Triple success for Inverurie singer songwriter

Joan Armatrading: Andrew pictured with the singer before opening her show in Fleetwood during her nationwide tour.
Joan Armatrading: Andrew pictured with the singer before opening her show in Fleetwood during her nationwide tour.

It has been a phenomenal year for Inverurie acoustic singer/songwriter, Andrew Brand who has just released his first EP ‘Stories from the Suburbs’.

The record made its timely debut to coincide with the 19-year-old’s appearance on stage supporting Joan Armatrading on one of her 56 UK and Ireland tour dates.

A taste of the big time has refuelled Andrew’s desire to make music, and the third year Petroleum Geology student is currently filming his first music video which comes out mid-November.

The video features his self-penned song ‘Head in the Clouds, which is also the leading track on the EP.

Speaking about the Joan Armatrading tour, Andrew told the Herald: “Early in 2012 I saw an ad in a local paper. Joan was looking for local acts to open various shows on her tour. I went home and recorded a song, sent it off and ended up getting a place at Fleetwood.”

He added: “More than anything it has improved my confidence. It made me feel it’s what I want to do and has encouraged me write more songs.

Andrew is influenced by a variety of artists, yet still manages to maintain a unique sound of his own. Having been brought up in a musical environment, with his father and mother playing acoustic guitar and piano respectively, Andrew started playing piano at a young age and began to learn guitar at 11, as well as experimenting with other instruments.

Throughout his teenage years, Andrew wrote songs and played gigs at various venues in and around Aberdeen.

Early in 2011 Andrew entered the ‘Live and Unsigned’ music competition. He progressed through the audition stages held in Glasgow and later went on to a regional showcase final. He progressed further in the competition and went on to represent Scotland and North-East England in the semi-final held in Newcastle, and found himself just one step away from the grand final which was to be held at the London O2.

Andrew said: “When I didn’t get through to the final of Live and Unsigned, I didn’t know how to take it. I was so close to having a chance to win the £100,000 prize money but when I didn’t get to the final I didn’t pick my guitar up for quite a while, but when I read about Joan Armatrading, I decided to give it a shot.

“I was blown away that I got on to her show. I played a half-hour set and got a great reception as well as great feedback from Joan. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, really down to earth and she sat and talked to me in my dressing room before the gig.

“The audience was phenomenal - when I sat down to watch Joan’s gig, I found myself amongst them autographs. The experience has given me the confidence boost I needed to keep writing more songs.

As well as Andrew’s own EP, all 56 acts made a compilation CD which is on sale at each of Joan’s tour venues.

Both the compilation CD which features Andrew’s song ‘Calm in the Face of Chaos’ and ‘Stories from the Suburbs’ are available on iTunes.