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WPGM Commentary: Johnny Drille Wants To Be A Better Friend On ‘How Are You (My Friend)’

Hey there. I’m Johnny Drille. Little info about me, I’m a sonic polymath meaning I’m a singer, songwriter, and behind the scenes I produce most of my music, while also being a mixing and mastering engineer. It’s quite a lot, I know.

Last year, I released “How Are You (My Friend)“, an uplifting record with a real-life narrative. I say real life because it describes the state of a lot of friendships and how little by little, friends and partners drift apart, not by their choosing but as everyday life gets more and more demanding.

I remember as kids, we called everyone in class our friends, but now with so many responsibilities creeping up, we don’t spend as much time with some of our dearest friends as we used to, and want to. A lot of people due to being let down by friends have opted to do life alone, and there are others wondering why no one calls or checks on them.

“How Are You (My Friend)” was me lending a shoulder to people who’ve been emotionally hurt. I know we go through trying times, and existing in this country alone is already a challenge.

I wanted to make a song that’s comforting at the same time reassuring, to be able to speak the minds of many people in this position. You’re not alone, people care about you, and that sometimes when they seem absent, it’s not a true reflection of how much they value your friendship.

Seeing how the song means something to a lot of people, the many videos of people singing to it, and how they shared it was very heartwarming. I guess that because that song is helping them say to their friends, “I cherish you“.

When creating this song, I had no initial expectation of what the success of the single may have been, I mean with any song I create, I just go off of my feelings at the time, however to my surprise last year (2022) saw me score my first Top 10 single on Nigeria’s Apple Charts with “How are You (My Friend)”, which was the lead single off my 2022 EP Home.

Thinking back to three years ago, I remember curating a track called “Something Better”, which was more of a risque direction for me to go down as the track was retro-inspired, but I feel that it really defines the artist I am; I very much experimental with my music and totally love what I do.

In 2021, I released my debut album called Before We Fall Asleep, a project that was exciting for me to make as well as nerve-wrecking for me to release. I feel for any artist who is about to release their debut album, as you go through a mixture of emotions as you just can’t wait for everyone to hear the music you’ve worked so hard on, but at the same time, you also want your messages through your music to be received well.

I connect with my fans through the shared emotions I curate through my music and over time, I hope to become known for delivering memorable performances, which I do through having hosted two multi-city tours under my flagship ‘Johnny’s Room Live’ in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. These tours host over 5,000 fans each year and it’s something I take such pride and have so much joy in doing!

My intention as always is to make meaningful music that would outlive me. I’m grateful for everyone who shared the message of “How Are You (My Friend)”, and even took it upon themselves to act out the message by checking on their friends. And to people just discovering from different cities, I hope it moves you to be a better friend and be more intentional in your friendships.

Watch the video for “How Are You (My Friend)” below and stream it everywhere else here.

Words by Johnny Drille // Follow him on Instagram + TikTok

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