Piano Andrew

 

Tell us your history.

Andrew Pursell has performed in reggae, live hip-hop and R&B bands appearing in popular west-coast events like Reggae on the River, the California State Fair, and National Public Radio’s “West Coast Live”. Currently composing and recording as a solo piano artist, he produces original work in jazz, R&B, reggae and Latin genres as Piano Andrew.

 

Andrew began piano lessons at age 5 after his parents grew weary of hearing the many cardboard moving box drum-kits he would assemble and play upon.

 

After a bad bike accident at age 8, he quit lessons and began studying alone at home, emulating the big band and jazz records he heard from his father’s music collection.

 

An art student in college, Andrew’s introduction to reggae music came via a Bob Marley concert he attended on campus. This spawned a series of bands he performed in, including the reggae band “Makka” who appeared at Reggae on the River, The California State Fair, San Francisco’s 4th of July Celebration and other prominent west-coast festivals during the 90’s.

 

Later as a member of the live hip-hop band “Dysphunctional Species”, Andrew performed on NPR’s “West Coast Live” and made a second appearance at Reggae on the River with the group “North Coast Underground”.

 

In 2011 Andrew returned to acoustic music as Piano Andrew and began writing and producing original work from the piano as recorded in his 2018 album “Pretty Cat”, including jazz, reggae, R&B and blues compositions.

 

PIANO ANDREW RELEASES JAZZ/REGGAE/R&B/BLUES “PRETTY CAT”

Piano Andrew has released a multi-genre original solo-piano album entitled “Pretty Cat”.

Guest vocalist Kaitlin Marie joins Andrew for six of the eleven tracks of jazz, reggae, R&B and blues recordings released on April 20th of this year. A newsprint portrait of Andrew’s adopted cat Tigger is featured on the cover. Tigger inspired the jazz instrumental title track.

Another instrumental jazz composition from the album, “Monk’s Top” has been selected as the introductory theme for the YouTube interview program “Radio Gaianym”.

“Pretty Cat” is available to stream or download on all the major internet music platforms, CD Baby’s online store and Andrew’s Website

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Describe yourself as an artist.

I am an original solo pianist playing a wide variety of genres both instrumentally and with vocals.

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Tell us the genre of your music.

Jazz, reggae, R&B, blues, Latin and contemporary classical.

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Tell us the story behind your song.

“Earthstory” is an acoustic reggae feel that lyrically chronicles the fall of the wisdom goddess Gaia-Sophia from the galactic center, her evolution into physical embodiment as the earth, and her current correction as she breaks free from entrapment within the solar system at large. It is the only song on “Pretty Cat” that includes instruments other than piano: congas; percussion; keyboards; and dub-wise ambience.

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Tell us the problems you are facing as a musician.

As an independent musician there are production tools available as never before. However once a creative vision is realized into digital files, it can get lost in the sea of material available on the vast internet and never heard. My biggest challenge…after the immense efforts of writing, engineering, performing & recording, producing, mixing & mastering my music… is finding my audience. It is a long road and I cannot do it alone. This is where companies like Broadpals come in. They can help my work find its way to listeners.

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Discuss the recording and production of the song.

“Earthstory” was lyrically a challenge in that the myth of the pre-Christian mystery schools of Europe, the myth of the fall of the wisdom goddess as salvaged from the Nag Hammadi texts and reconstructed by comparative mythologist John Lash, is a complicated narrative of some 9 episodes.

So just putting it into a popular lyrical form was challenging. The organic rhythmic sense of reggae seemed a natural bed for the tale. Once the essential elements fell into place… the lyric and ‘one-drop’ feel with accent on the 2nd downbeat… it began taking shape.

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List the names of blogs, radio or television stations that have supported you so far.

KTDEfm 100.5 here on the northern California Coast has played my music and been a supporter. “Radio Gaianym” on YouTube has been a supporter and uses a track from “Pretty Cat”.

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Elaborate on your music career, experience and future goals.

I have played on a professional level as a member in various stage bands, since 1992, and have appeared at the largest outdoor events in California: Reggae on the River; the California State Fair; San Francisco’s 4th of July Celebration, National Public Radio’s “West Coast Live” and many other smaller events.

 

Back in 2011 I became dis-satisfied with the quality of amplified music and decided to return to study of the piano, my childhood instrument, which is a solo endeavor. After some deeper experiences as time passed, I decided to record again and this is where I am currently… with the work and approach of “Pretty Cat”, which really is a cohesive album. Despite the multiple genres… as a whole the work forms a unified story. It’s a throw-back to the days of “concept albums”. Anyone out there remember those?

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Brief us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

Sitting at the piano and feeling the instrument’s tones makes me feel good. It gives me a rush of pleasure. I begin from there and I find my way to resolve certain feelings by developing songs that move the pleasure into a series of dynamic moments.

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Brief us the top-secret behind making a hit song.

No secret really as these particular elements are re-hashed annually. The long and short of it: people everywhere enjoy a good story. A song containing lyrics universally approachable and memorable and appealing to the masses of humanity is the common formula: love stories; epic heroism, tales of revenge.

The story-line creates immediate interest and the words are succinctly memorable. If the musical arrangement and production can amplify and match the mood of the lyric and the vocalist’s delivery, if these elements link up emotionally; then an artist has woven the beginnings of a song that has potential to garner listeners’ attention. The best example from “Pretty Cat” is the song “Angel”. A song like “Earthstory” is written without those intentions and has rather different criteria. Not every song is written to be a hit!

 

Then there is the whole marketing and business aspect which is really the determining factor as to what traditionally is called a “hit”. One can write and produce hit caliber songs that never reach the masses. As an independent artist, all I can control is the song-crafting itself. The rest is up to the market and the preferences of those who dictate and control the market.

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Tell the advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Strive for excellence as a musician first. Then you will find value and meaning regardless of your commercial status (known, unknown, etc.) as music is a lifelong endeavor and a rich tapestry of learning. Be uncompromising in what you select to perform and record. The song is the value: not the production. With an excellent song, you are starting with a solid foundation.

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Discuss at length your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have received.

For 15 years I played keyboards in various stage bands on the west coast: reggae, live hip-hop, R&B.  We traveled the west-coast from as far south as San Diego to as far north as Seattle. We traveled as far east as Dallas, Texas. I’ve played the largest stages in the world …10,000 + listening as I sang and played … small dives and everywhere in-between. During that time I recorded tracks for 4 different albums. One of them wasn’t released. We played live on National Public Radio’s “West Coast Live”. All of this was done as an independent artist. We did everything: booking, producing, you name it. As far as awards… the fact that we were selected to play the most prestigious events on the west-coast. Reggae on the River; The California State Fair; The San Francisco Chronicle’s 4th of July Celebration; NPR’s “West Coast Live”… these appearances attest to the level of artistry we attained, despite the lack of representation in the music industry. I don’t regret a thing but am happy to be playing alone at the piano now. It is the ultimate instrument: its tones can match the deepest notes of symphonies as well as the highest. Piano literature is the richest and most prolific of any instrument in history.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

My songs are all composed and well-rehearsed prior to going into the studio. That way I can really cut loose and get creative with the versions I record, which are numerous. I choose various tempos and vocal registers throughout numerous takes. I might try different arrangements or intros on the fly… while the tape is rolling. This keeps things fresh; despite the fact the song’s essential components are well rehearsed. For the most part I lay my vocals as I perform at the piano. The majority of “Pretty Cat” was recorded that way. You can groove things dynamically that way, unlike overdubbing. There is a time and place for multi-tracking, but I only did that on a few songs for “Pretty Cat”.

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Name your favourite artists for collaboration.

I enjoy working with folks who are talented but fresh to the recording process. Kaitlin Marie for instance, who sings with me on “Pretty Cat”, was awesome to work with. She brought an innocence and passion to the session that was refreshing and inspiring to me.

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State the links to your social networks and stores. 

 

Website

 

Facebook

 

Store

 

CD Baby

 

‘Earthstory’ on Youtube:

YouTube

 

‘Earthstory’ on Spotify:

Spotify

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Share your press release and reviews with us

PIANO ANDREW RELEASES JAZZ/REGGAE/R&B/BLUES “PRETTY CAT”

Piano Andrew has released a multi-genre original solo-piano album entitled “Pretty Cat”.

Guest vocalist Kaitlin Marie joins Andrew for six of the eleven tracks of jazz, reggae, R&B and blues recordings released on April 20th of this year. A newsprint portrait of Andrew’s adopted cat “Tigger” is featured on the cover. Tigger inspired the instrumental jazz title track.

 

Another instrumental jazz composition from the album, “Monk’s Top” has been selected as the introductory theme for the YouTube interview program “Radio Gaianym”.

 

“Pretty Cat” is available to stream or download on all the major internet music platforms, CD Baby’s online store and Andrew’s Website

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

First a vacation at a hot springs. Then investments in commodities. Lastly the majority would go in a hidden place under my bed.

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Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base.

I use Facebook, CD Baby and their streaming partners, also Instagram. I have hooked up with a company called Broadpals. I’m hoping to get some exposure through them via Spotify playlists. Time will tell!

I have a fabulous personal website. Please visit http://www.pianoandrew.com. Tell me what you like!

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Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.

I would like to play piano 6 hours a day. It’s not possible as I must teach and perform other jobs to earn bread. So I likely play 6 hours a week. It is a huge challenge to write, engineer, produce, promote… etc., with 6 hours a week. It is a miracle “Pretty Cat” came to be. It takes immense determination.

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State the official date of release.

April 20th, 2018.

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.

Piano Andrew … my name is Andrew (from the Greek, meaning ‘manly’) and I play the piano. Piano Andrew or Piano Man if you like.

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State the title of the song and the meaning.

‘Earthstory’ is the story of the earth … mother earth as earth centered people call her in knowing she is alive and our progenitor. ‘Earthstory’ is the pre-eminent myth of the pagan mystery schools of pre-Christian Europe … the suppressed myth (suppressed by the early Christian church fathers) which describes how the wisdom goddess Sophia plunged from the galactic core to become the living planet we inhabit.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

“Pretty Cat” was chosen because this album is dedicated to our adopted cat “Tigger” who is the prettiest cat (just look at the cover!) you will ever see. Once orphaned, we adopted her. She has taught us about perseverance and the survival of dreams.

 

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