Notable Sound Designer Derek Vanderhorst Crafts Solo Album About “Becoming Grounded”

Derek Vanderhorst is known as a musician, sound designer and re-recording mixer for film and television, having worked on hundreds of films including No Country For Old Men, Hidden Figures, and most recently The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Now he’s also turned his attention to crafting a solo album, Wildflower.

A few years ago, Vanderhorst was diagnosed with cancer.  Along with the threat of dying, he was told he might lose his voice and hearing. Now 5 years cancer-free, and after hundreds of hours of vocal rehab, he has used his voice as an Americana artist on Wildflower. During recovery, Vanderhorst wrote over 150 songs. Eleven of those songs make up the new album.

Vanderhorst comments:

It’s an album of metaphorically and emotionally going home and becoming grounded. It’s about finding song and nature and balance in life. Mixed in is also a humorous look at my childhood to present day. 

Mike Valerio has played bass on nearly every film Vanderhorst has mixed and was also his neighbor for years.  During the pandemic, they started texting and then exchanging rough versions of the songs and Valerio would put some bass parts to them.  

Vanderhorst explains their process:

In the first versions of the songs my buddy, Max sang on them because I will still working on vocal rehab and couldn’t sing more than one line without choking or coughing. As my voice strengthened with daily voice lessons, I started to sing them and started to feel more of an old Bob Dylan or Tom Waits vibe as my voice is rough and the songs sometimes become more spoken-word.  After discussing this with Mike he really helped gather the players and shape the sound of the album.

Now with a post-cancer outlook on life, dedication to music and passion for songwriting, Vanderhorst hopes to empower others into finding their voice.

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