Andrew Neil Interview

When did you decide that a career in music was for you?

Music really became my premier occupation after a bad car crash in April 2009. Before that it was all about sports…but after the crash and the near-death experience I guess I wanted to express my self and leave something behind for prosperity. 


Who are your musical inspirations and why?

Some of my musical inspirations include jazz saxophonist Lester Young, Bob Marley, Elliot Smith, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Jimmie Hendrix, The Beatles, and Lincoln Park. All of these artists embraced who they were and, in that process, created music that was authentic; I ultimately strive for the same thing. 


Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?

1. My blood type is B+. I think God did that on purpose because one of my missions in life is to try my best to always be positive.

2. I write some of my best songs after prolonged periods of sleep.

3. I write children stories in addition to songs!


What song of yours best describes you and why?

“Sorry Kyle” off my first studio album best describes me. One line goes on to say “there’s much more life I won’t waste it/ hope is in the air swear I can taste it” The song goes on to describe a past psychotic episode and me calling out for redemption. I guess I chose this song because it is about redemption and that is what I am about as well.


What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?

There is a local music venue here in Charlottesville, VA called The Front Porch. I have played there a couple of times and have really enjoyed it. The people are kind, and the atmosphere is relaxed; plus they raise money for great causes!


If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?

Anywhere in Europe or the UK because I would have to travel, and I love to travel. Plus, I’ve always wondered how people across the pond would react to my music.


What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?

My best achievement to date would have to be maintaining my mental stability while still nourishing loving relationships as well as creating art. It has not been easy, and I have come so far and currently am just enjoying the journey. In the future one tangible goal of mine is to be inducted into the Song Writer’s Hall of Fame. I would like this honor not as much for myself as for my dad who has really been in my corner since day one. It would just be very validating. 

Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?

One time early on in my musical journey I was playing at this tea shop. Anyways before my gig I asked for some tea, the lady brings me the cup and I go in for a sip and I burned my tongue bad. I did not realize it was so hot. So, I played a whole show with a burnt tongue. Luckily with time it healed but now I am always cautious around tea especially before shows!

What do you like best about being a musician and why?

The best thing about being a musician is I can pick up a guitar at anytime and express exactly how I am feeling. It lets things out and is very therapeutic. I can also write songs that give off hope and make people happy…so in way I find some of my self-worth through being able to play music!


If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?

Touring the world with my dad.


What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?

Seeing Richard Thompson play a couple of times was eye opening. You can see the immense amount of time he spent perfecting his craft and set an example for me to follow. I’ve met him as well and he is very humble, so it is just cool seeing someone so great stay down to earth.


What would your ideal festival lineup be and why?


What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Both of my grandfathers always told me to “take my time”. I think this advice is so important now a days because everything seems so rushed. I just try to take my time like they told me to and I find the more I do it the more I notice the beauty of life.


What things make you happy and what things annoy you?

A good meal, a glass of wine, petting my cat, and writing a new song are some things that make me happy. Spending 8 months in jail has taught me to enjoy the little things; I tend to believe appreciation and happiness go hand in hand. One thing that annoys me is disharmony between people because at the end of the day we are all people.


What things do you like to do when you are away from music?

I like to cook, take nature walks, write poetry and read.


Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?

Yes although I am no expert. People all over the world can now access new music with a couple of clicks and I think that is cool because at the end of the day getting your music heard is what it’s all about.


How important do you think you look, and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?

I tend to believe the sound you create and the message you have is the most important aspect that the industry considers…although I might be a dreamer.  


Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?

On my right shoulder I have a tattoo of the word “Veritas” which is the Latin word for “Truth”. 

As songwriter and as a human being it is a reminder to try to always search for and embrace and tell the “truth”. I believe the ultimate truth is love.


If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?

I would declassify all the reports and documents about aliens and U.F.O.s because we all deserve to know the truth.


What would your ideal day consist of?

Go to the beach with my loved ones, eat some good seafood and write a hit song!


What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations? Can you tell us how this has affected you personally, how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there? 

The lockdown gave me more time to write songs which was nice, and I am thankful to say that my family escaped unscathed by the disease. But my heart goes out to all those who lost someone they love. I suppose my message to them is my belief that the end of this life is like a setting Sun.  Although it goes down out of sight it rises somewhere else. 


If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?

I am humbled that you are a fan! Humbled because being a fan involves a certain amount of love. Thanks for diggin’ my tunes.


How would you answer the question Who are you and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music?

There is no difference at all…with me what you see is what you get.


What was the first record or song you purchased and why?

Bob Marley the Gold Album. It is just so uplifting.


What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?

Just try to find your appropriate role. Whether it is writing songs, playing lead guitar, a vocalist or playing drums ect. Just find your calling and try to master it all while maintaining a good sense of who you are and who you want to be.


If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?

Eric Clapton. I would love for him to interpret some of my songs and incorporate his incredible musicianship into them.


If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?

“Yesterday” by the Beatles. I would choose this song because it resonates with me so well.

What things make you uncomfortable?

Any kind of abuse; Animal abuse, child abuse etc. 


If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?

Some of my mistakes and how I learned from them and details about each phase of my life.  I’d like to have some drawings of mine in the book as well.


What has the rest of the year got in store for you?

I am currently working on an acoustic album and when that is done, I would like to play out as often as I can! We are also working on a Book of my Lyrics… “The Lyrics of Andrew Neil”   I have written over 400 songs since this journey began.