The most important for me are believing in yourself and working hard every day to make your dreams come true. For sure, everyone is entitled to a bad day, but I think it’s important to learn to be professional early on and still work and keep moving despite those bad days.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Andrea.
Music is Universal. The words Skopje and Macedonia rarely arise when you speak of modern music. In fact, no artist has reached popular success outside the borders of the former Yugoslavia. Andrea is on a different journey than any before her. Her overarching goal is to transform her audience through the power of music — to help them discover who they are. Andrea’s voice touches your soul.
Born 14 February 2000, her love of music began at age 5, when her parents moved to Harlem for a one-year program. Her earliest recollections are the gospel, soul, and R&B she absorbed, which transformed her into a life-long music lover. The daughter of a law professor father and a physician mother, her parents expected her to follow a “respectable” career. The primary support for her passion came from her grandfather, who unexpectedly passed away when Andrea was 9.
Her debut release, “I Know,” was the feature of a premiere in a prestigious UK music blog, Blackplastic, which described “I Know” as a love song that quivers with the excitement of an instant attraction. Andrea has been featured in other music blogs in the US, Poland, and Russia. She has been interviewed for Radio and Podcasts in Holland and Mexico. “I Know” has been played on over 100 radio stations around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, France, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and others. In addition to 300k views on YouTube, her music has been streamed over four million times on TikTok. In just a few short weeks since her debut release, Andrea has already become the most international of Macedonia’s music stars.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in a small country called Macedonia in the heart of Europe. I was like any other kid experiencing life one day at a time. I was brought up by amazing parents who worked very hard so that my brother and I could what we needed. My dad had the opportunity to study in the U.S., so we moved to New York when I was 5 years for a about a year. That’s where everything changed for me. Being in a place that’s so different from what you know is so terrifying but at the same time so interesting and beautiful. I remember going to kindergarten and there we were kids from different cultures and ethnicities. That really opened my eyes of how different we were, but in a way that we embraced our differences, learned from them and at the end of the day everyone felt accepted.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always loved music in a way that’s not comparable to anything else in my life. Ever since I was very young, I remember singing to music and having fun, but I never knew that I had something special that I could possibly share one day. Things changed for me when I was 17 years old.
Until that point I was singing and posting videos on Social Media but still lacking a lot of confidence in myself because I didn’t think I was good enough to put myself out there more. But then I was called in the studio from Aleksandar Masevski, who’s now my producer. From then on everything changed. He gave me the a boost of confidence and the ability to believe in myself, so for that I’ll be forever grateful. And from that point on we started working, and I’ve never looked back.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Well I got invited to be a guest on a show in Tirana, Albania and that was the most amazingly crazy experience I’ve ever had. Albanians love music and show business, and you can see that in the number of stars that have Albanian roots, including Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Ava Max, and Bebe Rexha. I’m used to doing interviews in English or Macedonian, but obviously the show was in Albanian. I had a translator who spoke to me through an earpiece, while I had to look the host in the eyes and correlate everything with the camera. It was super intense, but the very enjoyable. The host was hilarious — he’s been in show business a long time, and I think it’s probably the most popular entertainment show in Albania. He treated me with a lot of respect, and it was amazing how many people reached out to on social media after the show from Albania and from the Albanian diaspora. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to go back one day and be a guest again.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
For me, the funniest thing is I mistake mistakes all the time, so it’s hard to pick just one. The best thing about mistakes is that they are a learning experience. If you use them that way, they’re not really mistakes at all, but just one step on your path. Probably my biggest mistake was not believing in myself earlier. It took me a while to grow from that and I now I am at a point that I won’t let anyone tell me that I’m not good enough to pursue my dreams no matter how impossible they are.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I’m in the process of writing my first album. That’s very exciting because everything is happening so quickly. I’m coming from a place where I have never been in a studio before to recording a full album. That’s crazy just thinking about it, plus every song on the album is very different. We didn’t go with one specific sound, we wanted to experiment a little bit through voice and music, but also finding the sounds that work the most for me. You find yourself asking a lot of questions about the things you’re doing and with hard work the answers will come.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think it’s very important for us to be more open to the idea of working together as one. We are the new generation and honestly I’m very happy to see that there is an initiative to push the fact that there needs to be more diversity in the industry. There’s been some progress in the last couple of years, but the industry needs to do more to reflect the diversity of the audience. It’s not just about giving artists the opportunity to perform and record, but also creating opportunities for diversity in the management of labels and platforms. It’s important that every child can identify with a character on stage or screen but also on the business side, regardless of their background or self-identification.I feel there are still heavy stereotypes being driven from the industry side in the sake of “marketing,” but when those that are making those decisions don’t have diversity, it’s robbing others of choice and creating unrealistic expectations.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Wow, this is this most difficult question, because I feel like I’m still starting and still making mistakes every day. Definitely, the most important for me are believing in yourself and working hard every day to make your dreams come true. For sure, everyone is entitled to a bad day, but I think it’s important to learn to be professional early on and still work and keep moving despite those bad days. Another is to really believe in the power of team work. It’s just impossible in the modern era to do everything yourself. I’m happy that I sing, play instruments, and write music, but there’s so much more to creating a final product than that. A fourth is to not give in to critics. A lot of people are making music and producing, and it feels like everyone wants to critique every aspect of the music we make, as if it somehow makes them feel better about themselves to offer criticism instead of something constructive. And the fifth, I’m just gonna leave open, because probably tomorrow I will learn something new.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Well because for us music is a job, one that we enjoy very much, we need to have some other hobbies in order to relax. Finding the perfect balance is impossible sometimes, but finding what motivates you to be a better version of yourself can go a long way. For me personally I like to wake up in the morning do some exercise and then go on about my day. My body is awake, I feel more energized, and I feel like I can perform better. It’s normal to push yourself when you’re passionate about your work especially when you can’t think of anything else, but if the stress is becoming way too overwhelming take a step back, breathe and when you feel better continue.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m not gonna say anything new honestly, but I am young myself and I see kids younger than me who are struggling with this, so if I could make a difference in the Mental Health Movement it would be something I’ll do till the day I die. Mental health doesn’t take a day off, and unfortunately there’s still a tendency to label someone who is struggling as having something wrong, when it’s actually completely normal. These are very important issues that we should not be ashamed of talking about. Don’t assume that you know everything about your friends and family members, and if you do know please don’t judge. You’re not in their skin, you’re not in their body, and you’re not in their mind. You never know what someone is going through even if they try to explain it to you, you still cannot know, so it’s very important for us to create a safe environment where everyone can have all the support they need. A big influencer in my country recently posted that “happiness is a choice.” That’s really unfortunate, because if it were that simple, everyone would choose that — no one chooses to be sad. My escape has always been through music. I hope that people can find comfort with my music or someone else’s, but I would definitely like to get more involved in raising awareness of mental health.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful for so many people. First of all, my family. My parents created an environment in which I can learn and grow and can challenge them. On the music side, I’m extraordinarily grateful to have a producer with such experience and talent. Despite decades in the industry, he is constantly learning and pushing me to be better. And finally, I have a team and friends who support me every step of the way. They put their hard work and energy into everything they do, so that I can be closer to my goals. I’m also very grateful for my friends and the support I’m getting which is growing each and every day. I am truly blessed and without any of these people I wouldn’t have been able to have the success or continue to have the success that I have.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote of all time is “If you wake up in the morning and can’t think of anything but singing first then you’re supposed to be a singer girl.. That quote right there is from one of my all time favorite movies called “Sister Act 2”. Funny enough this was the movie when I was first got introduced to Lauryn Hill and from then on she’s one of my biggest inspirations.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
This would have to be Hayley Williams because I’ve been inspired by her since I was very young, and I would want nothing more than for her to be my friend. There’s so much I can learn from her and she just seems like a very chill and awesome person that I could vibe with.
How can our readers follow you online?
I try to be everywhere online — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and also have a website. So whatever is their favorite, I wold love if they follow me there. But most importantly, listen to or buy my music on their favorite streaming platform. And hopefully one day when the world is in a better place, they can check out a live performance!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you so much for the interview and the thoughtful questions!