INTERVIEW: Andrew Allen

There is something about Andrew Allen. The music, the positivity, and the dedication to his craft that makes his live performances stand out. After a busy summer of playing solo shows and opening for the likes of Lights and Nick Carter, he has released a new single – “Satellite”, from his upcoming album.

He took some time out of his schedule to chat with us about fans, one of his most memorable shows, his playlist, and… the weather? Happy reading, and keep posted for an exclusive Andrew Allen contest coming up this week!
. Our blog focuses primarily on Canadian artists, and we were wondering, which Canadian artists inspire you?

Andrew Allen: There’s a ton of Canadian artists that I really respect. One I really like, his name is Colin Bullock. I don’t know if he’s considered a Canadian artist though, he’s from Australia but he lives in Vancouver now. He inspires me – he’s very creative. Bryan Adams. I know he played in a bunch of bands before he got famous, and he’s stayed true to who he is, so I think that’s a really big thing to stay focused on. Michael Bublé – I think he’s really cool too. He stuck to what he does instead of deviating from it and conforming to be something that he’s not and I appreciate that.

A: There are two characteristics I associate with you. The first is that you’re really optimistic and the second is that you’re really connected to your fans. How important is it to you to maintain that relationship with your fans?

AA: You know, it’s interesting… I got stopped not too long ago in a grocery store and somebody said, ‘Oh, can I take your picture? I’m sorry you probably get bothered by this all the time… I’m sorry, I’m sorry…’ and they kept apologizing. And I thought, ‘No, don’t feel bad asking me because if nobody’s asking me, then that means that something’s not working.’ I write songs, I can keep them to myself, I can keep them in my basement and just have them for me – but I don’t want to. I want to be able to share them and hopefully they affect change in somebody else’s life.

Fans are so important in the way that if they appreciate the song and it means something to them and they appreciate the artist behind the song, I want to make sure they know that I appreciate them for being there. I’d say that is one of the most important things to me is fans and friends, and making sure they know that I care that they’re there.

A: You’ve played a couple of shows in Vancouver over the last few years, there’s one in particularly that sticks out, even in my mind since it was the first time I saw you live. It was last December at The Media Club…

AA: That was the first time you saw me live?

A: Yes, and it was a memorable night for you right?

AA: I played a really early morning show on Global TV, and it felt good except for my voice was feeling a little bit crackly. So I tried to give it a rest throughout the day, but for some reason I got laryngitis before the end of the evening. We did soundcheck, and I was like, ‘Boy my voice is really rough!’ and by the time I took the stage, I had no voice. I was super scared everyone was just going to leave, and by the third song they hadn’t. I was already blown away, and by the sixth, seventh song when I didn’t even have to sing anymore, and everyone was singing the words back to me – it was so emotionally touching.

I was actually at a point in my career and in my life where I was kind of like, ‘You know this music career is really tough sometimes, and I don’t know if I’m connecting and if it’s really working’. And to play that show, it really made the spark happen again where I thought, wow, people do care, and they’re there, and they like the music and it means something – I gotta keep going. That was one of my most memorable experiences performing live, ever.

A: So aside from that time you lost your voice, what can people usually expect from your live shows?

AA: A lot of talking (laughs)… with a voice! I really like to have a lot of fun. My songs are all written from a real honest place – they usually have stories that go with them, so I will tell the stories that go with the song. Just fun, upbeat music. By the second chorus, I hope you already know it so you can sing along with me.

A: Speaking of the stories in your songs, if there was a single message you would want your music to convey, what would it be?

AA: I don’t know if there is a single one, but there is definitely a common theme. There’s definitely a lot of optimism and love throughout my songs, and I think love is one of those things that you can’t explain, and you can’t understand – that’s why there are so many songs about it because everybody just tries. From my life, I’ve been raised in a great country and in a great family, so I don’t have anything to complain about. When I do, I don’t feel that I necessarily have to give that back in music-style, I’d rather give something positive for people to remember.

A: Your music video for “I Want You” features your wife Julia and was filmed right here in Vancouver. How did the concept of that video come about?

AA: When I even wrote the song, I kept thinking this is such a song of chase, you know what I mean? I remembered seeing a movie once, and I cannot for the life of me remember what the movie was – I think Reese Witherspoon was in it, and the guy was totally in love with her but she was running away or something. She’s in a cab and he’s on a scooter, and he’s chasing her – and I thought, that is the perfect concept for this video. We worked together with the director to develop something that would work well, and I love Vancouver, so I was like, ‘Let’s get to downtown Vancouver, and just guerrilla-style it. I’m just going to run through the city, and you’re going to film it, and I’m going to chase after this girl that I can’t let go.’ And it worked!

A: How did you manage to get a sunny day in Vancouver to film?

AA: (laughs) I honestly don’t know! We got so lucky, and it was breaks of sun because I definitely got rained on. Those moments, all those pieces that we used ended up being sunny. That was mind-blowing!

A: Yeah, when we were watching it, we thought, ‘Oh, how did he get all the sun in there? It’s Vancouver!’

AA: It’s like The Real Housewives of Vancouver – why is it always sunny in Vancouver?

A: What do you have planned for the rest of 2012?

AA: Well the world is going to end this year, right? So I’m just going to throw it to the wind and go for it. The music industry is just so awkwardly up and down, you’re kind of on top of the bike or under the wheel. It’s just a matter of riding it and enjoying each part.