Small town Georgia boy Andy Velo is making a name for himself in country music…releasing his new single “God Made A Back Road” which is continuing to climb country radio charts. Since, the release of his self-titled EP in 2012 Andy has hit the ground running at full speed, performing and spending time with his fans.
We had the opportunity to sit down with the up and coming star on being compared to the likes of Garth Brooks, being sponsored by Jim Beam and even dabbling his hand in a little acting…this guy is the next big thing! Check out what he had to say here:
On his newest single “God Made A Back Road” and it’s more traditional country sound…
I believe every song is different and you have to do what is best for the song itself and I couldn’t have seen doing “God Made A Back Road” any other way than what we created. In all honesty, I wouldn’t say I tried to stay “traditional,” I just decided to start writing and recording songs and sounds I enjoy, I definitely wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. I have always gravitated towards that fiddle and steel sound and really wanted to bring that out in my first full record, call it an evolution in my sound.
Right before I started writing for this record I had a moment where I looked at some of my recently played playlists and they all were full of everything from Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt to George Strait and Clint Black and I thought to myself, “Why am I not genuinely writing and recording stuff like this?” All that said though, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this record. I think we did a great job meshing where country music has been, where we are now, and where we are headed. I couldn’t be more excited to bring that to you.
On his likeness to the great Garth Brooks and who has had the biggest influence on his music…
I would absolutely say Garth probably has had the largest impact, although I wouldn’t limit it to just him. I’ve always studied Garth since I was young. The songs he’d record and write, his live shows, the way he manages his brand, I think he is absolutely someone who I strive to pattern myself after. But in Country music there have been several that I feel like I have taken something from, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Jerry Reed are a few.
Guys like McGraw, and Chesney who have both created brands and sounds and then continued to evolve to span multiple generations. Even artists you may not have ever heard of before, I’ll hear a song or a record and I’ll listen to it over and over to try to find what about that song or artist made me feel the way I did when I first heard it.
On his sponsorship with Jim Beam and what that has meant to his career development…
I mean, the obvious answer would be the bourbon haha.. But in my 6 years of working with them, the experiences that relationship has granted me as well as the unconventional ways to reach my fans. Everything from free downloads on the product itself to live shows in areas where there would have been one traditionally. The education of the products themselves is also something that you can’t pay for and I appreciate. Learning them backwards and forwards to represent them as a Brand Ambassador is a real privilege and it allows us to move our partnership outside of just music.
On “paying dues” as an up and coming artist…and how he never quit…
I’ve started to think the process of “paying dues” never ends really but I’ve had to pay some so far for sure. Double (sometimes triple) writes in a day, trying to stretch a dime into a dollar, being gone for weeks at a time, crashing couches, etc. Things like piling 5 guys in my truck to drive 800 miles to one show, play the show, drive another 200 miles after the show to get halfway to the next, stop and grab a hotel for a few hours and wake up to drive to get there in enough time for sound check. I definitely can say I know what it’s like to love Ramen noodles. I have had several moments where I was almost at my breaking point but that always seems to be when another prayer is answered or when another door, or at least a window, opens up. My consistent prayer is that when it’s my time to move on, that will be evident and my faith hasn’t led me down that road yet.
On receiving accolades from those that he highly values…
Yes, it’s always nice when we are out on the road and the act that we are opening for tells me how much they enjoyed the show and look forward to having us back out or how they want to setup a write together. I think for me personally the coolest experience was when we were with Sammy Kershaw, who was one of my favorites as a kid, in Virginia and after the show me and the guys were on the bus when I heard a knock on the door. I went and opened it and there was Sammy standing there asking if he could come hang. We hung with him for hours just listening to stories and his advice, it was pretty surreal.
Garth Brooks or George Strait?
Oh man, that’s like asking who you voted for, only it probably would have been a better ticket had they run together… That’s honestly not something I think I can answer because as many times as I’ve watched Garth’s Live from Dublin and Live from Central park and listened to the Double Live record on repeat, I’ve probably equally watched Pure Country and George Strait Live! as well as worn out Strait’s 50 Number 1’s record. Can’t we all just get along?!
Fun fact about Andy fans may not know about him…
I did a few movies and some stunt work. I did football stunts for The Blind Side and We Are Marshall as well as a few made for TV films. In addition, if I weren’t in the music business, you’d probably find me coaching High School football. I started coaching an 8-year-old team when I was still in High School, following that I was lucky enough to take a 7th grade squad all the way through their freshman year. It’s definitely something I miss.
What we can expect from Andy Velo in the future?
I’d say that they can expect more of what I’ve tried to build from the beginning. I’m unapologetic about the fact that everything about my brand is built for the fans, the record, live show, connectivity on social media, all of it. I feel like if you lose sight of that, you need to find a new job. If they aren’t buying into what you are doing, then you don’t have a product and I also feel like some people might be a little tired of feeling like they are being spoon-fed what they are supposed to like in music. So, to answer your question, I think they can expect me to be around for 30 years because I have every intention of being.