokes that exist like that. The counter example. Yeah. But anyway, Shostakovich specifically, I love his music. I love his story even more than some of his music because he was like the composer and a national composer and a place like the USSR, where they controlled every message that went out to the people, even the fine art, and he had to work under these kinds of conditions, so he had to get super crazy resourceful and cute and like smirky in the way that he composed music because Stalin couldn't know that he was making fun of him, right?



Lynn Vartan: Right, yeah. That's smirky.



Drew Forde: He was smirky, so he would have to write like, pieces for the Army or festivals and things like that. So he has this festive overture that's really fun to perform and it's really happy. Like, really, really, really happy. It's almost too happy. It's like "What are we really saying here?" We're smiling, but is it like a smile as we're raising the middle finger under the table like, and that's what it kind of feels like, and I love that and understanding that context creates a much more deep relationship with his music because his chamber music is way more real because that's not what was really played in the courts; that was the stuff that people played. And so he was way more of like the hip hop, if you're doing the hip hop comparison, he was way more NWA, And it's way more abstract. and 



Lynn Vartan: Yeah, the quartets are totally different than other music.



Drew Forde: The hardest thing, the hardest string quartet piece of ever performed is his 12th string quartet in D flat major. It is the third movement of that is nuts. Absolutely, and I can't even believe I played that piece of music and I learned it in like, three weeks. It was, it was the most terrifying thing ever.



Lynn Vartan: Now, what about Ravel? I mean, Ravel's so different than Shostakovich and Brahms. What is it about Ravel? Is it the impressionist quality? The bit of jazz that's in it? What is it about Ravel?



Drew Forde: So Ravel is a composer that I haven't read much about, but as a performer and as a musician, I have not played a piece of music of his that I don't like and don't actually love. And I think it is a the quality of the harmony that's super different. It has the jazz elements which are already familiar with and love, and he uses jazz theory. So he's building seventh chords. He also uses the whole tone scale a lot and for me, the whole tone scale and playing around that creates this timeless stretching of or suspension of like, time it feels, or just in terms of what harmony means, the consonants and dissonance pull. It's like this neutral push and pull, so that makes me feel nostalgic for a time that I've never been to, you know, and I love. 



Lynn Vartan: Do you feel a bit, I mean, I know I sometimes feel that I could feel a bit like a time traveler, you know, when I play. Do you feel that it seems like you maybe feel that as well?



Drew Forde: I was sending like a YouTube video like five years ago that like- oh, excuse me. air quality in Los Angeles is terrible. Has me coughing because I wasn't open. My apologies. So what what I love what I said in that video that kind of like I didn't realize it until I said it was like being able to play music Shostakovich and Ravel and all These dudes who wrote stuff like 300, 200 years ago, they would have never thought about a black kid from Peachtree City, Georgia connecting with them on a daily basis, and they feel like friends, they feel like real people who existed, and I get to be a part of their story.



Lynn Vartan: I love that. And that's the key to bringing classical music to the wider audience, you know, but how do we do that on a global level? I mean, You're doing it as an individual. I'm trying to do it as an individual, but how do we, how do we make that into a time where the storytelling that connection across the hundreds of years across the centuries, how do we turn the tide? How do we do that for classical music?



Drew Forde: We have to we have to understand that the perspective of the Western cultured white man is not indicative. It's not the only experience of life. It's not the only point of view that matters. And so, but if you look at any lineup of any classical music performance in an institutional sense, that is exclusively who gets their stories told. So I think that is really alarming if you want to engage the entire world because most of the world is not a rich white man, you know?



Lynn Vartan: You believe classical music is for everyone and it's, and these, these feelings, you know, or the, we can make this connection to the feelings, we can explore feelings within feeling music as well. So how about that part of it?



Drew Forde: Well, I think that yeah, inherently, all music is for everyone. And that's like what is really cool about it. I think the the template and even though it has many flaws and the systems of how work was passed on, how work was inspired, who inspired Mozart, who inspired all these people that we never heard about may have been just like a person playing in a pub, who was a refugee from a far flung country of a different culture. Like we see the influences, one thing I really enjoyed about Bartok was that he kind of cited his sources and his music. His music had ethnically different people. Vaughan Williams is another example of a composer who really found even and this is what's so crazy is like Dvorak gets a big pat on the back in pedagogical history for being one of the only composers in history to really try to listen to Native American and African American music and put it in the Western classical tradition. So, but see, that's the thing. It's like the outliers. These are all outliers. When they, if you really want to connect, so I think it's more of a yes and situation. Yes, we should still give a basis because like, look, we can't go back in history, necessarily, let's try to mend whatever we can, what we do know, but we try to suppress in media and in the pedagogy, but we also have to take into consideration that a lot of that history was erased. So it's not what we can talk about the black Mozart in the same vivid detail as white Mozart. So what we need to do is move forward and understand how classical music plays a role in society, right, a role in pop culture and also mainstream culture and find a way. But we just have to understand that it'll never be huge. But we have to understand and intelligently place ourselves among culture in a way that is akin to the 21st century, because if we just try to like do ads in the newspaper forever, newspapers are going to disappear. At least in their current, in the form that we understand them. Well, physically, So I think that lack of adaptation is also the, it's how things die. I think that we just have to change the way that we disseminate it and we teach it.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah. Okay, great. That's very inspiring. Thank you so much. I think it's time for another one of your songs. So I have "Figure 8s of Heartbreak" and again, you can find this music on Spotify, ThatViolaKid, and also you can, of course, find material all over social media, ThatViolaKid. And please, definitely go and continue to support him in the years to come! Drew, tell us a little bit about "Figure 8s of Heartbreak."



Drew Forde: It was a another beat that I bought from a friend of mine. And just when I listen to the loop, it just made me feel this pull into the past like, it made me wonder about something that really could have been something beautiful, but it ended up not becoming and that was like a relationship with this girl I used to know and even so, it was like such a profound experience in my life that I, you know, I honestly really wasn't completely done with it in my heart, until I made the song. This song was really like a wonderful therapeutic experience of letting go and moving forward.



Lynn Vartan: Okay well, "Figure 8s of Heartbreak" and it's by ThatViolaKid. 



Lynn Vartan: Man, I love it. So that is "Figure 8s of Heartbreak" and the artist is ThatViolaKid and you can find it on Spotify. ThatViolaKid is Drew Forde and you're back here on the APEX Hour, listening to KSUU Thunder 91.1. Drew, I just, I mean, I love it. I just think it's awesome. That's so cool. And the lyrics are so powerful. I mean, you put a bit of her in every song. I mean, every note you play, wow!



Drew Forde: Always put a piece of you in everything you play.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah. That's a really important statement and then the viola work at the end. It's just so amazing. So it begs the question, what's next? Is it, are we getting a whole album coming? I hope so.



Drew Forde: I've been really searching for space. From the current see, what's so funny is like, when this whole COVID-19 thing happened, like I lost all of my anticipated income for the foreseeable future. So a lot of my time has been spent trying to figure out how do I continue to keep the lights on and the stress associated with that. Only since this month, I really been in a really inspired moment with music, and yet I just kind of hated music, I hated the idea of music. I felt like music had let me down, or because it couldn't keep me, at first, it couldn't really keep me feeling like I had dignity in society that I was able to, because the whole point of what I do is getting together with people and sharing it. So when you can't do that anymore, it's like, "Wow, that really wasted my life." It's the emotions that, but look, I've got my act together and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and I'm finding emotional space to write. So I'm actually, I have like three or four tracks I'm like, working on simultaneously. And I'm trying to start up some new music so I can just get enough body of work created so that I could drop an EP. I could drop a little project that nobody was expecting.



Lynn Vartan: I'll tell you, I'm excited. I hope you, I can't wait for doing more and I appreciate your vulnerability and talking about how this year has been, and I, I know you're not alone. I mean all of the arts world, all of us in one shape or form have felt this to some extent and I, I'm sure it can be very comforting to our any of our artists listening to hear you know that, that yeah, we're not alone, people are feeling these things and it's that powerful feeling that we had to go through this year and find our way out of as you have.



Drew Forde: My heart goes out to my fellow millennials, straight up. We had to take the housing crisis on the chin, and now we got to take this crisis on the chin. Yeah, keep, keep your chin up though like, we don't show everybody.



Lynn Vartan: Yeah, that's right, that's right, as you are, for sure. So we just have a couple minutes left. And really, I just have a couple of quick playful questions for you. So the question that I ask everyone is what's turning you on this week, and it can be anything. It doesn't have to be anything related to what we're doing. It could be a movie. It could be a TV show. It could be a book. It could be a magazine. It could be, we've had somebody say their favorite lipstick or a food item that they're loving or whatever. So my last question to you, Drew Forde, ThatViolaKid, is what is turning you on this week?



Drew Forde: I really wanted to be authentic. No, I'm gonna be authentic, but I'm not gonna say what I want to say because it's it's not something I'm going to talk about. What I will say is there is YouTube, there are a bunch of YouTube creators who've really changed like, my life and help inspire me to like, figure out the direction that I want to go now because I don't want to be a daily blogger anymore. Like, I love doing it and I loved how it was a medium for me to like learn how to make content, but it just felt like stuff people didn't really care about and like stuff that like I wanted to like, stop making. So it was like, a beautiful I just needed to figure something out. Johnny Harris, he is a journalist storyteller video creator who used to work for Vox. He used to run the Vox Borders series on YouTube. He's a wonderful storyteller and then just saw a video of his called "Why New York Is So Big." And the thing I love about him is, we're kind of kindred spirits in the fact that he's interested by simple things in the world, like questions kids would ask, like, "Why is the sky blue?" But then he breaks it down in such a fun way to where by the end of the video, you're like, oh, you can go and tell somebody else. I just love learning about things like that. So he goes through the history of how numeric was a Dutch colony and they paid $27 for the land and how Long Island is a bulwark to invasion and it's got deep ports very close to it. That also are connected freshwater through the noun. The Great, so all of these different factors that you didn't think about and I just named Johnny Harris. Adam Neil is another, David Bruce, the composer David Bruce is another one. Tons of music creators out there who are a little bad snacks. My girl bad snacks out there. So there's a ton of creators that I'm, I'm just really, really inspired by and that's what turns me on right now.



Lynn Vartan: Fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. Well, with that, we are done. So we'll say goodbye and enjoy. Drew, thank you so much. You've been so much fun.



Drew Forde: Thank you. Thanks for having me.



Lynn Vartan: Cool, thanks. All right. Well, with that, I'm going to sign off.



Lynn Vartan: Thanks so much for listening to the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1. You can find us again next Thursday at 3pm for more conversations with the visiting guests at Southern Utah University and new music to discover for your next playlist. And in the meantime, we would love to see you at our events on campus. To find out more, check out suu.edu/apex. Until next week, this is Lynn Vartan saying goodbye from the APEX Hour, here on KSUU Thunder 91.1.