Since I am a musician myself, I derive immense joy from discovering up and coming musicians with genuine talent and fierce determination. And Erin McAndrew is certainly all that and more. Recently, I was able to ask her a few questions about how she got started in music, her involvement in the industry so far, and what she has planned for the near (and even distant) future.
RH: What inspired you to become a musician? What were your early music influences?
EM: I’ve always loved music. I loved singing and dancing from a very young age. My earliest musical influences were Broadway musicals and pop music. When I was thirteen, my family moved from an itty bitty town to a Philadelphia suburb and it was a HUGE adjustment and growing experience. Music became my escape, and I realized I wanted to do something with my voice past singing into my hairbrush in my bedroom. I was into all the teenage pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (I know, it was the late 90s, early 00s…), and they inspired me because I connected with their music because of what I was going through at that time in my life.
What kind of training do you have in music? What instruments do you play?
I have eight years of vocal training and two years of guitar, plus my years of performing. I also took violin lessons in fifth and sixth grade, but I don’t think that counts anymore. I currently play guitar and ukulele.
How would you classify your style/genre of music? What are your current musical influences?
I would classify my style and genre of music as Alternative Pop-Rock with 90s fem-rock influences. I have so many current musical influences it’s hard to name them all! Some of them are Sara Bareilles, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Perri, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, and Pink. I’m also a HUGE classic rock fan – particularly of the 1980’s decade.
Where do you get your inspiration for your songs? What is your typical process for writing your songs?
I get inspiration for my songs everywhere. Different experiences my friends or myself have gone through, movies that have inspired me, even from strangers that I pass by every day in New York City that might spark an idea. My typical process for writing a song is to write the lyrics first and then create the melody. Once I have something there, I write the musical portion of the song.
What can you tell us about your album/singles and music in the works? Where can we find it?
I released my debut album of original music last June titled Skeleton of Life. You can find it at http://www.erinmcandrew.bandcamp.com. I’m starting to write songs for my next release which will be an EP that is tentatively set to be released in June. I can’t wait to get back in the studio! It’s amazing to go through the process from just writing the lyrics to bringing it all together with a full band in the studio.
I understand you have a YouTube show. Please tell us about it, how it got started and the main idea behind it.
I do! I have two different aspects to my channel. I always post a “Music Monday” which is a song cover I’ve been working on, and I take fan requests for that. My other aspect, which I am very excited about, is my wine show Rockin’ Thru The Grapevines. I perform at a lot of wineries and taste a lot of different wines, so it just made sense to make a show about it! In the show, I review the wine and give a bit of background on the winery and wine itself. I’m having a ton of fun with it so far and can’t wait to see where it goes.
Any future/upcoming works or concerts you can mention?
As I stated above, I’m about to head into the studio to record my EP! Upcoming concerts and shows will be announced in the coming months, so stay tuned – we’re working on the 2017 schedule now.
Any plans to eventually expand beyond music to acting/film/TV?
I would LOVE to expand beyond music. I acted a lot when I was a child and all throughout high school and college. I miss it and would love to expand into film and TV in the future. That’s another part of my life I’ve always been passionate about. We’ll see where my music and Rockin’ Thru the Grapevines takes me.
If you could collaborate with any three musicians living or dead, whom would you choose and why?
This question is so hard for me! As I’m sure it is for every musician out there. I think that it would have to be Sara Bareilles for sure. And I know you said three musicians, but I’m cheating and going with collaborating with The Beatles as a whole. Also, Joan Jett would be pretty bad-ass to collaborate with. I’ve always looked up to her and she’s always been a huge inspiration of mine.
In an industry that is teeming with musicians of every imaginable (and unimaginable) description and every degree of talent, it could be called “the best of times” and “the worst times” for aspiring singer/songwriters like Erin. While social media and digital music have given fans more access to music, ensuring that one’s music is heard above the maddening crowd can be a seemingly insurmountable task. Thankfully, the undaunted Erin has made the decision to leap into this industry, and the desire of her heart is to make a living doing what she loves to do. She is enamored with the arts, and as she shares her gifts with the world, she recognizes that in order to be a success in this business, she must have patience and take each and every opportunity for advancement that she can. Already she is setting herself apart by utilizing YouTube as a place to display her array of talents, and while some days it might be an uphill battle, she has the positive attitude and sunny disposition (not to mention the energy and optimism of youth) to guarantee that she continues her quest of accomplishing every dream within her heart. While she is far from a household name in music, she seems to understand even at her age that overnight success is a myth, and she is aware of the fact that perseverance is the key to success. I would invite everyone to check out her music and social media accounts below so that you may experience her talent firsthand and support this young musician. Furthermore, you might consider purchasing her album or even waiting for her next EP to be released. Whatever you choose to do, be sure that support musicians like her who are making a difference in this world by inspiring others through music and song. Without songsters like Erin who cause us to rise above the tumult of this present age, this world would be a negative, sorrowful place indeed.