CANADIAN artist Andi talks to me about her…
life in the country and how she evolved into the artist she is today. Half Home is her latest single and being met with acclaim and huge love. She has, in the past, crashed in her car between gigs: now, she is part of a large group of musicians that offer the support and incredible confidence!
I find out how her early life, and keen mind, led to the rich sound we hear in her music.
Her debut E.P., Sketches, was released last year and, since then, she has been busy – more tour dates are coming up.
Hi, Andi. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been crazy-busy!
I’ve been on tour playing a show every day this week; so, sitting down to chat with you is, pretty much, my first resting moment…
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer/songwriter/producer who creates progressive Pop music. I draw inspiration from many genres - from RnB to Electronic to Noise-Rock.
Half Home is your latest single. It deals with transition and youth. It has quite personal relevance. Was it natural penning the song or was it quite difficult looking back?
I actually wrote that song in my uncle’s apartment with an old electric guitar.
The song was a natural write: I wrote it all in one sitting. It wasn’t difficult to pen. The song helped me make peace with the uncertainty and self-doubt that comes with my line of work/my age in this business.
At the time – which you allude to in the song – you were crashing in your car between gigs and living a rather modest life. Was it quite a struggle or do you think it helped shape who you are? What is touring life like now?!
I never felt it was too much of a struggle because, at the end of the day, I was living my truth and making my passion my career.
It definitely helped shaped who I am - taught me to be resilient and resourceful.
Touring life is great because, now, I’m surrounded by an incredibly wonderful and inspiring band that supports each other. There’s nine of us all together - and living with them is such an enriching experience.
PHOTO CREDIT: Francesca Ludikar
Half Home is the first song since releasing the E.P., Sketches, last year. Is there any more music in-the-works?
There is a full-length debut album well on the way!
Keep an eye out in 2018…
Sketches landed in the top-four of the national CBC Searchlight competition. How did that make you feel (receiving that honour)?
I was very grateful and It’s opened a lot of doors for me...
At that point in my career, it was perfect timing to showcase my first single, Caffeine (ft. JonoJosh).
How involved are you in the complete cycle of a song? Do you involve yourself in the production side, too?
I write the melody, lyrics, and most chord progressions...
Production-wise; I am absolutely in the driver's-seat. I start the production of every song and then flesh out the tune with my other producer and band member, Paul Barton.
With the new album, I’m just starting to involve more players with writing opportunities - it is a new and organic process for the project and the involvement of others varies depending on the song.
I notice a lot of styles and sounds in your music. Which artists and albums did you grow up listening to?
I spent a lot of time with Jazz when I was younger. I started studying Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald; John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, etc.
I listen to every genre, now.
Canada is your home. What is the music scene like where you are and do you think it differs massively from the U.S.?
I am proud to be a Canadian artist.
So far, I’ve found the scene to be diverse and supportive: there’s a real sense of inclusivity and opportunity for all genres and type of sound.
I can’t say I have a strong stance on the U.S. scene since (the scenes) vary strongly - depending on the state.
However, right now, there is more freedom for artists of all backgrounds/ways of life to express themselves in Canada.
You have just completed a string of Ontario gigs to promote Half Home. What was that experience like?
It has taught me a lot about leadership, community and performance. It’s also brought the live show to a new level.
I’m so grateful to have had the experience.
You brought the live band on the road with you. How important is it playing with the guys and how did you meet them all?
It’s very important, to me, playing with these members – because, the personal style of each musician is becoming an integral part of the sound-palette for my project.
I, now, design music with them in mind - and their ideas and personalities shine through in the arrangement.
Also; singing and integrating choreography with three backup-singers for the tour has been a dream-come-true. I met them all through connections via Humber College in Toronto (where I did one year of school).
Any more dates in the diary? Can we see you in the U.K. anytime soon, perhaps?!
We’ll be back performing in Toronto regularly starting with Indie Week in November.
If all goes well; I hope to bring my next album to the U.K...
IN THIS PHOTO: Babygirl/PHOTO CREDIT: Josie Fiegehen
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Actor by St. Vincent; Choose Your Weapon by Hiatus Kaiyote and The Golden Echo by Kimbra.
The first is an album whose lyrical style/subject matter relates to me very closely on a personal level.
The second inspires me rhythmically and reminds me of my musical roots/the future soundscape of Soul music.
The third album, to me, is a great representation of progressive and alternative sound in Pop - this production and D.I.Y. method of the artist really excites me.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Surround yourself with a good support system: be open to criticism from those who you respect.
Learn to fight the fear that comes with creating art. Always be humble - while never underestimating the value of your time.
Never stop working hard.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I’ve been jamming super-hard to Laura Mvula’s Phenomenal Woman
That song has been giving me the strength I needed this summer...so play up!