FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY
Country Singer / Songwriter
“I’m a relentless optimist,” says Drake White. “I’ve always been a glass half full guy.”
Given the challenges of present-day life, that outlook has been known to earn the occasional eye roll. But if ever an artist had the vantage point, the experience, the pure street cred to make it believable, then turn it into an album as powerful as his life story, it is Drake.
Nearly three years after a congenital condition led to a stroke that paralyzed his left side and nearly killed him, Drake’s release of THE OPTIMYSTIC is a statement of strength and resilience sure to speak to the survivor in each of us and inspire us all to reach for our best selves.
The epic journey Drake has undertaken—and the recovery that is still underway—has produced an album that announces his re-emergence as one of our finest singers and songwriters, a musical statement destined to change lives and hearts. It is also a fitting touchstone for a nation and world re-emerging from the shadow of the pandemic and political and social turmoil.
THE OPTIMYSTIC is, above all, a musical declaration of renewal. Its cornerstones are two songs that grew out of the period of reflection and recuperation that followed the debilitating hemorrhagic stroke in August 2019 during a performance in Roanoke, Virginia, then hospitalization, surgeries, and a slow and painful rehabilitation. “Hurts the Healing,” which begins, “Maybe tears don’t fall for nothing,” acknowledges the stinging pain of loss, then goes on to find the seeds of growth and
redemption within it. “Giants” looks at life’s stumbling blocks, from heartbreak to addiction, and sees them as springboards— “But they don’t know they’re turning underdogs to lions/So bring on those giants.”
Through it all, THE OPTIMYSTIC speaks of hope and perseverance forged in the fire of life, wearing the kind of depth and power only overcoming can give.
It is a story Drake knows well. His in-concert collapse came as he was being treated for an arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of veins and arteries disrupting blood flow in his brain. He knows it could have happened weeks earlier, when he was overseas playing for troops, or in a remote part of the country, far from the lifesaving care he needed.
Refusing to succumb to fear and self-pity, he set a series of goals. Just standing took six weeks. Taking his first steps took months. Then, there was slow, methodical, moment-at-a-time recovery. Music was a key element.
He wrote songs on Zoom—some of Nashville’s finest are cowriters on the project, including Chris DeStefano, Allison Veltz Cruz, Phil O’Donnell, Eric Paslay, and Randy Montana—and after a few months was well enough to plan live online events, utilizing the barn he and his wife had converted into a music hall and calling the sessions Wednesday Night Therapy, “because that’s exactly what it was, an extension of my therapy.”
The man who had won and lost two label deals before this latest challenge just dug deeper. The songs that garnered the best reactions from audiences during Wednesday Night Therapy sessions became Drake’s album-in-the-making.
“I’ve been through the wringer, twice, and I know everybody has their problems. I just want people to see them as an inspiration to keep going, keep punching. You do your best, live your best life because there’s a higher power guiding you. Don’t get stuck in what the news is saying. It’s a great life. Go do your thing.”
And most of all he is happy, after his return to the road was further delayed by Covid, to be touring again with his band.
Seldom has a fire in the belly burned hotter.
COME CELEBRATE WITH US AT THE LATE-NIGHT PARTY STARTING DIRECTLY AFTER THE DISCOVERY BALL PROGRAM!
9:45PM NIKO MOON & ADAM DOLEAC TAKE THE STAGE
11:00PM MAGGIE SPEAKS PERFORMS
12:30PM LATE-NIGHT PARTY ENDS
DJ STEVE SMOOTH
Adored by crowds worldwide, Steve Smooth has showcased his skills in over 30 countries, delivering performances at more than 200 shows in the previous year alone. Steve’s talent as a DJ is only matched by his proficiency as a producer/remixer, with releases on esteemed labels including Ultra Records, Ministry of Sound, Spinnin’ Records, Republic, and Atlantic Records.
With five full-length albums to his name, Steve has achieved multiple #1 records on Beatport.com, even earning the distinction of having the very first song ever sold on the platform. Collaborating with DJ Bam Bam under the alias Dirty Werk,
Steve has recently remixed projects for a star-studded lineup, including Martin Garrix, Janet Jackson, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, Ariana Grande, Mark Ronson, Camila Cabello, Bebe Rexha, Kygo, and Bad Bunny. Their latest original releases, “Stand Up” and “No Letting Go,” soared to #1 on the prestigious Billboard Dance Club Chart, along with having an additional 15 #1 remixes.
Steve also proudly serves as the official DJ for the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Blackhawks, cementing his position as a trusted entertainer for renowned sports teams.
Come Celebrate with us at the Late-Night Party starting directly after the Discovery Ball Program!
9:30 PM : DRAKE WHITE TAKES THE STAGE
10:30 PM : DJ STEVE SMOOTH PERFORMS
12:00 AM : LATE-NIGHT PARTY ENDS