Andrew Allen is a national performer known for his hit songs, Loving You Tonight, Maybe, Play With Fire, Thinking About You, What You Wanted and Where Did You Go? Sat down for an interview with the Revelstoke Current to discuss his careers from the days in the Grizzly Bear Square to a national platform with Bruno Mars, The Barenaked Ladies and Rachel Platten.
Current: How did you get started in your music career?
Allen: I’ve been playing music since I was little…started with piano, played sax through high school and got a guitar when I was 16… played in a punk band for a few years, but really made the turn to professional in 2008 when my wife and I sold everything we had, quit our jobs, bought a minivan and started touring back and forth across Canada… when we had been across enough times in a year, we booked the UK and went there for a couple months every year… it was a ton of work, but it was a ton of fun.
Current: You performed in Revelstoke back in the day before your career took off, how old were you and what were you singing then?
Allen: That was back in those early days, 2008/2009… It was still the same vibe of music, maybe a bit more Jack Johnson/Jason Mraz leaning… and probably too many words in every song!
Current: How did you get your footing in a business known to be cutthroat and use them up and on to the next hot performer?
Allen: I think for me, it was always just about the song, and performing the song… the song had to matter to me, had to be about something that was real, and something that I thought was important… and performing has always been what I love to do and feel born to do… because of this I’m usually pretty happy if I have a huge audience or a small one, as long as people are able to connect to my music… which makes me appreciate when the industry is working in my favor, but also gives me an out when the industry isn’t being friendly. It all comes down to genuinely enjoying what you’re doing, if you’re chasing a dream of being the next biggest thing but aren’t rooted in what you feel passionate about, you’ll do anything to get there, and probably feel kinda empty once you are…
What was your biggest highlight in your career thus far? What was the lowest point?
Allen: I’ve had some pretty fun highlights… opening for Bruno Mars was rad, opening for Train was rad… But one of the biggest highlights to me was when I literally lost my voice at a show in Vancouver with Carly Rae Jepsen and assumed everyone would leave but instead, they stayed, and they sang every word to every song so I didn’t have to. My lowest point was probably coming off the high of my single Loving You Tonight doing so well, and trying to figure out what to do next… that put me in a weird tailspin of confusion… didn’t love that so much.
Current: How do you time manage with your travel schedule and with your wife and daughter?
Allen: I really try my best to get as much done as humanely possible on the road… for instance; I’m writing these responses from a hotel in Medicine Hat where I just finished a gig… I want to spend the time I have away from them writing, responding to business stuff, prepping for shows… so when I’m home, I’m really home and I can commit the majority of my time to them.
Current: Who was the biggest star performer you had the privilege to work with?
Allen: Bruno Mars is definitely up there, Andy Grammer, Train, Barenaked Ladies, One Republic… all of them were awesome and it was a privilege to share the stage with them.
Current: Who do you like to collaborate with the reader would know?
Allen: I’ve gotten to write with some awesome people, like Rachel Platten, Meghan Trainor, Carly Rae Jepsen… but one of my favorite collaborations was with a guy named Jason Reeves. You might not know him, but he wrote Bubbly with Colbie Caillat, and he’s just a super genuine dude with some incredible talent!
Current: What advice do you have for the aspiring musicians of Revelstoke?
Allen: Work on your craft… keep digging into what you want to say and how you want to say it… and one of the biggest things is don’t compare your raw materials to someone elses’ finished product… it’s so easy to compare a half written song to someone’s single… forgetting that they probably wrote 100 songs to get that one… so keep going.
Below is Allen’s Where Did We Go, a collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen.