Hello! I’m Andrew, a musician, writer, and poet in the Washington, DC area. I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember, but professionally for 20 years. I write songs and poems for both adults and children with the goal to connect with others and spread positivity and light throughout the world.
Music has always been in my upbringing and a very important part of my life. As a child, once I learned how to write I was already creating poetry and stories. I would write little poems as Christmas gifts for my six siblings and parents. In elementary school, I would come home to find my older brother Peter practicing the piano – playing classical pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, and Rachmaninoff, to name a few. Listening to him felt like meditation for me. I would sit there for hours listening to him play. The beautifully haunting quality of these classical pieces seeped into my soul forever.
As I grew older, my father, also a musician who played in polka bands wanted me to learn a musical instrument. Although my father was an incredible musician, he never learned to read music, a big regret he had in life. I decided to try trumpet, my older brother played already and it seemed easier than piano. But my teacher wasn’t great and uninspiring, so I decided to move on from the trumpet.
My father decided to buy me a drum kit in hopes that would spark my musical interest. For the next 5 years, my father taught me every song he knew – from ragtime tunes to polkas to Elvis. He would accompany me on the piano or accordion, singing every song by heart. For each song, he would teach me the melody and explain the feeling of the song and what kind of drum rhythm it should have. I could never forget these songs as they are etched in my memory.
Around the age of 15, my musical interests continued to flourish, and my father taught me the banjo and guitar. He had an old tenor banjo, that I still have to this day, which is a banjo with only 4 strings. Once I learned 2 or 3 chords, I began composing little songs. I started listening to popular songwriters like the Beatles, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan.
I saved up my money to buy my first guitar and a few song books, and soon enough I began writing songs on the guitar. Among my very first songs was one about Abraham Lincoln and a tune that would later become my song “Maggie Millie Molly and May” (after I borrowed lyrics from E.E. Cummings years later.)
While I never formally studied music or guitar, I learned from many musicians along the way. I learned all songs by ear since I couldn’t read music. This led me to have a very keen ear and I was able to play most songs by simply listening to them. I continued to play music and started recording my songs on cassette tapes throughout college and grad school.
When I founded the Oneness-Family School in 1988, music took a back seat for a few years. However, I always kept a guitar around and I continued to write poems and stories even if I was not playing music that much. Many years later, I have now recorded 6 albums and many singles. Music and songwriting continue to be an amazingly fulfilling adventure for me. I have learned that each song has a soul of its own, and I feel like I just sort of usher them into this world and give them wings.