The third and most seasoned Drugdealer album, Hiding In Plain Sight, almost didn’t happen at all. Frustrated and insecure with his own singing voice prior to the pandemic, Drugdealer founder and primary songwriter Michael Collins was nearly ready to throw in the towel. With hits like “Suddenly” and “The Real World” (from the band’s 2016 debut, The End Of Comedy) and “Honey” (from their first album for Mexican Summer, 2019’s Raw Honey), Collins had plenty to be happy about. But due to a frequent impulse to hand over the microphone to friends and collaborators like Weyes Blood, Jackson MacIntosh, and his trusty musical companion Sasha Winn, Collins became increasingly unsure of himself as a singer. Then, amidst the windswept art colony of Marfa, Texas, a chance encounter with the visionary artist and composer Annette Peacock changed his outlook.
While attending Mexican Summer’s annual Marfa Myths festival, Collins ran into Peacock backstage. “I was so inspired by [Annette]. But similarly to all these other vocalists I’d worked with, I didn’t feel like I had it in me.” he recalls. “I told her my plight, then I played her a song, and she told me I wasn’t singing high enough for my speaking voice. When I returned to LA, I started coming up with new progressions, which I’d modulate up three half steps. It forced me to find a new way to sing.”
In the valley of the shadow of doubt, during a period when Collins was considering giving up on music and embarking on his lifelong dream of filmmaking, a furtive conversation with a legend allowed him to find his own distinctive voice. But, as the title implies, the lockdown era during which Collins wrote the bulk of the record was a time spent searching for answers – searching for love.