The first time Andrew sang was in his church in 1976 at the age of 4. He stepped to the very front, his toes hanging just over the edge of the stage and sang his song. When the crowd applauded him he just kept smiling and bowing to the crowd until he had to be removed from the stage.
“Growing up if you told me to go left, I would go right”, laughs Andrew. “If you brought me into a room and said there’s one door that I absolutely cannot open, that’s the first place I’m heading.” And just like the legends he admires, from Bennett to Presley, Andrew knows what it’s like to hear a door close as well. He has survived the roller coaster ride of touring by refusing to let others, or the music business define him. The Andrew Martin story has always been about making that leap of faith with no net.
Early in life, Andrew’s love for music was evident. He has fond memories of his parent’s taking him to the gospel sings at Massy Hall in Toronto. His Uncles had a Gospel Quartet that performed around Ontario, Canada, and an old record player in his childhood home where he would sit and play record after record of Elvis Presley. All of these influences are what ended up shaping who Andrew was, and now is, as an artist. When he was 13, he picked up a pair of drumsticks and by age 15 was traveling on the road with different groups playing drums. It was with the last group Andrew was playing for (in 1997), as they were in the recording studio making their debut album, he heard the lead singer say “we need a nice high tenor harmony over my vocal. We need to find someone to do that”. Andrew responded with “I’ll do it”, and less than an hour later his vocals had found their way into that recording. This started a transition in Andrew making him want to become the front man in the band, stepping out from behind the drums and being a background vocalist, into the spotlight. His trepidation came when he would think about not having any formal training as a singer or songwriter, so how could he do this? He read a biography about Lionel Richie, whom, after sitting in numerous studio sessions with Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Smoky Robinson, where Lionel began to ask questions. In his innocence, Lionel once asked Marvin Gaye “Which music conservatory did you graduate from?” Marvin responded “Little brother, I cannot read or write music.” This opened up Andrew’s thinking. If Lionel Richie & Marvin Gaye, who at that time were one of the most creative singers / songwriters, couldn’t read or write music, then maybe he should try to achieve success as a singer / songwriter as well. It was at this moment that Andrew Martin, vocalist and drummer added singing and songwriting to his repertoire.
“I am humbled by the tremendous impact my music has had on people’s lives”, says Andrew. “People have shared some very heart-warming stories of how my music has affected and helped them.”
Andrew’s very first solo recording, “Follow You” in 2000, won two awards from GMA Canada for “Album of the Year”, “Song of the Year” and he was nominated for “Inspirational song of the Year” & “Male Vocalist of the Year”. In the following two years he went on to win 4 more awards from GMA Canada for 2001 “Male Vocalist of the Year” & “Inspirational Album of the Year” and in 2002 “Album of the Year” & “Song of the Year”. In 2002 Andrew also won “International Artist of the Year” from SGMN in Springdale, Arizona, USA. Over the next six-year span from 2000 – 2006, Andrew released 4 albums, garnered 15 nominations through multiple industry events as well as having 3 songs place in the top 15 charts in the US and reaching number 1 & 5 in the European charts. With all of these prestigious awards, nominations and charting success Andrew also found the time to be one of the top 5 artists for World Vision Canada for helping children around the world find sponsorship, all while touring and performing 150 plus concerts each year.
Most people would be content with the accomplishments and career he had, but Andrew constantly insists on pushing forward and marking new territory in his musical legacy. It is of utmost importance to Andrew to maintain a personal growing relationship with his fans, who he definitely values as one of the many reasons for his continuing passion in singing and touring.
In 2011 and 2012, Andrew was contacted by RGA Productions to join the cast of “Return to Grace” at Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, for a show that captures the life of Elvis from the early years through to the famous “Aloha from Hawaii” concert. It is there that Andrew met Steve Michaels (Elvis) and a friendship formed, all while performing a remarkable 24 sold out shows each year.
In 2013, Andrew continued to live out his passion for the music of Presley with Steve Michaels and his TVB Production team, showcasing the many different eras of “Elvis Presley” from his early years, to “Comeback to 68″”, “Madison Square Gardens”, “Aloha from Hawaii”, “Wonderful World of Christmas” through to a fantastic show called “Grace to Gloryland” encompassing the Gospel music that Elvis loved and recorded.
Andrew’s latest three recordings, “Departures”, “Departures Live DVD” & “Amore” albums are a collection of some original material as well as inspired choices of others’ songs, from Golden Globe Award-winning “The Rose” and “The Prayer”, to songs from movies “Just In Time” (1960 film – Bells Are Ringing) & “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961 film – Blue Hawaii) right straight through his explorations of songs in Spanish and Italian “La Preghiera Del Signore”, which spotlight his singular talents as a masterful interpreter. Andrew’s voice brings a truly personal stamp to a song with his hidden talent to take a good song and make it amazing.
With each of Andrew’s projects, he assembles and partners with other world-class singers and players that have toured with the likes of: Ann Murray, Bruce Cockburn, Joe Cocker, André Crouch, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi, Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, The Bee Gee’s, John Legend, Sting and many more. Andrew recorded an enchanting duet with Jazz sensation Laila Biali.
Whether being part of a cast of singers to head lining his own concerts, Andrew’s artistry has endured him to audiences worldwide, but he is always expanding his reach into new territory. Any of the hundreds of thousands who have attended one of his shows know that the concerts were at turns playful and intimate, and affectingly powerful, with equal measures of musical virtuosity and spirited spontaneous personality.
His ability to connect with his audience emotionally is undeniable. It’s his personal experiences that are his inspiration when writing new songs and picking material for a show. To know Andrew’s story all you have to do is listen to his songs. The response to Andrew’s music has been overwhelmingly positive and applauded here at home and all over the world. To be able to bring a personal stamp to any song is what makes Andrew so loved by audiences and his fans.
Hope to see you soon,