Courtney Marie Andrews is a well respected and talented singer-songwriter. She was nominated for “Emerging Artist of the Year” by the Americana Music Association in the United States this year – you may also have seen her on Later… with Jools Holland. GIGsoup were very fortunate to catch up with her for an exclusive chat when she was in London earlier this month.
Welcome, how have you been since you were last in the UK?
Yeah, I’ve been mostly touring. I’ve done a little bit of writing in between. I’ve been on the road for sixteen weeks now. It’s been along road.
How do you preparefor long periods of travelling?
I don’t really prepare, I just hit the ground running. I’ve been doing this for a long time now. It just feels like that’s right, always being on the go. There’s also a lot of camomile tea, honey and trying not to talk as much.
Now I’m wondering, where would you like to go just for a holiday, just for yourself?
I’ve always had this deep daydream about going to Machu Picchu, Peru. I love South America. I think it’s so beautiful. That’s probably my number one.
You started writing songs at an early age, so do you remember what the first song you wrote wasabout?
Yes, my first song was actually about my friend’s little boyfriend, when were about thirteen. He was a player! I wrote about that. From the beginning I’ve always written about friends, personal stories and stuff.
When did you discover you can play and sing, when did it become real for you?
I’ve been singing since I was a kid, the playing part didn’t come till later. I was about twelve when I picked up a guitar. I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be an author when I was a kid. So when I found out you could write and sing, it was really such a magical moment. It was because of this punk band I was in.They didn’t have a writer. Nobody would write – I would be the only one that would come back with songs. That’s when I discovered I could do it.
Talking about yourearly days, you were part of Jimmy Eat World, what did you learn about the craft of song writing and performing when you were part of that group?
I learned that about the music business and about performing professionally. I learned so much from touring with them.
Top three things?
Don’t put your stuff on the couch, clean up after yourself. Be kind and nice. Try and be accommodating to everybody around you. But also,just confidence. Having confidence in yourself as a performer, to be able to step out and do my own thing. That’s probably the number one.
When you started writing for your latest album, ‘May your kindness remain’, what thoughts were you trying to capture. What was inspiring you at the time?
I was trying to paint a very honest picture of America and how so many people are struggling. Financially, but also mental illness and depression and how they are able to love each other through that. The community that American make for themselves, that sort of thing. The songs are about empathy and connection, human connection.
Which of the songs really flowed or was easiest to write? ‘
May your kindness remain’ came out very quickly. That song I wrote in about twenty minutes, that one came out very quickly. I was actually staying at my Godparent’s house in Washington State. I just had dinner with a friend, got back and wrote it. It came to me after the dinner.
So, on the other side of that, what was the song that was kind of difficult to write, or took more effort?
Yeah, ‘Two cold nights in Buffalo’ was a story I was making up about a traveler making their way through Buffalo, New York and seeing the change in the city and how it evolved after time. It took a little more thought, it wasn’t so clearly driven by emotion. I had to craft it, so that took a while.
So what are your hopes for 2019?
I hope to write a lot, record. Just work on my music and my craft.
Quick Fire Questions:
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Peace or passion? Passion
Morning light or sky at night? Morning light
Road home or the open road? Open Road
Chocolate or strawberry shake?Chocolate
Words or pictures? Words….. both