by Ruby Comer

Photo © Mike Maroney. All rights reserved
Call me an Old Fart. I just can’t get used to these fandangled hi-tech contraptions—DVRs, iPods, DVDs, computers, faxes, cells, and on and on. Who can figure them out? Certainly someone younger and brighter than me—like KDrew. This singer/songwriter has shoehorned his musical talents through FaceBook to acquire a fan base that started with 2,000 and in just sixty days grew to 85,000! The exposure has landed spins of his song, “Bedroom,” on radio stations and his song, “Defeated,” can be heard on the Internet.

A former high school athlete whose father was a rock drummer, KDrew is self-taught on piano and guitar. It took Ms. Ruby nine grueling years of lessons to learn an instrument! His sound can be difficult to label, but it’s best described as pop-R&B. KDrew’s songs go from ballads to bounce because he doesn’t want to limit himself. “I love all kinds of music!” he cheers. Apparently the guy enjoys lending a hand, as well. He’s Celebrity Ambassador for AIDS Resource Foundation for Children (ARFC), a New Jersey organization that since 1985 has provided holistic care for orphaned babies living with HIV and their families. Over the years, the group has expanded to include a wide variety of comprehensive support services.

After KDrew’s concert at Richard J. Codey Arena in West Orange, New Jersey, to benefit ARFC, yours truly met up with the talent backstage.

Ruby Comer: What a spectacular performance! [He smiles appreciatively exposing his Chiclets smile.] How did you come by the name KDrew?
Well, when I played basketball in high school, my teammates decided to shorten “Kevin Drew” to KDrew just like Jason Kidd changed his name
to JKidd.

Ah, got it. Has the AIDS epidemic affected you?
It really makes me put more consideration into the women I might have sexual relations with. I’m an AIDS-prevention advocate and want to promote safer sex and other effective contraceptives.

Well bust my button, Bucko, we need more like your kind! Have you lost anyone close to you from AIDS?
No I haven’t personally. I hope all of my friends and family are smart when it comes to safe sex and aware of this epidemic.

Do you remember where you first heard about HIV/AIDS?
Being a basketball player, I became aware of it when Magic Johnson was diagnosed with the disease.

Of course, yes. Were you taught AIDS prevention in high school?
Yes. I attended Howell High School in New Jersey. The school and teachers really stressed the importance of HIV/AIDS. I think they did a great job. The reason being, none of my friends or family have the disease.

That’s a good deduction! I hope other high schools take note, too. Are you currently in a relationship, KDrew?
I’m single, but always looking for the right person. [He pops a grin on that chiseled face.]

[Oh, if I were only one hundred years younger!] Have you always used a condom while playing?
Honestly, there have been many times I have gone without contraception. But I had a deep trust with her and we both knew we were safe. [A girl comes up to him and asks for an autograph. He signs her concert ticket.] Ruby, I’m always prepared with protection.

Thataboy. What’s coming up for you professionally this year?
I’m releasing a single titled “Dirty Dancer” and hopefully towards the end of the year I will drop an album that will change music!

Yessirreebob, I like the attitude, kiddo. It’s similar to the cool come-hither one you exhibit on stage.
I’m also in preparation for a concert I’m giving on World AIDS Day. [My eyes brighten.] My goal is to have people trust me as an artist so they will get motivated to join in the fight against AIDS. Just because you don’t have it [HIV], doesn’t mean you can’t help fight it!

Your leadership is admirable and inspiring. Who’s been your musical inspiration, KDrew?
Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. Michael’s Bad was the first album I ever bought.

Great album! How I miss him and his music. [He nods.] What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to all genres, everything from Michael Jackson to Chris Cornell. I’m a huge Coldplay fan and a die-hard Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. Everything about music inspires me!

Tell me what prompts you to get involved with the epidemic, like volunteering for ARFC?
Now that I have a fan base as a musician, I feel more obligated to keep my fans informed and let them know how serious AIDS is. One wrong move, like being unprotected, can completely change your life. It’s a very unfortunate disease, but as long as I’m on this earth I will push awareness and do whatever I can to prevent and—hopefully one day—cure AIDS.

Draw closer to KDrew by logging on to www.KDrewMusic.com or visiting his Facebook page. For more information about ARFC log on to: www.aidsresource.org.

Ruby Comer is an independent journalist from the Midwest who is happy to call Hollywood her home away from home. Reach her by e-mail at [email protected]

June 2011