Don’t compare yourself to other musicians. This one should be self-explanatory. I did this for a LONG time and it hindered my growth as a musician. The quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” couldn’t be more true. It’s so important to focus on our journey and moving forward and not compare someone’s success with ours. It’s important to look at how far we’ve come, even if we have further to go.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing singer/songwriter and cover artist Erin McAndrew. Erin has excited crowds at concert halls, wineries, breweries, colleges, fairs, pubs, charity events and private parties. Originally from Pennsylvania, Erin decided to take a leap to a different “venue” to pursue her musical ambitions and other goals. While attending Hofstra University in New York, Erin was the lead singer of the Long Island-based rock band Tiny Giant, which played the legendary CBGBs (R.I.P.) and other local venues. In this project, she was able to immerse herself in writing, recording, and performing original music. Over the past four years, Erin performed over 150 solo gigs across California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In June 2016, Erin released her first album of original music, Skeleton of Life. Her sophomore release, Stay Alive, was released in February 2018.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Of course! I grew up in a tiny town in Northeastern Pennsylvania with my three younger siblings in an absolutely wonderful family. To this day, we are all extremely close and am blessed to call them my best friends. We lived there until I was 13, and then my family relocated to Southeastern Pennsylvania — a suburb outside of Philadelphia. To this day, it was one of the most difficult transitions in my life. I went from a private school of 400 kids total to a middle school of 1200 kids. Over time, I realized how much this transition in my life would benefit me in the long run. In this difficult time, I realized my true passion for music. It became an escape for me, a way to cope with the annoyances and difficulties of being a teenager. Throughout high school I got involved in musical theatre, choir, and anything that involved singing.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Performing is something that I have been doing for my entire life. I have always loved singing and dancing and was involved in dance classes, acting classes, and cheerleading from a very young age. I was in bands for a long time as well, and found that I wanted to go the solo route so that I had more creative control over my career.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are so many! I would say the one time that I received an email from a cover band that I was in for a while that said that they were going a different direction with another singer because I wasn’t “polished” enough. Again, this was in an email! This was though I had contacted and booked the last gig that we played and had brought most of the crowd. It was an interesting experience that definitely hurt my ego a bit, but I grew from it and became a stronger musician because of it. It also gave me a thicker skin which you definitely need to have if you want to make it in this crazy business.
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?
First off, I want to start off by saying that I consider myself more of a singer than a guitarist. It was nerve wracking when I first starting playing solo shows where I was singing and playing guitar. When I played my first few gigs, when I would mess up I would apologize mid-song and then keep going. When I think back on it, I realize how silly that was that I did that and how most of the times no one would even notice that I even made a mistake. A HUGE lesson I learned is that when I do make a mistake — and I still make them — I just keep going and playing and act natural. If I forget a lyric or crack during a high note, I laugh about it and move on. I am only human and I think people appreciate that I don’t take myself too seriously when I do make a mistake.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Currently, I am writing new songs and am hoping to record them myself! I am nervous about the idea of it, but am definitely up for the challenge! I am also working on some coaching programs as I am also a Performer Wellness Coach where I help coach performers to realize their true potential through goal setting, wellness, time management, and mindset. Many musicians ask me how I book so many gigs on my own. I’m looking forward to teaching people how!
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 diversity in the entertainment industry is SO important and can affect our culture in such a positive and mind opening way. As someone who at first grew up in an area where the population had very little diversity, entertainment can help give people that live in these small towns some perspective and open their minds when they may not know much about other cultures. I think it can also crush the judgements, expectations, and stereotypes that some people have with cultures different from their own.
Since I lived in New York City for 14 years, I was exposed to so many different types of cultures, ethnicities, etc and I truly appreciate that because it opened my mind to so many different types of people and environments.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- There are other venues to play rather than the traditional music venue. This is an easy one to describe because when I first started I was only looking at those types of gigs. Now I play at SO many different types of venues which has made me much more versatile as a musician — and more bookable.
- An email list is key. I didn’t start building my email list until a few years into my career and I cannot tell you how impactful it has been in my career from the simple example of being able to sell more music, but also create a relationship and lasting impact on my fans.
- You don’t need a band in order to be successful. For a LONG time I was in and out of bands because I was afraid of going solo and accompanying myself. Once I went solo, that’s when I found my career began to skyrocket because I was in control.
- Consistency is key. I know this sounds simple but creating a system for myself where I consistently book gigs every week has been a huge gamechanger. It’s so important as working and gigging musicians to keep the consistency going.
- Don’t compare yourself to other musicians. This one should be self-explanatory. I did this for a LONG time and it hindered my growth as a musician. The quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” couldn’t be more true. It’s so important to focus on our journey and moving forward and not compare someone’s success with ours. It’s important to look at how far we’ve come, even if we have further to go.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
My morning routine has been my saving grace. It is time for ME in the morning to work out, journal, meditate, and have time to myself before I answer to anyone else. Time management and creating a strong time management system for yourself is also key. I offer coaching for musicians who are struggling with this very thing!
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. 🙂
One of my other business ventures is Performer Wellness Coaching which encompasses time management, mindset, goal setting, and wellness. I would love to inspire a movement from this that encompasses all of these things in helping performers realize their true potential. There is so much mindset work that goes into this business and once we let go of the ego, I truly believe our potential is limitless.
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?
Yes — my husband! He is my ultimate cheerleader. He has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, is always super supportive, and is my permanent roadie who is at almost every show I do. He’s also honest with me when I’m writing a new song and if it needs work, he tells me. Which I appreciate a lot!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Oh my goodness, there are SO many. Here’s one of my for me that is really impactful. “The 3 C’s: Choice, Chance, Change. You must make the choice to take the chance if you want anything in life to change.” This is so incredibly true. One of the most constant things in life is change. We can either stay where we are if we are unhappy or take the chance and choice to make the change to make our lives better. This has helped me in times where I’ve been unhappy and have been scared to step out of my comfort zone. It’s so important to take risks and the risks I’ve taken in life I have never regretted!
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. 🙂
Living or Dead? If living, I would absolutely love to have lunch and wine with Sara Bareilles and/or Kelly Clarkson. They are such genuine souls and have been major musical influences in my life. If dead, Walt Disney hands down. I am a huge Disney fan and I think it would be so interesting to sit down with him and hear his journey including all the ups and downs, ideas, etc.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!