Billy Droze on Songwriting: A Therapeutic Thing
by Kara Martinez Bachman
Songwriter Billy Droze said he just celebrated his 11th number one song in bluegrass. That’s cool, but here’s something even cooler: His wife is joining his ranks and now claims bragging rights of her own.
“My wife just had her first number one this week,” he said, of wife Marija Droze’s success on the bluegrass chart. “I was nowhere on it, but my wife was number one. I said, that’s okay, I’ll take a back seat.”
Droze laughed, and the happiness in his voice was clear. She’s not only his wife and the mother of his three children (with a fourth on the way) — she’s also an artist signed to his record label, RBR Entertainment.
Droze has been recognized for his work; in 2018 he was considered for a Grammy Award. He’s made enough waves in the business that he was selected to host — alongside Rhonda Vincent — the 2018 ICMA Awards, held at the Grand Ole Opry. Droze clearly feels pride about the role he plays in the careers of other artists. He’s penned songs for everyone from The Grascals to Junior Sisk, and his stuff has been recorded by country artists Darryl Worley, Shenandoah and Jamie O’Neil.
“I live and breathe for music,” Droze said. “I was born to do it.”
He’s not just a singer and songwriter with a bevy of bluegrass and country recordings under his belt; he’s also embraced the work of other artists through RBR Entertainment.
Droze is busy, saying “it’s a 24-hour-a-day job, weekends included.” He spends hours doing his own thing … touring … writing … recording … and some are spent mentoring others in doing theirs. Right now, his next “thing” is in the works and will be ready for fans soon.
“It’s in mix and mastering right now,” he said, explaining the 12-song album — Waiting Out the Storm — was helped along by the current stay-at-home protocols due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Thanks to COVID-19, I have finished it in record time, he laughed. “When all this subsides, I’ll have it pretty much ready to go.”
Droze — who said he’s “put out an album a year since the age of 15” — is prolific. He said he believes in “doing what you love and staying at it,” so today, he kinda knows the ropes. These days he gets excited not just about his own music, but about helping artists get their footing in the business.
Droze’s label has signed three artists in addition to himself, and he’s “getting ready to expand a little bit and sign two more acts this year.”
The label has one main goal: “To direct others from falling into holes I’ve fallen into.” He’ll tell them what he’s learned. He’ll tell them when they’re off-course, “don’t go that way, ‘cause you’re gonna fall down … and that hurts.”
“It would almost be wasted knowledge if I didn’t share it,” he added. “You can save people a lot of heartache … and time … and money.”
He said, of recording other acts.
“It’s becoming a true, sincere passion.”
With that being said, Droze won’t be giving short-shrift to his own music, and it sounds as if fans won’t be surprised much by what’s brewing just over the horizon in “Waiting Out the Storm.”
“I’m still keeping it in the vein of bluegrass,” he said. “Hard-driving … my brand of bluegrass, unapologetically. For me, it’s about as traditional as I get. It’s very band-oriented.”
Droze’s website describes well what he’s about: Melodies and a guitar style that combine “traditional roots with a modern twist that’s all his own.”
As usual, Droze’s recent music will be about things that are oh-so-real.
“With ninety-percent of my songs, there’s nothing fictitious about them,’ he explained, calling songwriting “a therapeutic thing.”
And of course, there’s song-listening. That’s therapeutic, too … for us all.