On a recent visit to 49 West Coffeehouse, Wine Bar, & Galllery in Annapolis, Maryland, I discovered what I believe to be the next big singer and songwriter.
I was attending the bar’s monthly singer-songwriter showcase, when I spotted the John Mayer doppelganger. Andrew Tufano, 19, looks innocent enough, but he has a voice with much deeper soul than his image lets on.
Andrew sat down with me to tell us more about his music and his showbiz dreams.
[Check out the end of this interview to win a copy of Andrew’s latest EP “Dotted Lines.”]
What inspired your latest album?
My latest release “Dotted Lines” is a collection of songs I wrote in 2013. The general theme of the EP reflects my experience transitioning from living with my parents in high school to living on my own in Nashville, or breaking out of the “Dotted Lines” of youth.
To me, these dotted lines were a collection of societal standards and expectations for teenagers and the paths we’re “supposed” to follow in adolescence, as well as rules my parents had established that were slowly breaking down as I gradually became entirely independent. While I wasn’t thinking about this theme of transition while writing these songs, it threads them all together.
How do you hope to inspire the current youth through your music?
I try to write music that comes from a place of raw honesty so others can relate, and I believe I’m getting closer to that pureness and sincerity each time I write.
Hopefully the more I write, the more I can relate with listeners through my art, and that connection through music will allow others to realize that we might share the same troubles, and could be going through similar things.
Many artists have created that moment for me through their music, and simply realizing that I’m not alone in my struggles has lifted me up, I can only hope to do the same for others.
What got you to where you are today?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what motivated me to do music, but I can say that music certainly motivated me to do just about everything else in my life.
My parents would often have to force me to get schoolwork done before playing music because I couldn’t be pulled away from a piano or guitar, and the craft has served as an excellent motivator for keeping my grades up.
What caused me to love music though is a combination of factors that I can only speculate about. I’d say a combination of a genetic knack for hearing and analyzing music quickly, which allowed me to learn the piano rather quickly, was a big part in what kept me coming back to the piano bench when I was first learning music in elementary school – we love to do what we’re good at.
Perhaps more important though, was a vision in my head of performing on stages in huge arenas, a dream that still sometimes pushes me to finish those last few booking emails, or staying in and writing music instead of going out.
What kinds of music do you listen to before a show to pump you up?
I’d love to say I have a playlist or song that gets me fired up before performing, but whenever possible, I spend as much time in the hours leading up to a show that I can priming myself mentally for the performance by going over parts, banter I might use in between tunes, and warming up my fingers and voice.
So, I guess you could say I listen to myself before performing 🙂
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage during a show?
In my first year or two of performing, I had a terribly awkward stage presence, and didn’t fully understand the dynamic of talking to and entertaining a crowd while I wasn’t singing.
A combination of my undeveloped improvisational banter skills and my incredible ability to forget lyrics to my own songs (still not sure how this happens to me, but I’m getting better) got me into an embarrassing situation at one of my first ticketed shows in 2011.
I was opening up for a friend that grew up down the street from me, Taylor Berrett, and forgot the lyrics to one of my songs (Little Kid Life) and proceeded to say awkward jokes about how I didn’t know the lyrics to the second verse for a minute or so while still playing the guitar part. The crowd was laughing, but I think it was mainly because they were uncomfortable.
After a minute or so of this, I spontaneously went into the song “No One” by Alicia Keys and ended the tune with that, which was in retrospect a pretty good save…however I don’t think I’ve had a more awkward minute on stage, staring into the blank faces of 100 people with a racing heart and blank mind.
Any last words of wisdom to young people?
This is hard advice to give, as I myself am just 19, so take this with a grain of salt.
I think life is a balance between enjoying the little things, and understanding long term reward and conscientious thinking, and to live a joyful life without regret, you should try to balance these two before it’s too late. Love the present without sacrificing your future. And maybe play a little music along the way.
We love Andrew’s music and want to give you a chance to hear it as well. So if you want to win a copy of Andrew’s EP -“Dotted Lines” write a comment below and tell us what your passion is!
All entries need to be received by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, November 8, 2014. We’ll announce a winner on Sunday, November 9, 2014.
UPDATE 11/9/2014: The winner of the CD giveaway is Kaira Boston! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll mail you the CD!
*Portions of this interview have been edited for length and clarity.