On October 27, rising dream pop artist Jeff Draco released his latest project, “Freezing in Hollywood: Sunrise Sessions.” The one-of-a-kind video production features Draco performing his 6-track EP, in its entirety, from a boat on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay while the sun rises. Audiences experience Draco’s captivating sound in a whole new light, as if he turns back time to the early stages of the songwriting process when his creative ideas existed in their purest form.
“I woke up early one morning at my grandparent’s house on the Chesapeake Bay right before my EP release show at DC9 in July,” said the Maryland-based artist. “Feeling inspired and encouraged with my EP ‘Freezing in Hollywood’ newly out in the world, I decided to hop on their boat, putt out to the channel of the bay (just as the sun was rising), and record a laid back, stripped version of my EP.”
The studio EP was co-produced by Draco and Grant Claytor, with Claytor also holding mixing and mastering credits. Incorporating such expansive sound palettes across each track, the production is impressive given that the intricate details do not get lost in the mix.
The studio version of the title track, “Freezing in Hollywood,” and a personal favorite of mine, is brilliant. With dreamy electric guitar, moody bass, and mesmerizing atmospheric layers, the song explores themes of love, belonging, and discontent. “I was falling harder than I ever was / To see you look just the way she does / I was freezing down in Hollywood,” Draco sings in the chorus.
Removed from the immersive studio production, listeners feel the longing at the core of “Freezing in Hollywood” in the Sunrise Sessions. The sound of waves lapping against the boat serve as Draco’s sole accompaniment apart from his acoustic guitar. There is something refreshing about encountering a creative work that feels comfortable letting nature exist in its untamed beauty – no editing needed.
“This session is essentially as raw as it gets; I was missing a string on my guitar and definitely was a little sleep deprived too,” Draco laughed. “I’m really happy with how this turned out, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Briana DeRosa who filmed the entire thing.”
The studio version of “The Way I Was Before” evokes feelings of nostalgia, in part, thanks to more pronounced contributions from the keys in comparison to other tracks. As Jeff Draco sings about moving on after outgrowing the person he used to be, listeners want to linger in the warm atmosphere of the song long after it ends.
The Sunrise Sessions version of “The Way I Was Before” is memorable for another reason altogether. At the very moment that Draco begins to play the song, sun breaks through the clouds. The magical moment serves as affirmation from the universe that you may not be the person you once were, but you are exactly where you’re supposed to be for the next chapter of your journey.
The remainder of songs on “Freezing in Hollywood: Sunrise Sessions,” including “Fall for Another Day,” follow a similar picturesque cadence. Draco performs all songs for Sunrise Sessions in the same key, unlike the studio versions, which allows them to flow into each other as effortlessly as the surrounding waves. This collection is meant to be absorbed uninterrupted from start to finish.
Jeff Draco is a distinct talent who creates music on his own terms, inspiring others to be confident showing up as you are. Over the past year, Draco has amassed more than 4 million views and 600K+ likes on TikTok, and the demand for his music continues to grow.
Maryland-based singer-songwriter Cynthia Gross seeks to inspire an awakening to all we are and all we can become. With a passion for language in all of its forms and more than a decade of experience as a professional ghostwriter, she is a light seeker who understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.
A songwriter by the age of 15, Karla Bonhoff has been entertaining audiences for decades. Native to Southern California, she came up in the L.A. circuit of the hippie era, where artists such as Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and so many others were continuously floating in and out of one another’s orbits. Bonoff and singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor will jointly perform at the Birchmere in Alexandria Dec. 11. Together, they will tackle new and established variations on Christmas favorites, as well as toss in their original tunes.
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