Drake White Is 'Finding the Joy in Every Day' While Social Distancing at His Tennessee Retreat

From the moment he was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in January 2019 and then again when he nearly collapsed on stage as a result of a subsequent brain hemorrhage, Drake White has begun each day with a simple mantra.

“Find the joy in every day,” the Alabama native tells PEOPLE from his Tennessee retreat, where he is busy social distancing with his wife and biggest advocate Alex. “It’s the only way to look at life, no matter what. There is always the good and there is always some bad. Everything that happens is just preparing you for the next chapter.”

That next chapter is the same chapter that everyone finds themselves facing at the moment, as the coronavirus continues its cruel spread across the country and around the world.

“We are definitely praying about it, and it’s a concern, but there really is nothing we can do about it,” White says. “It makes Alex nervous, but I’m just out here mowing grass and running tractors and limping up hills these days.”

However, for White, the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus causes a bit more upheaval for him than most, especially as he prepares to continue to recover from the brain hemorrhage that affected a portion of his left side.

“I’m actually feeling really good right now,” explains White, whose Wednesday Night Therapy live stream has become a favorite of fans craving live music. “I just got off the Peloton actually. I do many of the exercises via TeleHealth and the therapist calls in twice a week. Frankly, I needed a change of pace. I mean, I was driving my truck to Vanderbilt [University Medical Center] everyday, and then going to the chiropractor, and then going to shock therapy and then going to a write. It’s cool to stay at home and do it all from home. I think some great art and music is going to come out of this.”

Indeed, White says he has been keeping busy songwriting for a number of new projects while also prepping to release his first new music since 2016’s Spark in the form of a brand new five-song EP entitled Stars.

“There is this form of therapy light therapy in which you are told to walk outside when you are feeling anxious or upset, and you simply look up at the sky,” says White of the fitting title of the EP, which is set for release on April 24. “It can make you feel small but powerful at the same time. I grew up under the stars. I’ve wished on them and I have thought about them, and it makes you remember that everyone that’s going through anything are looking at the very same ones.”

The EP, which includes the rootsy cut “My Favorite Band” that PEOPLE is exclusively premiering Tuesday, was actually well in the works while White was recuperating in the hospital after his August 2019 brain hemorrhage.

“The devil has a way of putting his best hand of roadblocks in your way to see if you will push a little harder,” says White, who recorded much of the album in May 2019 before his accident. “There was a point in the hospital where I went into survival mode. Once I knew I was going to live and that I was going to be okay, I called [Stars producer and Cadillac Three member] Jared [Johnston] from my hospital bed. I knew that working on this EP was going to be the thing that would get me better. It was my lifeline for weeks in the hospital.”

White takes a moment to collect his thoughts.

“I get emotional just thinking about it,” he says. “I know God put this EP in my life at the right time. The stars didn’t align at first, but now they are … and I just know God is hard at work.”

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