Music is a universal language. Regardless of the language of the lyrics, the beat of the music, the emotion in the voice of the singer and the vibration of the bass all combine together to create a language that’s unique to each song. And it’s a language in which local musician Drew Wiggins is fluent.
Raised in northern Bulloch County, Wiggins is the son of Teresa and Chris Wiggins Sr. He grew up “living a country boy’s dream” on family land—land that has been in his family dating back to the 1700s. His mom was raised on the same land with her siblings and the music gene runs deep within the family.
Wiggins, 30, and his siblings, older brother Chris Wiggins Jr., and younger sisters Hannah Page and Rachel Wiggins, all have musical talents and were drawn to it at an early age. Music, family and faith run deep within the Wiggins family.
“Our faith is our foundation, our love for our family is real, our appreciation for good music is something that has always stuck with us even to this day,” Wiggins said.
Musicians draw inspiration from a variety of places — some hear a rhythm in a machine that inspires the sound of their next song, some are inspired by love or current events. For Wiggins, his initial inspiration was family.
“I grew up listening to my great-uncle Billy West sing with his brothers at our family reunions. They all played music by ear, and their three-part harmony was just so great,” he said. “Watching and listening to them was definitely my initial inspiration to pursue music.”
Wiggins’ first time performing in front of a crowd was at church at around 4 or 5 years old. Then, at age 8, Drew started playing the guitar—his late great-uncle Billy showed him a few chords and got him started off. He started writing songs soon after that. Wiggins really realized he had a talent after he started writing his own songs as a teenager.
“People started saying ‘Hey man, you should really move to Nashville,’ that’s probably what got me thinking ‘Hmm, people really like my stuff and really seem to want to hear what I have to say,’” he said.
Despite the encouragement from people to pursue a career in country music, there’s always some negativity in the music industry and there’s inevitably disappointment in the pasts of successful singers. A mark of success is to take those disappointments and turn them into fuel to be better, to grow. Wiggins has had his share of disappointments, but has taken them in stride.
“I was in a few talent shows when I was younger and have probably grown more from not winning than from taking home the trophy. I’m super competitive so I’m always looking for ways to get better and, in those cases, I would just take a look at what I could have done to maybe have won and/or figured out how to better my chances of winning the next go around,” he said.
One specific disappointment gave Wiggins some encouragement that has stuck with him. At one talent show, the panel of judges included a famous country artist’s dad—Jason Aldean. (Their real last name is Williams.) Wiggins performed an original song and lost the competition.
“Mr. Williams came up to me after the show and said, ‘Son, I don’t know what them other judges were thinking, but you were No. 1 in my book.’ I was a young 18-year-old. Hearing that encouragement coming from Jason Aldean’s dad was pretty special,” he said.
Younger sister Rachel often performs with Wiggins in shows around Statesboro and the two of them even entered popular music competition show “The Voice” for Season 16. One aspect that caught them off guard was how many rounds there are before you actually get to go to Hollywood. The two made it through all preliminary rounds and were flown to Los Angeles. They performed for the executive producers and were selected for the Season 16 roster. A few days before flying back to LA for the blind auditions, they received word that they had been cut from the roster. But they “learned a ton from the experience, made friends, got to meet some cool people, and of course got to see in person the Hollywood Hills where Roy Rogers used to roam.”
Any musician or singer hopes to one day have fame and fortune, but for Wiggins, it’s not that pursuit that keeps him singing. Instead, it’s just something that comes natural to him. He wants to inspire people through his music.
“I HAVE to sing. I HAVE to write. It’s in my DNA. My favorite thing to do is perform MY song to really anyone who will listen, whether that audience is two people or 2,000. I write about life.” He said.
As Wiggins says, he writes about the country life, because that’s what he knows. In the last few years, he’s gotten to know another way of life — fatherhood—and he’s drawn inspiration from that. Wiggins and his wife, Brittany, have been married for five years and have a 3-year-old son, Nash. They also have a baby girl on the way, expected to make her debut in December.
“As a songwriter, I’m inspired by events or things that transpire. Days after bringing Nash home from the hospital, I wrote a song called ‘Superhero Style’ for his mom, who had gone through 29 hours of labor and was basically in my eyes, Superwoman, for handling it the way that she did,” he said.
Fatherhood will definitely provide an abundance of song ideas and inspiration, and his pursuit of a career in music will give him teaching tools for his children as they grow, but Wiggins’ excitement in fatherhood is the opportunity to teach his children about one of his biggest inspirations — Jesus.
“I look forward to teaching them how special a relationship with our Heavenly Father can be and the how important hard work and relentlessness are, and that pursuing the dreams we have and using the gifts we are given should be our approach in life,” he said.
To many, music brings back an assortment of feelings — some songs bring back memories of their loved ones who have passed on, or of their first dance at their wedding while others remember poker games with family or a concert with friends, and along with those memories, some songs bring joy or sadness. The year 2020 has definitely given us all some different memories and even made us rethink the meanings of songs.
When asked what his favorite song is to sing, Wiggins’ answer illustrates the change that 2020 has brought about in many minds.
“My current favorite is a Willie Nelson song called ‘Hands on the Wheel.’ With all of the uncertainty that we’ve faced in 2020, this old song just reaches down into your soul to remind you of that special someone in your life who remains your steady rock,” he said. “The song starts out like this: ‘At a time, when the world seems to be spinning hopelessly out of control; There’s deceivers and believers, and old in-betweeners, that seem to have no place to go. It’s the same old song, It’s right and it’s wrong, and living is just something I do; And with no place to hide, I looked in your eyes, and I found myself in you.’”
Favorite songs are hard to choose for most people, but it’s understandable that picking a favorite song would be extremely difficult for a singer/songwriter like Wiggins. But he says that singing is his favorite thing about being a musician — mainly because it’s easier to sing than to write.
“Writing can be super difficult at times, and then of course you have those days where the lyrics flow faster than the Ogeechee River in the dead of winter. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing, especially when I finish the song. But I might like singing just a hair more,” he said.
Wiggins says he sometimes finishes a song “three or four times,” indicating that songwriting involves multiple changes, tweaks and revisions. With children, even a quick recording of a song has to have revisions, but will bring back memories for years to come.
“My approach to songwriting has definitely changed a little bit after becoming a father,” he said. “I try to record a song after I finish it and it’s funny, I’ll go back sometimes and listen to the recording and hear Nash playing or yelling something in the background. It’s what you get I guess when the fatherhood and songwriting worlds combine.”
For Wiggins, many aspects of his life collide. That country boy upbringing that he brings to his music career and his listeners, he brings to work, too. Wiggins has been working at Anderson’s General Store in Statesboro for 12 years.
He started right after high school and worked while he attended college at Georgia Southern University. After college graduation, he was promoted from an assistant manager position to a full-time manager. He’s responsible for managing the sales floor and ordering products, managing inventories, hiring and monitoring sales and, as with any retail job, he engages customers.
Writing (songs, stories, books, etc.) is his way of attempting to find a new way to describe old concepts. But Wiggins, with his Georgia boy roots, found a way to do just that. In his most recent (and at the moment, most favorite) song, “Georgia Boy,” he tells the story of his roots.
“It sort of tells my story growing up where I did, being raised on a dirt road, my love for the outdoors (and) breakups, heartbreaks — that may or may not include my Atlanta Braves, the Georgia Bulldogs, and of course my alma mater, the Georgia Southern Eagles. One of my favorite lines of the song is ‘And she’ll break your heart just like those hometown Braves, but she’ll come back to you just like you prayed.’ As a Georgian I’ve come to accept the rollercoaster rides of our sports teams, but I’m truly loyal through the good times and the bad,” he said.
As an artist, Wiggins’ wish is that listeners connect to his music. Any Georgia sports fan can absolutely connect with a singer who can describe heartbreak through sports metaphors.
“I really want to connect with the audience through my songs. I want folks to be inspired by my music and to think, to relate, and also enjoy. There is nothing in the world like connecting with the audience through a performance, and feeling the energy and sharing that moment with them,” he said.
Most singer/songwriters dream of the big city lights of Nashville, and Wiggins is no exception. He’s been traveling back and forth to Music City for several years to record music, write and to perform. In August, Wiggins traveled to Nashville and got the opportunity to perform at The Listening Room Café. He talks highly of the vibe the town gives off as well as the people, live music and the food. He says that you never know, he might “pack up and venture up there one of these days.” But even if he does, he “can confidently say that my heart will always remain right here in Bulloch County.”
It’s evident that Wiggins’ upbringing in Bulloch County in a close-knit family has inspired his music. He talks a little more about “Georgia Boy” and the lines of the song make that clear.
“The song kind of has a father and son dynamic and storyline and ends with the dad, who in the song has passed and gone to Heaven, is looking down saying, ‘Georgia boy, you’ll lie awake and wish you could hear your daddy’s voice. You should see that river bank, man it’s full of country boys. Heaven’s kinda like Georgia…. Boy,’” he said.
One thing is certain, Wiggins’ newest song might be “Georgia Boy,” but he’s so much more than that.
Drew Wiggin’s newest release, “Georgia Boy,” can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube or Amazon. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook for upcoming show information, life updates and random social media concerts.