If you were to base first impressions on his charm and well-kept looks, you might expect Dru Chen to peddle the K-Pop sounds of Seoul. Conversely, from hearing the first few notes that leap from his throat, you’ll discover the spirited magnetism of a Memphis soul performer from the ’60s. An indie-funk fusion that takes the listener on a top-down drive through feel-good effervescence, bluesy toe-tappers, and quiet contemplation, Dru’s music is a marriage of two worlds: the brand of indie/folk pop championed by singer-songwriters, and the deep roots of funk and soul that stem from rhythm and blues.
Diving into music from an young age, Dru’s keen interest in mastering musicality saw him commanding a wide array of instruments at an accelerated pace. Commandeering songwriting duties in bands throughout his teenage years, Dru’s career as a leader picked up speed in Brisbane, Australia at the nascent age of 17, when after joining a 12-piece casino band as its guitarist, he was soon tasked with steering the ship as the band’s musical director.
Thrown into a trial by fire in the form of a catalogue stretching from the ’50s to the present day, Dru quickly learned compositions by everyone from The Temptations to The Brand New Heavies off by heart. Despite rock and indie greats informing his formative years, he had now found love in the unbridled groove of soul and its offshoots.
Earlier in the year on July 27, Dru gave the world a peek into Mirror Work with its lead single, “Distant Memory,” which showcases Dru’s formidable musical craftsmanship and a keen sense of pop sentimentality. Now with the brand new single “When I Look Into Your Eyes” that’s produced by Dru and recorded in the studio live in one take, Dru is taking his raw and gritty funkedelic blues romp even further.
Says Dru, “My whole life I’ve pushed people away for fear of being judged. I numbed myself from the pain of social isolation by escaping with music. Recently, dramatic life changes urged me to reconnect. It started with my mother, who I grew up so close to. It led to my partner, who I will marry. It evolved into my compassion and reverence for humanity.
Everybody grapples with their past, and with prejudice. To know someone is to know empathy. This song is about connecting with people.”