“Being an artist in a foreign country is tough. I haven’t had the chance to connect with local musicians yet,” says Drew West (D.R) in an interview with LusakaVoice (L.V). LusakaVoice caught up with Drew West who shared his dreams about developing his musical talent working together with local Zambian artists.
L.V May you briefly introduce yourself
D.W My name is Drew West, I am from Colorado, USA. I write and release music under the name Oneheart. My wife and I moved to Lusaka in December, but I’ve lived in Lusaka before. I lived in the Chawama compound with Rev. Daniel Tembo of the CCAP church and his family in 2011. I really love Zambia and see that God is doing a lot here. I’m passionate about art and personal expression. I think being creative is a human need and I hope to grow together with the people of Zambia in personal expression and art.
Eventually, I would like to run programs that engage the community with art and the Gospel. I think art is an amazing gift from God and it can help humanity thrive and communicate with God and each other. I’m currently studying at Just Mwale University, my wife and I am loving our time here. We lead a youth group called ARK which is the student ministry of Lusaka Community Church.
L.V When did you start singing?
D.W I’ve been playing music most of my life. I started singing really when I was in grade 9. I had just started learning to play the guitar and someone thought it would be a good idea for me to lead worship! From that point, I started focusing on my singing and songwriting.
L.V Who or what inspired you to sing?
D.W There is an American band called P.O.D and I was into them at a young age. When I got my first CD player, I would put my head phones on and rock out! No one in my family growing up was really into singing besides my mom, she would burst out in song every now and again, especially to Motown music.
L.V To date how many singles have you released and when can we expect your 1st album?
D.W I’ve been writing my own music for almost 8 years now and I was able to release my first EP this past February, 2015. The EP is titled “Fooling Ourselves EP”. I’m always writing songs and I hope to release a full album in the next two years.
L.V How do you intend to expand or build your musical career in Zambia
D.W I think for starters, I’m looking to meet up with other musicians to play music with. It’s hard to know how people in Zambia will respond to my music, because it is different. My goal is to always release music that is honest and truthful. I want to write songs that encourage the Church to see God in all areas of life. To encourage us to seek God’s justice and peace for our broken world.
L.V What are some of the changelles you face as an artist in a foreign country?
D.W Being an artist in a foreign country is tough. I haven’t had the chance to connect with local musicians yet. Most people who are listening to my music are in the USA and it’s hard to get feedback if people are enjoying it. I hope that as time goes on, I can make more connections and be inspired to keep making music while living in this beautiful country.
L.V How does for religious study influence your music?
D.W My studies at Justo Mwale University in Lusaka have contributed enormously to the songs I’ve been writing lately. Studying Theology has taught me more about God and how to thoroughly communicate His love. One of my biggest convictions is to write music with depth about life and God. Music that is honest about life and helps us fix our eyes on Christ. In my studies, I’m learning how keep the content of my music in line with Holy Scripture.
L.V Why gospel music, why not any other genre?
D.W Over the years I’ve written songs about other things. I’ve written songs for my awesome wife and songs inspired by struggles my friends are facing. It honestly became a natural thing for me to write songs about Christ. Over and over He is the one healing our world and giving us hope to live fully everyday. Back in the states I was leading music for a small congregation and I was having a hard time finding music that was relating with the congregation and the sermons. So, I started writing specifically for Church gatherings. The songs Same, Forty-Five, and Beautiful were all written during that time. I don’t listen to much Gospel music outside of Church gatherings and have struggled to even like a lot of the Gospel music that is popular today. But again and again I find myself writing about God. I find myself throughout the day reflecting on David’s question in Psalm 8: “what is man that you are mindful of him?” God’s shepherding love towards humanity astounds me. Even when I start writing about something else I come back to writing about Christ.
You can follow Oneheart on www.twitter.com/oneheartmusic_
and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oneheartmusiczambia
The Fooling Ourselves EP is available for FREE at this site: http://www.noisetrade.com/oneheartmusic/fooling-ourselves-ep