Interview: Rising R&B Star Drew Vision Is Laser-Focused On Manifesting His Dreams
Drew Vision is a walking testament to the power of intention. One decade into his career, the “Sanctify” singer is renewed in purpose and committed to the process. “Music is basically consuming my entire life, and that’s what I wanted,” he says. “That’s what it takes. You can’t part time nothing with this.”
Né Andrew McCreary, the Queens native is clad in a black crew neck and adorned with specks of gold. His signature curly fro is tucked into two cornrows for the day, but the model’s boldest statement isn’t fashion-related. Mere minutes after settling into VIBE’s New York City headquarters, he and his manager Ron King make it clear that 2017 is his year. There’s no hoping or wishing with this two-man entourage. They speak as if it is already so, and it’s to that practice that Vision is basking in the biggest moments of his career.
Though secure in his voice more times than not— “I’d get into debates real quick about certain ideas I didn’t agree with or felt strongly about and my friends would be like, ‘here Drew Vision go,’’ he says of his stage name’s genesis—he wasn’t always a master of foresight. Somewhere between his humble beginnings in church, where he performed before crowds as early as five years old, and the release of his first two mixtapes (2011’s 20/20 and 2013’s The Doldrums), his full-time dream chase slowed to a crawl.
The onetime Vocal Performance major dropped out of Five Towns College after two years to make his mark in the industry but switched lanes to meet the demands of life. “I was modeling and making really good money on my own at the time, and I just felt like this one Lays commercial can pay my rent for the next couple of months, so for me music wasn’t the way to make it anymore.”
With Pepsi and Coach campaigns etched on his résumé, Vision takes pride in being a multihyphenate but it was only a matter of time before his first love returned to its rightful place. A third album on his heart, the Los Angeles transplant headed back to the Empire State and called on King, a longtime friend of his mom, for a place to rest his head and record The Balance.
After watching him piece the project together in his Midtown apartment, the then-Senior Vice President at Time Inc. agreed to help Drew cement his brand under the condition that every move would count toward his goal of becoming a household name.
The wins to follow poured in like a serendipitous storm. After making an impression on Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca at his album release party, he would hit the stage at Essence Fest 2016 and exit in tears under the magnitude of the milestone. Following a shout out from renowned Hollywood casting director Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd, he would be offered his first movie role with a major studio. And then there’s BET offering to premiere the self-funded artist’s newest music video, “Without You.”
The song, produced by Swedish producer Chris Wahle, is a fresh start of sorts for Drew Vision, and an opportunity for new fans to get familiar as his star rises to unprecedented heights. Blending Caribbean and pop influences with his core sound, the entertainer is all for coloring outside of the lines while keeping the soul of rhythm and blues intact and tips his hat to Miguel and Bruno Mars for proving it can be done. “Since my first album, I didn’t know which way to go,” he says. “I was always stressed like, ‘Should I be like pop R&B? Should I be like soul R&B?’ and I don’t even want to put a title on it.”
Enticed by the clear blue seas of Barbados, Vision headed to the land of “Pride and Industry” to film his video and took on the role of creative director, producer, stylist and talent scout. He not only recruited a local videographer, but also coached his leading lady—whom he spotted in a local beauty salon—through her first-ever shoot. He later edited the visual on his own.
“Being independent has been working for me,” he muses. As far as he can see, going major is not a priority unless his creative control isn’t on the chopping block. “I’m definitely more interested in partnerships and doing an imprint deal.”
As his dreams come into fruition one by one, the side effects of success aren’t lost on the entertainer. “I’ve shot a ton of music videos that never came out. I’ve spent a lot of money, and I’ve been robbed,” he reveals as he touches on how one graphics editor cheated him out of $2500 he raised through Kickstarter.
His circle has also gotten smaller. “People do not want to see you do better than them. I thought that was just a saying or just for extreme haters, but people who love you sometimes don’t want to see you doing better than them. That’s scary.” And yet, Vision isn’t thrown off course.
He thinks back to catching Tina Knowles’ attention on the set for Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had” music video where he filled in as a groomsman last minute. “She told me, ‘You have something, and I don’t tell that to everybody, so no matter what anybody says, keep pushing for whatever you want to do.'”
He remembers the imprint his heroes, from the late Donny Hathaway and Luther Vandross to Stevie Wonder and Usher, made on his life. When he spotted the Hard II Love singer at a party, he couldn’t fathom missing the opportunity to thank him personally and rave about his Master Class. “I don’t really get star struck at all, but he’s like a legend to me because most of my idols are gone.”
Then he reflects on his opportunity to change lives. “What motivates and keeps me going is knowing that what I’m doing is going to help other people and not just me.” Moving his mother out of her studio apartment sits at the top of his list.
And most of all, standing firm in faith over luck has proven to be his best combat against obstacles seen and unseen. “Whenever I stop praying because I’m too busy or worried about me, everything is idle,” he explains. “If you remember that God is the reason why you’re doing what you do, I feel that’s when the underlying blessings come in.”