EXCLUSIVE: Andy Citrin Talks Music, Getting Discovered and More

There are so many up and coming artists that you might forget a lot of their names very easily. We’ll make sure that you don’t forget Andy Citrin, up and coming artist that is all about being your authentic self and breaking away from stereotypes. ECHO had the chance to chat with Citrin about his music passion and so much more!

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

How are you doing?

Pretty good. I came to LA two days ago, so it’s definitely an interesting change.

You’re working on music right now, what is the style of music you’re working on?

It’s soulful, a little bit of funk, a little bit of R&B. For the most of it, the heart of it is soulful music.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Is it similar to the music you’ve already released?

I would say that I’m actually a little bit annoyed by my content that’s public, because I don’t think those songs represent my artistry.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

What makes you say that?

I’ve always been a more stripped back, soulful. I would say my best quality comes out in an intimate acoustic guitar, low key setting. I don’t think it’s captured yet on any of my songs that are on Spotify right now.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Your song “Dance Monkey” cuts out at the end, almost as if the radio had bad signal. What made you want to throw that in?

It added to the energy of the song. The song itself, it actually has to do with the fact that I’m a little annoyed by the songs that I put out. The original song I put out called “I Fell In Love Again,” which I wasn’t a huge fan of, it started doing well, it has a bunch of plays, so I would be dumb to take it off, but I was very annoyed that I got pinned as a pop/sugar-pop, Justin Bieber-esque type of brand that I wasn’t going for. I want all of my art to be a lot more meaningful. I’m not picky about my music, but that song did not make me feel excited or anything, I just thought it was catchy. I ran it to a producer and wrote it and recorded it when I was 16, I’m 21 now and released the song when I was 18. My producer completely made it what it was, he made it kind of that spunky, poppy, radio hit. I put it out because it was cool because now I have a song, I’m young, kind of naive, don’t know what I’m doing yet and then it kind of caught on. As I develop my style more, I realized that’s not what I’m going for, it’s almost bad that it’s blowing up because people are going to expect a certain thing and to take it back, that’s what “Dance Monkey” is about, to say I’m not a dancing monkey, basically what I’m saying is that I want to play what I want. I want my art to represent who I am and not have to meet anyone’s expectations. To get back to your original question, that cut out at the end of the song, the song itself is really short and the thing at the end of the song, you’d expect that to be the final chorus but I kind of did that to be like, no you don’t get that. I also wanted people to go re-listen too.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

You got into the music industry at a young age it sounds like. When did you get started?

I’ve been writing songs since 6th/7th grade, so really young, but I started playing music when I was in first grade. My mom kind of forced me to do piano lessons and then drums and then guitar and then when I got to Middle School, especially in South Alabama, art is not really common there, it’s celebrated but it’s not expected or common so if you have some kind of talent it kind of wows people, that’s what started it. I played a lot for my family and then gatherings or at parties, some high school stuff and along the road I kind of realized that I had something people liked, I had an ability to connect with people, so that originally has always been my dream, being able to reach people with music.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

I love the title of your EP Songs in the Attic, what inspired the title?

They’re all kind of old songs that I sat on for a long time, some of them I made before “I Fell In Love Again,” or around the same time. The reason I called it that was because they were songs I was going to release in 2015/2016 but then decided not to and then went back to them, some of them are even voice memos, I thought it would be really cool to have these old things, so I made it that to kind of give it that.

Do you have a favorite song off the EP?

I would say “Company.” I would say at that time and now it’s the most representative of what I’m trying to go for with my style, not so how it is musically since it’s a voice memo but the actual song itself is sentimental and meaningful.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

If you were to set up a fan in a setting for them to listen to your music, what setting would that be?

Probably low key, like a lounge type. A very intimate setting where there’s just a couple of people where I don’t even have to use the microphone because that way it can be delivered the best.

You worked on a movie earlier this year?

I was going to school in Nashville, I’m from South Alabama. I decided to leave school for a year to focus on music the following summer. I went home, and I got a shitty day job working for a moving company while I was making music. I had just taken a break from Belmont University, a music school, so I was trying to take a step back from it all. I was working a shitty day job on purpose to force myself to not want to end up working a day job, to make myself realize this is what happens when you don’t work hard. No disrespect to them but for me that’s not what I want to do. I wanted to forcefully make myself suffer a little bit, but it ended up to my advantage working there because one day we moved out stuff for a man named Scott Lumpkin, who is one of the executive producers for the movie and a bunch of other movies. He was actually the man who hired Lionsgate Productions, he called them and said we need a film crew, he paid for it all. I started talking to the family more and the wife gave me a number for a low-level job on the movie, like assistant for the movie. Long story short, I ended up getting a driving job picking up KJ Apa every night and every morning. The first or second day, we became buddies right off the bat. He got in the car and five minutes into the drive and introduced himself and asked if I loved music and I said, “yeah I love music, I play a bunch of music too,” and he asked to listen to it and played “Dance Monkey,” and he really liked it. Later that day he came up to me in front of the directors and said that he was thinking about my music all day and he said it in front of the directors which kind of took their attention. So, we just became friends and invited me to move into his trailer and chill when he’s not shooting a scene. I was his assistant, but we became buddies and started hanging out. Then I started playing in front of him and sometimes producers, even the Lionsgate representatives was there. It was just so perfect because it was not an official thing or anything, we were sitting on the ground in this circle passing wine around. It was so exactly how’d I want that to be. I got to do that multiple times and it was always KJ and Brit Robertson and Melissa Rogers. He started putting me on his story and then executive producer, Scott Lumpkin, who originally gave me the job took his interest because he owns a record label as well for sync licensing to get the songs and bands that he works on and he puts them in the movies that he works on and just make more money off of them. So, I’m currently working with him and so I’m not in school because they told me as much as you’ll commitment, we will reciprocate. So now I’m working on a bunch of music and if they like it they’re going to push it for sync but more importantly, which is the coolest part, he’s partnered with Sony Orchard, which is Sony’s publishing division so now, I’m currently here making music for them. So, it’s really a super lucky cast situation, it’s about being consistent but it’s also about taking that lucky opportunity when it’s there.

Who are some of your musical idols?

So, my lifetime of music started with Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz type music. Then it turned into more blues, really kind of soulful music such as Leon Bridges, Alan Stone, Jack Johnson, The Beetles, Daniel Caesar, Anderson Paak, Coldplay when I was a kid. I did go through an Ed Sheehan phase and I was not super proud of that, but I can’t deny that I did that.

Being from South Alabama, and working on music in Los Angeles for the first time, what is that feeling like?

It’s awesome. I had no idea what to expect honestly and I’ve only been here for two days but it’s definitely culture shock. It’s really cool though, because in the Bible Belt, Alabama and Nashville are both the same area, that’s why they call in the Bible Belt, even though Nashville is considered the LA of the south, it’s still a very cookie cutter area and everyone is kind of doing the same thing, there’s not a lot of open mindedness. There’s a lot more of that “don’t stand out” mindset there. Whereas in LA, you are expected to stand out, which is cool, you can do whatever you want.

What can we expect next?

I have plenty more. I’m actually really excited because I got this early on traction and I haven’t really, in my opinion, released anything worth listening to, but I have a lot of stuff and thankfully Sony Orchard is finally helping me to push. This music is the most honest to my sound. I’ll probably release two or three singles and then put out a full record. I probably have a record and a half worth of music, like twenty songs.

What’s one inspiring quote you’ve heard in life that you want to ECHO out to your fans?

To anyone looking for some sort of advice or even to myself, is to not be afraid to be that weird kid or the one that people don’t understand. If it’s something that you feel true about, those people are usually the ones in life that make big movements or make a real impact. 

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