Local San Diego artist, Andrew Barrack, is professionally and creativity on top of his game. From learning guitar at a young age, to debuting his album “In Seasons” just this past month, Andrew has shown the world how intention, meaning, and purpose in music can create a beautiful sound. We got the chance to catch up with him and ask him a little bit about what his musical process is like, and how he combines the business and creative process of music.
1. Tell us a little about your journey. How did you get started in music and what made you want to be a musician?
I was about 10 when I got my first guitar and I haven’t set it down since. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I really started to learn how to properly play by taking lessons (shoutout to Ian Owen and the fine people at Moze Guitars) or watching Marty Schwartz on Youtube. From there, I kept playing through high school and eventually made it into USC’s Thornton School of Music where I studied Music Business. During that time I met some amazing friends and artists, worked at a few labels and had the opportunity to work alongside one of my role models, Andy Grammer. Those moments really made it clear that music is something my life needs to be centered around.
2. During your journey to this point now, are there any major milestones or challenges you faced? If so, how did you go about it?
Milestones for me that I can think of now definitely revolve around my recently released album, “In Seasons”. It was my first attempt at crowdfunding and I’m proud to say we reached our goal and successfully funded the project. I don’t know how salespeople ask for money all the time, but that was a learning experience in and of itself.
That record was 4 years in the making and it’s a very special album to me and an accomplishment that I was able to write something that truly captured what I was trying to get across. The album release party was a great milestone as well because I got to finally showcase all of the songs live to an incredible audience.
Also, some of these tracks have been recently featured on the radio station 91x, so that’s pretty sweet!
3. What or who motivates you to create music?
What motivates me to create is really a desire to express feelings. Whether it’s something going on in my life or just to create a mood. To me, music is such a multi-dimensional feeling and when you find something you can vibe on or with, it’s like being in a different atmosphere. That must be why every time I make something new I listen to it on repeat 30 times in a row…
4. How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?
My usual answer is, “Ummm, it’s kind of like jazz, pop-funk…acoustic……reggae? I don’t know, just listen to it and you’ll hear for yourself!” So yeah if you’re reading this, give it a spin and let me know what I should say haha.
5. If you had to make a playlist that describes your sound, what top five artists or songs other than you would be on it and why?
I find that the artists I listened to more during the early stages of my writing are the ones that my “released” music tends to sound like. So to that I say – Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, John Mayer (or the triple “J” as I call them), early Andy Grammer, and maybe some Donavon Frankenreiter. This “playlist” is something that will constantly change over the development of my music as there are so many other artists I listen to and get inspired by.
6. You just released an album, congrats! What was the process of creating In Seasons like, any big ups or downs in the journey that stick out to you?
First off, thanks! It was a very long journey to get this album out and the biggest challenge for me was learning to be patient. I figured that rushing anything would only hurt the project later on. I set out to make this album about 4 years ago and the goal was to finish 8 months later. That definitely didn’t happen. I made this record with my good friend, Ryan Mowrey, who lives out near L.A. and I was commuting after work from San Diego to his house studio at least once a week. I did that for a few months and then life got busy, he got married, moved houses, I had some opportunities to advance in my job, and our schedules were becoming more opposite. Waiting for those moments to jump back in and record definitely was hard, especially when you’re so excited to show the world what you’ve been working on, but we learned to adapt our workflow and continue working towards the finish line.
It’s only fitting that the title “In Seasons” really is about acknowledging things will come back around in time. Having that be the underlying theme was really cool because in many ways making this album was just like that, so there is no better title for this body of work.
7. What sort of emotions, messages, meanings, or experiences do you hope your listeners gain from listening to In Seasons or watching you perform? How do you go about including that into your sound?
“In Seasons” is the first piece of music that I can say I’m really proud of where almost every song has a meaning or ties to a story in my life. The concept has to do with understanding that change happens. Whether you are stuck in a place in your life that isn’t so great, or everything is amazing, life is constantly changing around us. While we will never know why certain things happen or even what the next season looks like, we need to keep on pushing through and working towards the positive. Only when we do this will things change for the better. While I knew the album would be called “In Seasons” from the start, it took me about a year to even finish the title track because it was a challenge to express the right words.
I hope that when people listen to the music, they can connect to these stories of hope, relationships, and optimism. When people come to see these songs performed live (highly encouraged), they can really pick up on the raw emotion and energy that these songs carry.
8. As of right now, a lot of live performances have been postponed or canceled due to recent events, making the business of being a working musician hard. What sort of ways do you keep working and stay motivated during downtimes like this?
This change of pace has been interesting for sure, but during the downtime, I finally have been able to create more of a studio for myself so that I can get to making more music. I’ve also been working a lot on the back end – getting my website finalized, working on music video ideas, scheming for the grand comeback and virtually collaborating with different artists for what I’m going to call the #QuarantineCollabs series. This is a great time for everyone to hit reset, re-prioritize, and come back even stronger.
9. What does the future hold for you? What should we be looking out for?
Even though the new record was put out only a month ago, I have plans to record again in the next few months. I am absolutely loving the new tunes that are being written and I cannot wait for people to hear these! Also look for more shows, music videos, and occasional memes on my socials.
10. What advice would you give others who are on similar journeys to make their own dreams a reality?
I’ve had a lot of great conversations with friends and fellow creatives about this and I think this question really boils down to understanding what it is you want and what brings you the most joy. For me, I create music/art because it’s what I believe I’m called to do and I will love and continue to do it for as long as I possibly can. So to this extent, a definition of success could be – as long as you continue to follow what your feeling of purpose is and never let that go, no matter the ups and downs, you will always be living your dream.