Ocoee teen releases single from first EP

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  • | 5:07 a.m. November 12, 2015
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Jared Draheim met with his manager early this summer, after they had been working together only a few weeks, to discuss how he felt about his recent success and booming stats online. Draheim had only one word to describe it.

“It’s so fast, man,” he said to Brandon Bailey of Two B Entertainment. “It’s just so fast."

Draheim, 19, graduated from Ocoee High School in 2014 and has been following his dream of becoming a famed singer-songwriter. He is already well on his way, with a following of fans engaging with him from Europe, Canada, South America and 49 of the 50 United States.

Draheim knows the power of music and lyrics. And he hopes to use that power to inspire others who battle an illness, like he does, as well as to relate to everyone who is familiar with the general challenges of life and love.

A Boy with a Vision

Draheim was born HIV-positive, having received the virus from his biological mother, but Gary and Debbie Draheim adopted him at birth.

“They fostered a lot of kids in that house at one point, and then they adopted three of us,” Jared Draheim said. “They’ve always had a soft spot for kids with illnesses.”

Draheim was drawn to music from an early age and got his first guitar when he was about six years old. But it didn’t last long.

“I smashed it trying to be a rock star,” Draheim said. “I thought I was cool.”

A few years later, when he was in middle school, Draheim was walking in his neighborhood and heard someone playing guitar at one of the houses. The sound intrigued him, so he followed it, and met a young singer and guitarist who would become a musical mentor for him.

After returning to the house again and again to learn from his new friend, Draheim asked his father for a new guitar. Gary was hesitant at first, referencing the fate of the first guitar, but decided it was a probably safe purchase this time. Jared Draheim’s professional pursuit of music had officially begun. 

Living the Dream

Draheim started learning to sing and play in front of an audience at Glad Tidings Church in Ocoee. He led worship there for about a year. 

Around that time, he started developing his style as a singer-songwriter, which he describes as a soulful expression of emotion. He writes about real experiences that he or someone he knows has had. Some of his influences are Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, James Bay and Cody Simpson. 

Last month his first recorded single, “Done and Over.” It’s a song about a relationship that took a bad turn after Draheim was hurt by lies and disloyalty. 

Another single called "Black Dress and White Lies" from his first EP, “Songs from the Soul,” will be released next month. The EP, which will be released in the spring, was recorded at Plush Studios in Winter Springs, which has served clients such as Chris Brown, Creed, Justin Bieber, Lil’ Wayne, Paramore, Rick Ross and Shinedown. 

“(The EP) is going to be very organic, very indie,” Bailey said. “Singer-songwriter, stripped-down power acoustic is what they call it.”

But before the album could become a reality, Draheim had to show music industry professionals that his music had already garnered a following. The online stats for the social media accounts where his music is available showed that he had dedicated fans all over the world.

There is even a group of about 40 listeners in France who call themselves the “Frenchie Squad.”

“I think that’s something that really identifies an artist—how much they can connect with their fans,” Draheim said. “The fans are how you’ve gotten where you are.”

Those fans have demonstrated their commitment by showing up at Draheim’s various performances at local venues such as Downtown Disney, the Florida Mall and the Westin Resort at Universal Studios, and even out-of-town tour stops in Chicago and Nashville. 

Draheim is ready to share “Songs from the Soul” with his friends and fans, but he doesn’t plan on stopping there. He is looking for more opportunities to play live around the country, and he will definitely keep up the songwriting. 

“If you want to do this music thing and you want to do it correctly, it’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. 

To hear Draheim’s music online, go to jareddraheim.com.

Contact Catherine Sinclair at [email protected].


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