Determined. Revolutionary. Unstoppable. These are fitting words to describe Dru, the R&B/Soul/Dance/Pop singer & songwriter who has just released his second solo album, On The Brink (Effortless Entertainment/Universal Music Canada).
On The Brink's musical offering ranges from
"A soulful vibe comes through in everything I do," says Dru, whose musical influences include Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Jodeci, and Stevie Wonder.
Dru's first solo album, The One, which was released in 2008 (Morojele Music Group), earned critical acclaim, including 3.5 out of 4 stars from the Toronto Star newspaper. The first three singles, "The One", "Stay with Me (Always)", and "Seasons" garnered strong chart positions at CHR/Top 40 and Hot AC radio stations across Canada. To promote the album. Dru toured extensively across Canada, as well as, in Japan and the U.K. where he established a solid fan base. The One was also released in Japan on JVC.
Born Andrew Omar Grange, Dru grew up in the Parkdale area of Toronto along with his three older brothers, where the qualities of dedication, perseverance, and solid work ethic were instilled by his mechanic father and nurse mother.
After years of developing his vocal talent, Dru's early success came during his time as lead singer of the R&B group In Essence, whose debut album The Master Plan earned a JUNO Award, MuchMusic Award, and a SOCAN #1 Award (for the club hit, "You Will Never Find") in 2004.
After the group parted ways in 2007, Dru's artistic reinvention was bolstered by a tiny, but powerful source - his daughter and biggest supporter, now 6, to whom he credits being the engine behind his drive to make it as a solo artist.
Although he enjoyed the group dynamic of In Essence, and the special moments shared with his fellow group members, and friends since high school, Smooth, Pops, Que and Touch, Dru is now well-settled into his comfort-zone as a solo artist.
"I'm really enjoying being able to put out my own vision and my own sound -- my own voice," says Dru. "I love that I can now express how I feel as an individual, from lyrics and melody to the whole image that I'm putting out there. I'm really excited about this phase of my career."
Working with a team of hit-making songwriters and producers on the tanjola Brand Partners roster motivated Dru to take his talent to a new level and increased his desire to reach a broader audience, both as a singer and as a songwriter.
Dru demonstrated his versatility as a vocalist when he was featured on Doman & Gooding's high-energy Dance hit single, "Runnin" in 2009, which earned him a JUNO nomination for "Dance Recording of The Year".
Songwriting ace Rupert Gayle (Shiloh, Keshia Chanté, Shawn Desman), super-producer Alex Greggs (*NSYNC, Britney Spears, Shakira), and platinum songwriter Evan Bogart (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jason Derulo) co-wrote a number of tracks for On The Brink.
"With this album, I definitely had to take some chances, but that's what being an artist is all about," says Dru. "I've expanded my sound from straight Soul/R&B to include a Dance/Pop vibe that's still rooted in R&B. This has been key to me staying relevant and growing as an artist, while still delivering the soulful music that my core fans know me for."
On The Brink has been a long time coming, and Dru is ready for the world to finally know who's Dru!