A Juilliard-trained violist who specializes in virtuosic passages and soulful melodies and harmonies, Drew has recorded for John Legend's Grammy-Award-Winning album, "Bigger Love," and the Emmy-Nominated HBO horror-thriller, "Lovecraft Country." If you're looking for string sound, look no further.
Violist Drew Alexander Forde, known online as ThatViolaKid, has a reputation not only as an accomplished performer but also as one of classical music’s most recognizable online brands. Profiled in outlets like Thrillist, WNYC, the Detroit Free Press, and Strings Magazine, he was named “one of the titans of Classical Music Instagram” by National Sawdust Log and was called “the future of our field” by Sphinx Organization president Afa Dworkin. Alongside Juilliard friend Trevor Bumgarner, Drew co-hosts Faking Notes Podcast. A podcast for artist entrepreneurs, it was touted by Sam Walder, CEO of Trala, as the “door to the music community.”
Also highly sought after in popular music, Forde has shared the stage with A-List stars like Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, JoJo, Roddy Ricch, Janelle Monae, Camila Cabello, and many others. In addition to earning recording credits for John Legend’s Grammy Award-Winning album, Bigger Love, Drew has also recorded with the late Mac Miller on The Divine Feminine, IDK’s album Is He Real, and Kota The Friend’s album, Everything.
Drew’s viola playing has also appeared on several prominent soundtracks: “Coming 2 America,” performing as Principal with composer Jermaine Stegall, HBO’s popular horror-thriller, Lovecraft Country, and Final Fantasy XII Remastered: The Zodiac Age.
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Interview with ThatViolaKid
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I played viola as part of a string quartet for the first track of Mac Miller's "The Divine Feminine." I'm most proud of that project because I actually got to meet and hang out with the artist. It was my first real "industry" job, and I can't wait to perform more!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on a personal mixtape
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Gina Luciani! She's a great flute player!!!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. I love having the ability to learn and have as many attempts for perfection.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You will get the absolute best playing I can produce.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the sound of a finished product. There's an immense sense of accomplishment that I feel from a job well done.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I'm not sure. I think most people think Classical Musicians are square haha
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How quickly do you need the product? What is the project? What sort of sound or emotion are you looking for?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure that you have sheet music for us to read. It makes the process go so much faster!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My viola, HS7 monitors, interface, MacBook Pro, and a Microphone
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I graduated from The Juilliard School with a Masters degree in '16. I have been freelancing ever since. I want to make studio recording a staple in my career.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is refined and soulful.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Childish Gambino. All the way since his first mixtapes, he has rapped about bringing a movement of real instruments back to Hip-Hop. I want to be a part of that!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Production is not my strong-suit yet! I'm just learning!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on movie scores and pop songs, but I'm incredibly interested in Hip-Hop and I feel I can add a lot of value to that genre.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is my technical facility on the instrument. Being classically trained, there are very few things I can't technically do on my instrument.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always bring a haunting, earworm quality to songs. I'll lay down the chords that you didn't know you were missing, but can't do without.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My typical work process is to review the music briefly and get to recording! I will record until I produce something that I'm pleased with!
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a simple setup: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Rode NT1 Microphone, Sony HS7 Monitors, and Logic Pro X.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, and Kyle are all profound influences on the music I create.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do is with string quartets or laying down string pads.