Harrisburg musician Drew Wilburne has been with a few bands in the past and loved music for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until last year that he realized he had his own message to share through the song.
Under the name “Big Happy,” Wilburne released his first single, “Summer Sleep,” in June, accompanied by a music video featuring familiar faces from the city.
“Over the past year and a half, I’ve found that I really have something to say,” he said.
The indie / alternative song was born out of Wilburne’s relationship with his father, who has Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. During the pandemic, his father came to live with him when Wilburne’s mother contracted COVID.
“It was a very steep and quick situation,” he said. “It was a realization of how difficult caregiving is. “
With that in mind, Wilburne wrote the lyrics to “Summer Sleep,” which reflects caring for others and recognizing that time with them is short. The single became his first solo project.
“At the end of the day, it was about understanding what it means to care about people,” he said.
But for Wilburne, the meaning of the song grew to include not only his relationship with his father, but also with his friends.
The music video for “Summer Sleep” was shot by Harrisburg resident documentary and photographer Amanda Berg and Amanda Mustard, a photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times and The Associated Press, among others.
Other Wilburne friends, whom you might recognize from Little Amps Coffee Roasters, are also featured in the video.
The video begins with shots of people asleep, in a swimming pool, in a field, under a bridge. It’s an eclectic group. One by one, they begin to move – one person frolic in a grape suit, another raises a bar. The youngest in the group, a boy, lifts a scooter over his head and spins it around.
Wilburne explained the concept behind the video as each person made their dreams come true. Once again, the inspiration came from his father, who has trouble sleeping just like him.
Throughout the creative process with his friends, Wilburne returned to that feeling of caring for those around him.
“It was really a way to hang out with them because that’s all we really have,” he said. “It has helped me reconsider what it means to be there for others and what it means for the way I live every day.”
Wilburne plans to release more singles in the coming months, with a full record at a later date. He is grateful for the support he has received so far, especially the support from his friends.
“I feel like I have something to say, but you’re still embarrassed,” he said. “For them to buy into it and improve it, it only cemented and validated my feelings.”
Listen to “Summer Sleep” here. Big Happy’s music can be streamed on all major music platforms. For more information, visit his Facebook page.
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