Regular PH visits part of Andy Brown’s ‘life mission’
Andy Brown, the lead vocalist of the British pop-rock band Lawson, had no idea what to expect when he first set foot in Manila in 2013 for a gig. What greeted him and the rest of the group was a huge crowd of fans “singing every word to every single one of our songs.”
“It was unbelievable. We were simply blown away by the response from the fans over there. I mean, I didn’t even think we had fans in the Philippines,” the singer-songwriter told the Inquirer in a recent phone interview arranged by KBeam Events.
The group, which is behind the hits “Where My Love Goes,” “Standing in the Dark” and “Learn to Love Again,” had more of the same “crazy experience” when Lawson returned to the country two years later. “It should be my life mission to visit there as often as I can, and play for the people,” he said.
And Andy is staying true to his promise. The 31-year-old recording artist is set to hold a concert on March 30 at the SM City North Skydome—this time, as a solo artist (call 470-2222).
“I’m really looking forward to going back and seeing new and familiar faces,” said Andy, who has prepared an intimate acoustic show, which will have him performing Lawson hits, as well as some fresh, original material from his debut solo studio album, “Cedarmont,” which features the tracks, “Keeper,” “About Last Night” and “Lay with Me.”
“It’s going to be more up close and personal. It will be chill … and a lot less partying!” he jested. “I love doing full, rock-y gigs. But there’s something special about doing smaller ones. It’s easier to just get lost in the moment.”
Our interview with Andy:
Why did you decide to go solo? I had been with the band for eight years—that’s quite a long time. We felt we needed a bit of a break. And I wanted to come out with my own album and explore a new sound.
But the band is just in hiatus? Just on a break, really—we have not split up. I talk to the guys (Ryan Fletcher, Joel Peat, Adam Pitts) every chance I get. We will definitely make music again in the future. But at the moment, we’re just basically exploring opportunities, and doing our own thing.
How different is your music from Lawson’s? I wouldn’t say it’s too different. There are new songs that are quite similar to the pop songs I wrote for Lawson. But now, there’s a country influence to the sound. I recorded the album in Nashville, Tennessee, so it has a little twang. I have always loved country music.
How did you find yourself in Nashville? I have been there in my past travels. I also recorded some of Lawson’s songs there. I simply loved being there and experiencing the music scene.
The songwriting was amazing. So, I spent about six months there and created new music. I was listening to a lot of Eric Stapleton, Hayes Hunter and early Taylor Swift records.
And were you able to express things that you weren’t able to with Lawson? Not really. I was able to write whatever I wanted with Lawson; I’m the chief songwriter. The main difference was that I used to write more about falling out of love, because I was in and out of relationships and getting dumped at the time. Now, I don’t write about heartbreak anymore.
Is there a market for country music in the UK? Aren’t you worried about possibly alienating old fans? It’s not as big as it is in the United States, of course, but it’s growing. It’s becoming a lot bigger than it was.
I believe my fans are fine with me going country; they’re very understanding.
And did “Cedermont” turn out to be the record you have always wanted to do? I want to do my own thing, write songs I really love. The music in it definitely speaks to me—life experiences, stuff like that. And I’m really happy about that. The response has been amazing so far.
You’ve had health scares in the past (brain surgery to remove a benign tumor in 2009; liver failure in 2014). How did they make an impact on your life? It definitely taught me to live every day to the fullest and not take anything for granted. Enjoy life. You live only once, so it’s great to see the world and visit places like Manila and see fans who love music.
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