Hip-hop star Drapht joins WA Symphony Orchestra in How the West Was Won at Perth Concert Hall

From bedroom studio to mainstream and ARIA Award success, hip-hop star WA Drapht (aka Paul Reid) takes his stellar journey to another stage with the WA Symphony Orchestra at Perth Concert Hall next month.

How the West Was Won celebrates 20 years of Drapht success with excerpts from its catalog and new songs, all orchestrated by WASO lead trombonist Joshua Davis.

“For me, this is a huge achievement,” says Drapht. “Being in the music industry for 20 years and being approached by WASO was a bit daunting at first, and when I accepted the arrangements, it felt like once in a lifetime, and an opportunity that does not present itself every day.

“I usually play with a seven-piece band, and it’s a seated show and a 50-piece orchestra. It will be a completely different setting. Worlds apart for both acts, I think.

album Shadows and Shinings.” class=”css-12cetpi-StyledImage en5ut4d0″/>
Camera iconThe self-taught star’s WASO concert series will include hits such as Jimmy Recard as well as the latest album Shadows and Shinings. Credit: Provided

“A lot of my stuff is based on horn arrangements, so we have that in common, besides being from WA and flying the Sandgropers flag.”

Self-taught, Drapht admits that dealing with trained professionals has been daunting but also rewarding.

“Josh has been an absolute godsend to deal with,” he says. “Super welcoming, taking my ideas into account, it’s really been a collaboration, so I’m excited for that.

“We recorded a few songs and it feels a bit like a dream.

“It gave life to my music that wasn’t quite there. It’s like another dimension of what I had in place and a lot of the things we’re working on are songs from 15 years ago (my second album) and 10 years ago (my third album ).

This includes his biggest hit, Jimmy Recard, from the hit album Brothers Grimm, recorded in a video performance under the direction of WASO assistant bandleader Jen Winley.

“I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and it’s starting to slow down,” says Drapht. “You feel like you’re part of the rat race, and then something like that happens and you’re invigorated. It gave me a little second wind to get back into the studio.

The latest album, Shadows and Shinings, will also feature, with the new Tomorrow Today version released online for the first time, which he says is “both daunting and exciting”.

“When you bring a new track into the set you want to test it in a smaller scale show, but this time it’s going to be Perth Concert Hall and we’ll see,” he says.

“For the orchestra, it’s about something more organic and based on feelings more than music theory – a lot of my work is sample-based, with layered instrumentation, whether it’s drum samples or horns – I don’t think they would have worked in this world before.

Drapht sings Jimmy Recard with WASO.
Camera iconDrapht sings Jimmy Recard with WASO. Credit: Provided

Watch Drapht and WASO

“The beauty with WASO is that they’re open to it all, there’s no snobbery, which I really appreciate. Twenty years ago we weren’t even considered a genre. wasn’t even possible for my music to get on the radio 20 years ago and now not only is it possible but the WA Symphony Orchestra supports me so it’s just amazing how much the genre has evolved over these 20 years.”

He describes his regular shows as “party-based”, designed for a night out in a pub or club.

“Because I base a lot of my performances on what’s going to be the most fun and bring the most energy, there’s a lot of my catalog that I wouldn’t necessarily play live,” says Drapht.

“For me, even I haven’t heard what WASO is going to do with some of the songs, so it’s exciting to see how they flesh it all out.”

The star hopes to reach a new audience with her WASO concert series.
Camera iconThe star hopes to reach a new audience with her WASO concert series. Credit: Provided

It is also an opportunity for an older generation to taste what young people are listening to.

“You know what, my mom doesn’t even come to my gigs, she went to one and she’s like OK, the energy isn’t for me,” Drapht says. “My aunts and older friends like to listen to my music but wouldn’t necessarily come to a show, so there’s a big opportunity for a lot of people in that older demographic, for sure.”

How the West Was Won is at the Perth Concert Hall on November 18 and 19.

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