Why Drake White’s Live Show Has Taken on a ‘New Meaning’

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Drake White says “the live show has taken a new meaning” after a stroke nearly robbed him of his career.

“There’s a lot of energy in it,” he told the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. “There’s a lot of hope and passion in it … We’re gonna be touring all the way through the spring and summer and hopefully pull the ‘Willie Nelson’ and be doing it until my last day.”

Doctors diagnosed the 38-year-old country singer with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in 2019. The condition causes arteries and veins to tangle in the brain and disrupts blood flow. White learned he was ill after he nearly collapsed at a show in Roanoke, Va.

About 15 mins into the performance, White suffered a stroke, and a bandmate caught him when he began to stumble on stage. He was immediately taken to the hospital for tests.

Drake White Suffered a Stroke During a Live Show and ‘Basically Had to Relearn How to Walk’

It was later revealed that AVM caused a stroke that paralyzed the left side of Drake White’s body. For some time, he also couldn’t feel his left hand or foot. And doctors told the singer that he’d never walk again.

But with the help of his wife, he overcame the odds.

“She came in and basically helped me physically move my leg until my brain started cognitively thinking about learning, [and] those nerves to get me back on my feet, literally,” he shared.

After suffering through the experience, he came out a better man. And now that he has a second chance at his passions, he’s not taking a single performance for granted.

“We’re out there touring,” White continued. “And this is what I love to do. I love being out here and being on stage. And the fact that there were people that said that I may never perform again, it’s just so life-giving to be out here.”

The Livin’ the Dream singer is currently on the road with Whiskey Myers putting on live shows of a lifetime. And he also dropped a new album today titled The Optimystic. The songs are inspired by his health scare and his battle to regain his life.

“This album is the result of just pushing through adversity and pushing through challenges,” he admitted. “Tomorrow’s gonna be better than yesterday and that, that’s a message I think that right now people need to hear.”