If anyone understands these lessons firsthand, it’s Drew Vision, who spiraled into the unknown, battled hardships, and triumphed this year — soon releasing a new single full of confidence and also appearing in HBO Max’s “Finding Magic Mike.”
Drew gives us some insight into the twists and turns in his life since appearing in OBVIOUS Magazine’s first-ever Music Issue, from the losses of both of his grandmothers and moving back home to New York – to chopping off his long, luscious curls.
2021 was a year that began full of optimism and hope, with so many eager for positive change and improvement in all aspects of life.
After a while, realism set in, reminding us that this year was another opportunity to reflect, overcome, and grow despite the bad.
Drew Vision answers the questions many of us have had.
Interview With Drew Vision
Where has life taken you, especially since we last communicated for the ‘Music Issue’ earlier this year? How has 2021 been treating you?
Drew Vision: It’s definitely been better since COVID hit, but it was still a challenge this year. I think right now, I’m good. And that’s mainly because I’m now closer to the people who love me and care about me, my family back in New York.
I was living in Los Angeles, and even after COVID [arrived], I still tried to fight to stay there because I had built a life there. Everything that was once my life or vital to me started to look different. I wanted to be around family, and every time I came to visit,
I felt like being home — but I’m going to the other side of the country for what I told myself was work.
Can you tell us more about the challenges you faced this year?
Drew Vision: I was dealing with financial hardships because I do events for a living (wedding singer), and live events were the first to close down. So, I struggled to keep up with the lifestyle that I was once comfortably living, and I ultimately had to decide not to renew the lease to my apartment and put my things in storage.
That timing happened to be when the HBO casting called me back and said, “We’d love for you to come to Vegas to film the show.” So, it felt almost like perfect timing. And typically, I wouldn’t be the type to want to do a reality show, but it felt like this could have been something outstanding in a different environment for me. It would challenge me and make me better.
They told us that we would be talking about losing our magic and finding it back through dance, working out, and eating right. And I was getting back on the path of feeling our magic again. And that sounded like something perfect for me because I was losing my magic.
On top of that, I lost both of my grandmothers. But now that I’m back home and around family, I am great. I’m feeling a lot better.
Where did you find the strength and courage to pick yourself up from where you were and take the steps you took toward finding your “magic”?
Drew Vision: I think it was losing the last grandparent I had alive this year. I lost my other grandmother in 2020, so it was back to back, and I was just done. I knew I had to step up because they were watching me from above now.
Was it scary for you to contemplate the idea of leaving LA and going back home? Or was it reassuring?
Drew Vision: I have put so much work into my career, and I didn’t know what was next for me. That feeling is terrifying. But I think I have to trust that it will work out.
What was it like for you to go to Vegas and try out for “Finding Magic Mike”? Have you ever auditioned for a TV show before?
Drew Vision: I auditioned for American Idol when I was a teenager. My sisters and I went and sang with a couple of other singers, and none of us made it. But with “Magic Mike,” it was all virtual, so by the time I got my flight to Vegas, I was one of the finalists in the show. I don’t take myself so seriously all the time, so I found it very hard to be this “sexy guy.”
I’m a little goofier than that. Even in my audition, I mess up apart, and you can see me laugh. So, I did think that it was me outside of my comfort zone. On top of that, because of COVID, I lost my physique.
It also heightened my emotions because I was already doing interviews where they asked me what was going on in my life, and once I talked about my grandmothers, I was already sad. Both of my grandmothers died six months apart from each other. I was still grieving the first one.
It’s what ultimately helped me go forward with cutting my hair off once I lost my second grandmother. I was like, “Look, I don’t know what I’m holding on to because the past is never going to be the same again.”
How was cutting your hair off a new beginning for you? How did it play a role in overcoming the challenges you were facing?
Drew Vision: Cutting my hair made it easier to look in the mirror and see the change happening uncontrollably all around me. My life and [the] universe were nudging me somewhere, and the new look helped me get into the new character for whatever was about to happen.
Did your time on the show echo the sadness you felt in life before becoming part of the cast?
Drew Vision: Yes. In some ways, with how quickly guys were getting eliminated — we spent pretty much the whole day in a waiting room together—talking and having real-life conversations, some of which were caught on camera, about struggles as men and profound stuff. And then, next thing you know, the person who’s next to you — who just performed amazingly — you see them get eliminated.
Was “Magic Mike” something that you could have never imagined yourself doing? Or something that you secretly always wanted to try out?
Drew Vision: I guess my alter ego always did want to be able to give a really good lap dance. And so, I did want to learn these moves.
In case you ever need to bust a move one day, you need to know what you’re doing. I did learn a couple of moves. You might see it on the show – I did a dolphin dive, and I think mine was pretty decent.
Where did you find the inspiration for your upcoming single, “Change Ur Life”? How did your experience help you rework the song into what it is now?
Drew Vision: My inspiration came after I bared my soul on the show. There was a scene that didn’t make the cut, where they asked me [if] my grandmothers would be proud, and I started crying so hard and tried to answer, “Yes.” I know they would.
After being that vulnerable in front of cameras and knowing the world would see my weaknesses, I just stopped caring and started owning who I am!! This song reflects that confident side of me that knows I’m a good catch for anyone who makes it into my heart.
Tell readers a bit about the upcoming release of “Change Ur Life.” How do you feel about it?
Drew Vision: I started working on this song a long time ago, but I picked it back up since “Finding Magic Mike,” and the reason why is because the song is very confident.
I wrote the rest of the song after the show, and I put a style on it that’s pretty trendy. It has this new kind of swag that people may not have heard in my older music. So, I’m very excited about people hearing it.
The message behind it all, really, is believing in yourself and owning what it is that you want. That confidence is going to be attractive to other people. Just be who you want to be and acknowledge that.
What was your creative process when creating the song? Did it have one sound before “Finding Magic Mike” versus after your time on the show?
Drew Vision: Oh, sometimes it’s just like a freestyle. It didn’t even really have a sound [at first]. It was like ‘scratch’ stuff, you know? So, I got to put this new style on it. Putting it together was fun because I had new ideas and new experiences then.
I wrote it with my friend, Nekiyah Ade’. She’s one of my favorite people to write songs with— we bounce ideas — and sometimes it comes out as a freestyle. But once that happens, we grab a pen really quick and hurry and try to get it down before we forget it.
Now that you’ll be releasing this new song and the show has wrapped, what’s next for you as we move into 2022?
Drew Vision: I’m contemplating hard on that because it’s a gift and a curse to have so many abilities because I can go anywhere with it. I’ve strongly wanted to pursue Broadway, and now that I’m in New York, I can give that a go.
I’m also going to be auditioning for TV and film as an actor because I studied with Tasha Smith. She has an acting school and acting workshop in Los Angeles, and I was with her for about two years before COVID hit.
In fact, I just signed up for a new semester, and then COVID hit, and they had to close the acting classes down.
But I want to give that a shot because it’s a different form of art, and I appreciate it. I’m always making music — I’ll be recording and releasing music as I feel led to do. Also, some of my older songs are still climbing up on the Spotify streaming numbers, so I’ll start doing anniversaries and stuff, keeping my old music alive and dropping new music one at a time.
I don’t think I’ll do an album — I’ll probably do singles here and there and just go for the big screen for now and on the stage with theater and see what happens.
What made you want to go in that direction?
Drew Vision: You know, one of the reasons that I got on this show was that I had wanted to do Broadway. And even though this wasn’t Broadway, “Magic Mike” is a live theater show.
It’s full of dancing, but there are moments where people can show off their talents. So, in my mind, I thought if I made it, maybe I’d get a chance to sing. But really, what makes me want to do Broadway is the fact that I can sing and act. It’s the one platform where I can do all of my abilities in one.
I saw “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” a Broadway show that just came out, I think this year, and Luke James is in it, Mack Wilds is in it, and a few other names of really talented actors. And it’s a black production!
I was in a decent seat where I could see everything clearly, and I was so inspired. Luke James sang his ass off on stage — it made you get goosebumps because it was profound — and they were talking about the struggles of black men.
And obviously, I could relate, so I was inspired, and I just felt like I belonged up there. One day, you know?
The year is coming to an end. When you think about all of the good and bad things that happened this year, what one thing that you want readers and yourself to know and remember as we journey into 2022?
Drew Vision: That’s a good question. I’m just going to go with my first initial thought: “We are stronger than we even realize, and sometimes things look a certain way, and we feel like we’re defeated, but it’s all just preparing us for the next chapter.” I see that with 2021.
I bounced back, and I didn’t know if I was going to! I made the cross country move, I sent my car over — which was scary — and I didn’t know how I was going to make any of it happen.
But, you know, we’re stronger than we realize, and we have to keep pushing and honestly never give up on ourselves because we have the abilities — we have to use them and make things happen. So, 2022, here we come!
“Change Ur Life“ releases today, Thursday, December 23rd, and will be available on all platforms.
Drew, along with his castmates, is holding an Instagram Live dance challenge Thursday, December 23rd, at 8 p.m. (EST) to fundraise for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Viewers can tune in and donate at Drew’s Instagram, @drewvision. “Finding Magic Mike” premiered on Thursday, December 16th, and is available for streaming on HBO+.
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