EARLIER THIS WEEK, I got the chance to sit down and talk to Andrew De Leon about everything from his original start as an artist on America’s Got Talent, to his inspirations, and – what’s this? A new album in the making? For fans of this modern day rock star, and for the man himself, things are about to get electrifying.
1. To begin, let’s talk about your time on America’s Got Talent. What originally pushed you to audition, since you’d never performed publicly before?
ANDREW: Well, at the time, I wasn’t doing anything. I think I was getting ready to go to film school, actually, that’s what I originally was going to be doing. I do remember seeing the ad on television, and I thought about it for a little while before I even went, because I’d never done it before, I’d never performed in front of anyone. So, it was either a “you can do it, and possibly get laughed at”, because I didn’t have a second opinion on my voice. I honestly don’t know what exactly pushed me. [laughs] Insanity, probably.
2. And how did that experience affect you as a musician?
ANDREW: I didn’t consider myself a musician at the time, but looking back at it, it introduced me to a lot of different styles of music, and meeting different artists as well. It is a ‘go big or go home’ kind of thing. So, while I was there, you see everybody else who’s dedicated, and really owning their craft and their talent, and I saw that and thought it was really inspiring – so it made me more passionate about what I do. So, yeah, I think it’s probably annoying how passionate I am about my music now!
3. Speaking of, your voice, and your overall style are both extremely versatile and unique. Would you say you lean closer to one specific genre, or do you consider your work multiple genres?
ANDREW: Oh, it’s definitely multiple, because it’s inspired by multiple genres. The Opera thing was clearly what everyone knows me for, but at heart, I’m a huge metal head. I listen to a lot of heavy metal, and rock and roll; but I also listen to classical music, and jazz, and all of this different stuff. So I wouldn’t ever specify, especially my style of music. I guess if I had to, it’d be rock and roll. But rock and roll in itself can be many different things, it’s derived itself from so many different genres and sub-genres as well.
4. Your first album, “Black Lights”, was released in the later part of 2013. What were some of your inspirations for the album?
ANDREW: The strange thing about that album was that I was still in a place where I felt like I was constantly being a victim, and that’s what I wrote about. All the lyrics were kind of crying out for help, and I felt like other people could probably associate themselves with that, and relate to stuff like that. Growing up, I was constantly feeling like a victim, so that was all I knew. That album came out about a year after I was on the show, but even then I didn’t feel like [pause] I mean, I didn’t win the show. So I didn’t feel like a winner, so I was still in a really dark place. That’s why if you look at the lyrics on Black Lights, it’s kind of lonely, kind of sad. Not to put down the album at all though, because that’s where I was, it’s the most honest thing I could do at the time, was to write about something like that. It’s really funny, because the next album is definitely not inspired by anything sad anymore.
5. In the past few years, you’ve acquired what seems to be like a pretty loyal fan base. Has that helped your journey as an artist in terms of motivation?
ANDREW: Absolutely! Everybody’s really cool. Fresh off the show, everyone was pretty ticked off when I did Black Lights because it was so different- sounding. There was pop, and there was rock, and there was classical all mixed together, so a lot of the fans became not so loyal anymore. They thought that I should just stick to opera, and I’m just not that type of person. I don’t stick to one thing. That let me know who the real fans are, because the real ones have been there since the beginning. It’s like they’re waiting every single day to see what I’m going to do next. They know I’m promoting this new record that I’m working on with Brian [Mertz], and they’re very excited about that. I’m very excited about that! It helps me all the time, I’m constantly trying to communicate with them, and let them know that I’m always thinking of them, and hopefully they’re thinking of me. [laughs] But yeah, I love them, they’re great, and it’s always inspiring. You create something for them to enjoy, as well as myself. First I think “What would I want to hear?” and then I think, “What would they want to hear?”, and I try to combine those thoughts together and create something that we can all enjoy, or dance to, or go crazy to together.
6. And finally, Andrew, what’s next for you?
ANDREW: Well, I think that’s something everybody’s been wondering. There’s still so many fan pages dedicated to me, which is great, and they’re constantly asking, “Where did he go?”, as if I disappeared or something. [laughs] But I didn’t. The thing is, some people think I just did the show, did the one record and then gave up. That’s not the case at all. I’ve actually been really busy working on new music, and finding new producers and writers. I just formed my band, and we did a show back in October of last year, and it was great. It was the most fun I’ve ever had being onstage, and not by myself. We were like a team going up there. So I have the band now, and I can’t say yet, but I was recently signed to a label, which is awesome. That will be announced later. They’re very understanding, they’re very rock and roll, they get what I want to do and it’s pretty freeing – not being tied down and told, you can’t write about that, you can’t sing that way and what not. So what’s next is this new record that I’m working on called Dark Tales, and it’s very inspired by heavy rock. I wouldn’t say it’s new metal at all, but some of our band-mates are very influenced by that style as well. It’s pretty cool having those styles and interests of music coming together to make something. Hopefully we can get that out soon. I like it! In the past I wrote a lot about being a victim, but in this album it’s very empowering. The music means something to me. It’s not just loud rock for the sake of just “being rock.” Some songs are about love, and honestly, some songs are about sex – but I don’t think I could ever write a song that’s sexual and have it be explicit; it’s more intimate. It’s the way I write. So that’s what’s next, and I have other stuff up my sleeve that I really wanna try, but I’m gonna see if it works first. *
Keep up with Andrew on his official website – www.andrewleodeleon.com