With several sold-out shows on the schedule, Patrick Droney shares what he's most looking forward to in his "State of the Heart" North American tour.
We've got to say, State of the Heart is BRILLIANT. From songwriting to recording in the studio, what was the creative process to bring this album to life?
Thank you for saying that. This record is a lifetime coming. There's so much behind the songs that make up State of the Heart. I wrote them in the window of the last five years, and the process of bringing these songs to life over a pandemic was a challenge. That also gave me a bigger purpose in my "why.” I was finding a way to bring us closer even if we all couldn't be together—countless all-nighters, trading files around the country, piecing this together with my collaborators. In the quarantine, I produced “Glitter” in my parents' basement and wrote and recorded “On Your Way Home” on New Year's Eve by myself in a little Nashville home studio. Halfway through, the album was recorded in a beautiful studio in Nashville, and it was amazing to get back in the room with my friends. I wrote “River” on the last day in that same studio, and we cut it live on the floor. The album took shape in such a unique way and I'm so grateful it did.
The Deluxe Edition of State of the Heart introduced a batch of new incredible songs that bring your unique sound and combine it with beautiful lyricism. What's your favorite song from the album and is there a special story behind it?
It feels impossible to pick a favorite song. They are all like my kids – you spend so much time cultivating an emotion into something as tangible as a recording, and all of the moments in between forge an actual bond. I think I'm most proud of how the record tackles the human condition in various ways. Songs like “Talk About That,” “Glitter,” and “River” deal with grief, loss, and change, and then you also experience the pursuit of love and its consequences in songs like “The Wire,” “Chasing You,” and “Where You Are.” The 20 songs that make up the record span the emotional color wheel. I wrote “Good Die Young” with my younger brother, and that was an extraordinary moment. The night I wrote “State of the Heart” five years ago, I knew it would be the title track of my album–so it's been a real journey to get here.
You just released a cover of "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. What inspired you to give this song a twist of your own?
I love dressing great songs in new clothes. After I recorded a Spotify Christmas single covering “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” I definitely caught the bug. I've always loved Miley's song and thought the lyric had a ton of depth. I'm also a sucker for a massive chorus. My friend Sasha Skarbeck is one of the writers, and I remember talking to him a few years ago about the process. I love a good challenge, and I think we brought out of some that longing and raw emotion in the context of State of the Heart.
We know the creative journey of every artist is different. Where do you draw the most inspiration from? Are there artists or bands that have influenced you?
The fact that we are all so much more the same than we are different inspires me the most. As a songwriter, I try to tell my story as detailed as I can because it seems like the more specific I get, the more universal it becomes. That inspires me to be an observer of the world around me and to have the goal of articulating a feeling that someone else cannot verbalize. So many great artists inspire me: from Ray Charles and Joni Mitchell to The National and Springsteen. I am always finding inspiration in people bearing their souls.
We couldn't be more excited for the announcement of the State of the Heart Tour. What are you most looking forward to about the tour? Are there any cities in the schedule you're especially excited about?
We are off to a fantastic start. Just getting out to as many cities as we are is something I'll never take for granted. Bringing these songs to life on stage, with the fans, is where they belong. Every night there's a unique highlight moment that can't be replicated again–the energy is so powerful. I can't wait to play Irving Plaza in New York on February 24. It's full circle for me.