We caught up with up & coming singer & songwriter, Andréas, who is currently completing his EP at Cosher Recording Studios.
Andréas hails from the DRC, and has lived in Ghana and the U.S. As an artist, his first peak of interest in music as a career choice began in 2006, at age 17. Since 2013 he has also been an acoustic guitarist, having decided that singing on its own wasn’t enough to fulfill his passion for all things musical. He has followed his passion back into the recording studio to test the waters with the song ‘The Blame Game’, and since 2016 has been recording his EP. He is passionate about all music and is an avid listener to just about anything musical. His goal as an artist at this point is to join the ranks of the Grammy holding African Singer/songwriters.
After a short gap, and the momentum achieved from his first unreleased single, Andréas officially releases his next single, ‘Mr. Fiddler’, produced at Cape Town’s own Cosher Recording Studios.
At what age did you start to take an interest in music?
The first time I acknowledge that I could sing, was by my mom’s reaction when she heard me singing along to a French Celine Dion song; ‘Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore’, which was playing on the radio at the time. I was probably 7. I can’t quite remember anymore, but I was between the ages of 6 & 8. Next thing I know, we had guests over one time, and she couldn’t stop talking about how her little son has a singing voice. She hyped me up so much that, the guests had had it with her and wanted to hear me sing. All I remember was, I was somewhere, probably playing with dirt; my mom grabbed and brought me in front of these strangers and asked me to sing the Celine Dion song I was singing a few days prior. Long story short, I had the scare of my life, ran to my room, and never sang in front of my mom again. By the time I was 10-11 years old, she placed me in a Catholic choir, where I sang alto, and sometimes tenor cause puberty hadn’t hit yet, and surprisingly at the time, I could keep up with the highest tenors in the choir. And it was at the age of 18 that I knew and made myself a promise to one day grow the balls to pursue a career in the music industry “if I don’t die young”.
Where did you grow up?
I lived in my country of origin till I was 16. Then my family moved to West Africa; precisely in the capital city of Ghana; Accra, in March of 2005. Being the typical teenager that I was, I thought my life was over. Being abruptly uprooted from everything I’ve ever known only to move to a place that I was everything but me. Plus; we were French natives, and that’s all we spoke then. And Ghana is an English speaking country. Without even getting me a tutor at home, I was sent straight to an International high school once the new academic year started that same year in September. I guess my parents had more faith in me than I did. Cause looking back at it, I eventually was the first to speak the language, beside my mother who was already bilingual since her childhood cause she came from a good family. And four years later in 2009, I got accepted to a university in America, where I studied and worked over the course of almost 7 years, before deciding to move back to my parents’ home in 2015. By then they have been living in Cape Town since 2009 as well. My purpose at this point was to regroup myself and figure out what exactly I wanted to do professionally for the rest of my life; and most of all, be happy…cause I wasn’t getting any younger. Although corporate America was good to me financially, I was slowly but surely dying on the inside. It just wasn’t me. I was miserable…luckily I snapped out of the denial of it all before I got any older. And here I am in Cape Town now.
When was your first performance?
My first proper performance was when I was probably 17 or 18 years old in a nightclub. I was part of a hip hop group back in high school; everybody was rapping and I was the only singer. I don’t quite remember how we did it, but somehow we managed to get a couple of our songs to play regularly for a little while on a local radio station, and before we knew it, we landed our first gig at some nightclub in the scary parts of the hood, and brought the roof on fire (as in we killed that performance); so much so that I remember after the performance, these old groupies (probably in their mid 20s, but to us they were ancient) started chasing us around; that was hilarious. Now that I think about it, all these events happened so quick, that they almost seem like a flash! Almost like they never happened.
What college degree/s do you have?
I only have one degree, a Bachelors of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Organizational Communications. That is if you have to state it in its “full glory”; but in short, I have a degree in Public Relations.
Do you have any music related degree/s?
Back in 2010 I took classical voice training for a year, and it was the best thing that could have ever happen to me, and the best decision I’ve ever made to date. I still use the techniques I’ve learned then, to this day. Because before, I used to sound very nasally while singing (ironically, now it’s only when I speak lol), and taking those lessons really helped me learn breathing techniques while singing and how to use my diaphragm (so that I don’t sound nasally), so on and so forth. But I never received any certifications, “if there are any”; I believe there probably are, because I had to stop after a year. They were rich people classes. Way-over-my-head expensive; especially in America.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?
As I mentioned above, I made myself the promise to maybe give it a shot one day, back when I was 18 in 2007. And I partially revisited the career decision back in 2014, but I fully committed around 2015-2016 when I finally told myself, “Ok Andréas, it’s now or never…get your shit together, and do it. Not just ‘do it’, but do it right, and give it your 110%”. That’s when I wrote ‘Mr. Fiddler’.
What genres or types of music do you like to listen to
I listen to everything but Metal…literally everything, but Metal. I grew up to French pop rock music with artists like Johnny Hallyday, Yves Montand, Claude ‘Clo-clo’ Francois, Patricia Kaas, Garou, Alizee, Zazie, to name a few. Also, being African I also grew up listening to legends such as Youssou N’Dour, Fela Kuti, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Miriam Makeba, Papa Wemba, Koffi Olomide again, just to name a few. Toni Braxton, Boyz 2 Men, Brandy, etc. The first hip hop song I’ve ever heard was ‘California Love’ by 2Pac, I will never forget that day. I was still in Kinshasa, my uncle came to pick me up from school. And somewhere on the way home, he puts in the tape, hits play, and the song started playing. It was like I was struck by lightning. I was shooketh, in the backseat the entire song; and it’s only now that I realized that, that was when I had my first eargasm. From then on, I was obsessed with urban American music to this day.
What type of music do you like to create and why?
I wanna create all kinds of music. I want to explore all kinds of genres for as long as I live and God allows me to do this for a living. But until the big doors open, I’ll keep on singing off of my phone’s audio recorder and notepad (my own songs).
What is your goal for your career in the next 5 and 10 years?
5 years at least 2 LPs under my belt, and touring the world. 10 years working my way up and getting closer than ever to joining the short list of OG African singers with Grammy’s.
What artists have influenced you?
Brandy, Lebo Mathosa (I don’t think even she realized how musical she was, that’s just what I think. Cause in my head she was ‘That Girl’…as Azealia Banks would say; may she RIP), Britney Spears (yes, believe or not…I started dancing after I saw the Crazy music video haha), Usher, Chris Brown, Phil Collins; the list is so long, scattered, and messed up, you can’t even begin to imagine. Let’s see who else, Da Vinci, David Copperfield, Tina Turner, Mahatma Gandi, just to name a few. The list is so messed up, everybody inspires me. Hell, even the homeless man down the street inspires that living light out of me.
Have you released an album or singles before?
Albums no, singles; yes, but not officially. The Blame Game by Andréas Muntu back in 2015.
What have been the challenges of your music career?
I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason; therefore I don’t look at, nor encounter challenges, but blessings in disguise instead. We are sole authors of our lives, so if you chose to name obstacles (that are meant to make you stronger and better for the next one) challenges then good on you; I choose to call them mere trials. Like for example; I thought I was well on my way to getting a record deal back when I was 18-19; but parents happened, and I ended up on the path of education instead; which was a blessing in disguise, otherwise I wouldn’t have been this keen & skilled in life. I auditioned for the X Factor US in Kansas City, Missouri on the year Britney Spears & Demi Lovato joined as a judges for the first time, back in 2012. Didn’t even make it pass the preliminary auditions. I remember my behind scenes judge (who happened to be Brian Friedman) told me “you’re good, but you’re not there yet…please come back next year”; so I went back to my drawing board and practice some more, obviously I never went back. But now, whenever I hear “Light Camera Action!” I make sure to not only deliver, but serve above and beyond what was expected of me. Truth of the matter is, I’ve just been told ‘No’ so many times to this point in my life, that I am now forever ready, Mr. Miyagi style! And I definitely think that I am ready for the next level now. Because, there’s only so much growth I can attain on my own before finally getting the exposure needed in order to transcend into the legend in the making realm…if I’m making any sense.
What has been your highest high and lowest low?
They have yet to happen…so time will tell. Cause in my head, I’ve only been bootcamping this whole time. And I’m talking, professional music industry wise; so let’s all stay tuned…you and me both.
What are your hobbies and passion?
Well my passion is music, there’s neither hiding nor denying about that. But some of my hobbies are food: cooking and eating (of course) different cuisines from all over the world. Filipino cuisine is my fav thus far in my life, precisely Pancit Bihon and Halo Halo (pronounced Hahlo Hahlo). And anything related to real estate really: buying, selling, renting/letting, building, renovating, and restoring, I’m obsessed with them all. Tbh my hobbies change and grow with age as far as I’m concerned, but these ones have remained constants over the years.
Besides music what do you like to do in your free time?
Sleeping…haha straight up! And a dirty glass of wine, brandy, whisky, or bourbon don’t hurt nobody every now and then.
Are you going to be releasing a single/album in the future? If so, when?
I have a single out, called Mr. Fiddler. The first single off of my debut EP which is due next year 2018; if all goes as planned, I’ll say it will be out by April already.
Please describe your song Mr Fiddler. What inspired you? How did you start and write it? Were there any other co-authors, producers, composers
On this record, I am talking about the sacrifices a person takes while transitioning from young to a full on adult. Most of the time; the sacrifice is always dreams and aspirations, by settling down to a 9 to 5, because the bills have to be paid. Also, sometimes (not that this is wrong but) children happen and they become the center of your world…and before you know it, you’re 45+.
When I wrote this song, I was reflecting on myself; like “do I really want to pursue this music career full time, and put marriage, children, friendships, family, and so on, on hold for a little bit?” I’ll leave it up to you to guess what my answer was.
I wrote the song back in 2015, but didn’t finish writing it until 2016. And finally recorded it in July of 2017 with Cosher at Cosher Recording Studios.