Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011018 Contents 18 • 1.10.2018
out singer droze ‘getting love all over’ MiaMi
Gonna Be Music’s first male vocalist compiling new tracks for 2018
Photo courtesy of droZe.
Bouncing back and forth between
Miami and New York City his entire
childhood, DROZE, born Charlles
Pedroza, was raised by the radio,
specifically the soul and R&B stations of
The harmonies of SWV, Total, Brandy
and Brownstone got Pedroza through
his troubled teenage years. Though
he may have faced obstacles, DROZE
didn’t let those challenges define him.
He eventually racked up 12 years of
classical music training on four different
Every step of the way, DROZE
developed his voice, as well, but he kept
that particular talent to himself. That all
changed when longtime friend Michael
Rodriguez, also known as Michael M,
heard DROZE sing and booked him as the
first male vocalist on his newly launched
record label, Gonna Be Music.
With a management deal in place,
DROZE made his official debut last
year, as a featured artist on the Danny
G-produced “Never Stop.” The same team
followed up with “Running (Out of
Time),” peaking at No. 27 on the
Billboard dance/club chart.
DROZE also added vocals
to the Corrugated Tunnel
track, “When There Was
House,” released by Ireland’s
Vision Collective Recordings,
then followed that with his
cover on Groove Theory’s “Tell Me,”
produced by Giuseppe D. The single was
the first off his EP, “The Droze Project,”
written and executive produced by
Rodriguez with production by Giuseppe
D, KC Anderson and Oba Frank Lords.
SFGN caught up with DROZE as he prepares
to release new music in 2018. Here’s what he
had to say:
What made you want to pursue a career in music?
I’ve been singing since I learned how to
talk. I never thought of actually pursuing
it until I met Michael M. I mean, sure I
fantasized, who doesn’t? But he’s the one
who found me, pushed me and continues
to drive the Droze train towards new
What is your preferred genre to perform?
I really love down tempo R&B, but that’s
not really big on the scene right now.
House is leading the way in the music
industry, and I’ve learned how to throw my
own soulful style into that. So, I guess, to
be honest, that any performance is going
to be my preferred performance. I’m just
happy to be singing for people.
How did you get involved with Michael M and his label?
What do you feel he has contributed to your career?
Michael asked me to join him for
Karaoke one night about three years ago at
a dive bar, and I did. Michael kind of just
threw the song book at me and told me to
pick. I didn’t expect to sing, much less for
Michael to record it, strip the vocal and
throw it onto Soundcloud. I had never
really heard my voice outside my own head
until he did that. It was the most surreal
three-dimensional feeling to hear my
voice aloud on my phone. About a week
later, he had a song lined up that needed
vocals, and he asked me to sing it. That
track eventually became my first song ever
on iTunes, “Never Stop.” Mike is like
that. He sees a bigger picture, and
you’re better off just smiling and
showing up for all the things he
has planned. I think he dreams
so big, I’d be scared if I new what
was in his head. But look at where
he’s gotten me; I never thought I
would ever actually record an album
at all, but with Mike, it was done within a
year. And right after that, he had me on the
talent roster for New Jersey Gay Pride, and
then a gig at New York City’s legendary LE
BAIN, and then Score here in Miami. He’s a
We don’t have many local LGBT artists representing our
community. How important is it for you to be recognized
as an LGBT artist and do you feel we need more
representation in the music industry?
There’s definitely a lack of presence
in the music industry, but it’s not hard to
understand why. Sponsors, venues, labels
aren’t really sure how to handle a fully
out artist yet. It’s 2017 and it’s still a huge
scandal when an artist comes out. I think
artists tend to come out only AFTER they
feel comfortable risking it all. Me, myself,
I don’t consider myself a gay singer. I’m
just a singer that happens to be gay. I’m
going to be true to who I am, though. Not
changing the pronouns on ‘Tell Me’ was
really important to me. I can’t imagine
being someone else than who I am, and
then potentially selling myself as some one
else later on. I’m in my 30s and I’ve been
out since I was 13. I can’t really go back at
this point, and I don’t want to.
Have you been embraced by our community? In what
I think once people make the connection
that Charllie Droze is also DROZE the
singer, I’m received with open arms. Luise
Morera over at Score booked me while I
was still performing in Jersey. He saw the
hype and a video of the performances and
just shot me a text. I was kind of surprised
but really excited. When I got back to the
305, he had a gig for me at The Lab at Score.
That was my first gig in my hometown. The
owners of R House Wynwood have also
invited me to sing at their venue, and I’m
still working that out. Even Miami’s own
93.5 Revolution Radio made me the official
host of their Pulse fundraiser last year. I’m
getting love all over the city. I just want to
keep nurturing that love across the venues
and people I meet. These relationships are
important to me.
When did you last perform? And when do you next plan
My last performance was at Score
nightclub in September. I’ve taken some
time off since then to check out the scene,
meet some new DJs and singers and start
compiling new tracks for another round of
releases of DROZE music. It’s only been two
months or so, but I miss the stage already.
I’m going to lock down a small performance
at R House in the next couple of weeks, and
there may or may not be a Basel pop-up
performance, as well. You’ll have to stay
tuned for that one.
What’s next for DROZE musically?
When I started ‘The Droze Project,’
I thought I knew what my sound was. I
didn’t. I think, musically, I’m more flexible
than I thought. Now that I know that, you’re
going to hear a bit of a range on the next
couple of releases. I think the new stuff
will still have that DROZE soul to it, but I’m
going bigger and really testing my writing
skills. As always, luckily, I have Michael M
to guide me and my fans to tell me what
they love and what they don’t. I’m excited.
2018 is going to be even bigger than 2017.
I’m more confident now, and I have a better
idea of what I want to say as an artist. I hope
everyone is ready.
For more information on Gonna Be Music, visit www.gonnabemusic.com or listen to
music on www.soundcloud.com/gonnabemusic.
Issac Schlesinger contributed to this report.
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