Andy Z, winner of Disney Family's iParenting Media Award for Outstanding Products, is a singer/songwriter and children's performer who combines music, movement and storytelling to create an experience that keeps kids engaged and adults entertained. His music has been heard on NBC's Today Show and his music and performances have been featured in the Pandora Video Series and on the Pottery Barn Kids Stylehouse website.
Kids (and adults alike) are invited to enter the imaginary world of Andyland where they can sing-a-long, dance and have fun with the “residents”- Squirrely Squirrel, Girly Squirrel, Cecil the Dragon, Como C. Llama, and Timmy Train, to name a few. With four award-winning CDs and a live-action DVD, Andy Z songs and performances can be enjoyed whenever or wherever you are!
Andy's personal musical experience which has taken him through San Francisco State University's classical and jazz music programs as well as the SF Bay Area club scene as a solo performer and founding member of the alternative rock band Tinman, has given him this ability to write and write well in different genres. He still writes and submits songs via Sonicbids under his secondary genre of "Rock".
And it is this songwriting talent together with his inherent gift of G.A.B.-
Going out of his way to create plays on words in his stories and songs
Affecting his voice to do a wide range of characters in his imaginary world
Being someone that kids want to talk to, connecting with kids from the heart
that has earned him multiple awards for his music (he also likes acronyms, which is why I thought I'd present it this way) including Disney Interactive's iParenting Media Award for Outstanding Products (2008- Return To Andyland, Summer In Andyland albums) with "HOT" distinction and Parents Choice Foundation Awards (2004- Welcome To Andyland, 2007- Summer In Andyland). His music has also been featured on NBC's Today Show in multiple Halloween holiday segments.
As a performer, Andy has shared the stage with The Sippy Cups, The Banana Slug String Band and Dr. Noize among others. He performs both as a solo artist and with his band "The Beeheads" and dancers "The Queen Bees". These high-energy shows are not to be missed!
To request a full Digital or Hard Copy Press Kit, e mail: email@example.com or call 650-298-9530
Andy Z (solo): guitar & vocals (stereo backing tracks incorporated when needed)
The Andyland Band:
Andy Z- guitar & vocals
Sweet Eddie B- keyboards, sound samples & vocals
Doctor Steve- electric guitar
Dan The Man- drums
Niki K & Shawnis Upon-us
Jennifer & Kathryn, the Queen Bees
TINMAN/ANDY ZAMENES (rock)
From 1995-2002, Andy released 3 classic/pop alternative rock CD's with his band "Tinman" yielding the standout track "Princess"
which spent 6 months in the Top 20 on garageband.com. During this time, Andy also released a singer/songwriter acoustic CD entitled "Andy Zamenes"
His latest single entitled "El Camino" is scheduled for release as a single in Jan 2012.
ANDY Z (kindie music)
Andy Z's Halloween Album "The Grand Scream Of Things" is scheduled for "official" release Oct 1, 2012. It will be available Jan 2012.
The album is being produced by Grammy-nominated producer Tor Hyams ( www.tor.net ) and features guest kindie artists RhymeZwell and Candy Band's Paula Messner.
Frosty The Snowman (2011- digital single)
Ooga Booga (2011- digital single)
Unisong International Songwriting Contest- Honorable Mention
Sing & Dance With Andy Z- video (2009)
*****Recipient of the 2010 Creative Child Magazine Seal Of Excellence
Summer In Andyland (2008)
****2008 Disney Interactive's i Parenting Media Award Winner with "HOT" distinction.
- "Red Balloon" received and Honorable Mention in the 2007 Singer/Songwriter Awards
- "Little Timmy Train", 2008 West Coast Songwriters Assoc. Honorable Mention- Children's Music category
Return To Andyland*** (2006)
***2008 Disney Interactive's i Parenting Media Award Winner with "HOT" distinction.
- 2005 International Songwriting Competition Finalist
- 2005 Great American Song Contest Honors Award Winner "Mr. Cricket In The Thicket" &
- 2005 West Coast Songwriters Assoc. Winner
Welcome To Andyland** (2004)
** 2004 Parent's Choice Foundation Recommended Award Winner.
- 2006 Children's - 1st Place Song of International Narrative Song Competition,
"I Went To A Party With Dinosaurs"
* The song "Pumpkin Patch" has been featured the past two years on NBC's Today Show in multiple Halloween holiday segments. Go here to view two of them:
Mr. Cricket In The Thicket
I Went To A Party With Dinosaurs
Race Car Drivin'
Down By De Station
Little Timmy Train
Roll Roll Clickety Clack
Sticky Bubble Gum
Boogie Board Boogie
Paulina Sees Angels
When You're A Dog
- Red Balloon
- Mr. Cricket In The Thicket
- Rocket Trippin'
- I Went To A Party With Dinosaurs
- Galaxy Song
- Race Car Drivin'
- Down By De Station
- Little Timmy Train
- Roll Roll Clickety Clack
- Alphabet Rhyme
- Squirrely Squirrel
- Ooga Booga
- Pirate Song
- Sticky Bubble Gum
- Boogie Board Boogie
- Pumpkin Patch
- Paulina Sees Angels
- Planet Potty
- Spring Has Sprung
- Hi Mr Snowman
- Water Song
- Without You
- Alien Girlfriend
- When You're A Dog
- Punkin Patch
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
- Download print quality (high-res) version (Right Click -> Save As)
Interview with Kindie Rocker Andy Z!
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If you are unaware of who Andy Z is, he is one of the most heavily booked and requested children’s m...If you are unaware of who Andy Z is, he is one of the most heavily booked and requested children’s musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past 10 years, Andy Z has entertained, engaged, and energized children and parents from San Francisco to San Jose and every place in between. Whether his stage is in a children’s library, a preschool, a mall, or outside under the sun, Andy Z’s highly contagious personality and amusing giggle grips all those who watch and listen.
How long have you been performing children's music?
I tell everybody I started doing children's music about 10 years ago, but this time I decided to check my gig calendar to confirm, and I'm pretty close! I started playing at Angelina's Daycare in San Francisco on March 26, 2002. So it looks like I just passed my ninth anniversary of playing for kids and families, although the seeds were planted a year or so earlier I believe. I began mixing children's songs into my sets at local farmers’ market shows. It was the kids who stopped their folks to watch me, so I thought I'd start playing specific songs for them. Kid's are so much fun to play for. It made those 4 hour famers market gigs a lot more fun for sure!
How does performing live make you feel?
Like I'm truly connected and living in the moment. That's how kids are naturally, and I'm just following their lead.
What does it take to be a successful children's musician?
Well, the first thing I needed to do was take the leap of faith. There are many who do what I do who are much more established on the national stage than I who still have a day or night job. When I decided to go into family music, I had just gotten laid off from my IT support job a year earlier, and had already decided I was going to make a go of doing music only.
What I found is, whether you have another job or not, but particularly if you're doing music and nothing else, you have to learn how to run a business and how to balance that with being creative. It's not an easy thing sometimes, at least until you have a team of people doing the business stuff for you.
Speaking of being creative, you have to lose the shyness and don't lose your self-esteem just because you have a "bad" gig. Musicians of all types can identify with that. This is key with kids especially, as the are already "open" for the most part, and the more you put yourself "out there" for them, the more they will respond in a positive way. So the clichè saying is true, "Be yourself!"
Why do you perform with a 12 string guitar?
I've always loved the sound of 12-string guitar, so full, so harmonically rich. The tone is mystical to me. There is a practical reason too. From the time I was doing unplugged gigs indoors and outdoors, I found that the 12-string provided much stronger accompaniment to my voice when performing solo. Once I went with12-strings, I couldn't go back!
What has been your biggest success as a children's musician?
This might sound canned, but it's so true. A show where I'm able to reach kids and folks, get them up and moving, laughing and playing is the biggest success for me whether it's 20 or 2,000 plus, making the connection is the biggest reward, however, playing for 2,000 plus is quite a rush!
I suppose one big success in regard to my music getting recognized was receiving the Disney Family iParenting Media Award for two of the three albums in the Andyland series. At the same time, my feeling of success wasn't so much because of the awards, but more that it prompted me to reflect on the accomplishment of successfully creating an "imaginary" world with music and characters, and being able to see that accomplishment as a culmination of musical adventures contributing to the whole.
What has been your biggest flop as a children’s musician?
My biggest flop was a private party I did when I was still doing many of them. It was one of those "setup for failure" type scenarios. The kids were hugely apart in age range and many were hecklers, object tossers and puppet grabbers! I could have used that chicken wire in front of me like the Blues Brothers had in that country bar! But even that gig had a positive ending. More than one of the kids came up to me "in secret" after the show and said they liked it. It wasn't "cool" for the older ones to say that around their peers.
What are some of your sources of inspiration (other than the kids)?
Other than the kids and the things they say and do, my inspiration comes from many places and many influences. I'm into everything from jazz standards and big band to The Beatles and Gustav Holst, and classical music to seventies funk. Beastie Boys to European folk. You get the idea!
Where do your song ideas come from?
I do believe that I draw from my influences when coming up with new songs, but many of them come to me in the morning when I'm halfway between asleep and awake. I guess that's when the muse can reach me.
What do you think about the current state of kid's music, as compared with 20-30 years ago?
As compared to back when Raffi was the most well-known children's troubadour, there are a lot more artists playing family music, and getting recognized for doing so, at least it seems that way. I think it's great that most contemporary music artists writing songs for kids write songs that are enjoyable for the adults to listen to as well. After all, the adults are also the ones who have to listen to track nine on Return To Andyland one hundred times during a car trip!
What is something you might like to change about the kid's music biz?
More national and television exposure for the many independent kindie musicians that are every bit as good as the signed musicians who have been created to fill a time slot. I'd love to see a national kindie music program or even an entire channel on cable. There's already a national kindie music conference called Kindiefest devoted to developing and supporting these artists.
I'm going to Kindiefest this year for the first time, and I have another connection there, the cofounder of the Kindiefest conference and Grammy-nominated producer Tor Hyams who is producing my fifth studio album, a Halloween adventure scheduled for release October 1, 2011
Where can you see Andy Z live?
If you would like to see Andy Z live please visit www.AndyZ.com to see his performance schedule.
Bay Area Kindie Rocker Andy Z!
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Andy Z Live Cutting through the cacophony of echoing voices and footsteps at the Hillsdale Mall i...Andy Z Live
Cutting through the cacophony of echoing voices and footsteps at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, Bay Area Kindie Rocker Andy Z walks onto the small 6x6 raised stage and dons his twelve string guitar. Wearing his official uniform of tie-dyed shirt, shorts, and a backwards baseball cap, Andy Z begins the show with his very familiar song, Welcome To Andyland. Ba-ba-bah, rings out from the PA system, and the sea of children and parents surrounding Andy’s raised island in the mall begin bopping their heads and clapping their hands to the rhythm.
Who is Andy Z?
If you are unaware of who Andy Z is, he is one of the most heavily booked and requested children’s musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the past 10 years, Andy Z has entertained, engaged, and energized children and parents from San Francisco to San Jose and every place in between. Whether his stage is at a children’s library, a preschool, a mall, or outside under the sun, Andy Z’s highly contagious personality and amusing giggle grips all those who watch and listen.
In the Beginning
Andy Z starting performing children’s music at various farmers’ markets around the Bay Area. Like all good musicians, Andy took notice of who was digging his sound, and adjusted his sets accordingly, “I begin mixing children’s songs into my sets during local farmers’ market shows. It was the kids who would stop their folks to watch me, so I thought I’d start playing specific songs for them.” The seeds were planted, and the rest is kindie rock history. Andy Z now performs over 300 children’s shows year, and has four children’s albums to his credit.
Andy Z's Music
Andy Z’s music can be described as an artful blend between classic children’s music in the style of Raffi, to straight up rock and roll beats that are more in line with today’s contemporary kindie rock music scene. Andy’s music is at a level that is accessible to young children, but can also be enjoyed by adults of all ages too.
Andy Z's 5th Album
Busy as ever, Andy Z will be releasing a Halloween adventure themed album on October 1, 2011. A bit of a departure, his fifth studio release will be geared toward "tweeners" (8-12 years old). Fans will be happy to know that this album will still have all of the engaging qualities that has made Andy such a hit with the 3-8 year old set.
See Andy Z Live!
If you have young children, Andy Z's live performances are a must see. With his 12 string guitar and puppet friends Como C. Llama and Cecil the Dragon, Andy Z will get your children jumping and jiving to his music. From Down By the Bay to Sticky-Sticky Bubble Gum to Andy's very own Scarecrow, Andy will put a smile on you and your child's faces and joy in your hearts.
If you would like to see Andy Z perform live please visit www.AndyZ.com to see his performance schedule.
Sippy Cups Runneth Over (exerpt)
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by Paul Freeman Redwood City’s Andy Zamenes, better known as Andy Z (www. andyz.com), opens the...by Paul Freeman
Redwood City’s Andy Zamenes,
better known as Andy Z (www.
andyz.com), opens the second Sippy
Cups show in Mountain View, and
he’ll have families singing along, as
“I keep the kids engaged by taking
them on imaginary adventures to Andyland,
where we meet different characters. I get the kids
up and moving and dancing,” said Zamenes, who
earned a music degree from San Francisco State.
He worked in the computer industry, but when
the dot.com bust hit, Zamenes decided to focus on
his indie rock music. In 2002, he was asked to fill
in for an ailing preschool music teacher.
“I just had an immediate rapport with the kids
and it’s blossomed from there. Everything just
“I love kids’ personalities. I love the fact that
they’re open and open to using their imaginations.
It makes it so much more fun, when your audience
is so much more entertaining to you,” Zamenes said
with a laugh. “It was a good fit for me.”
He still hopes to record more alt-rock, but
doesn’t miss performing at bars. “It’s a lot tougher
playing at 2 a.m. at the Paradise Lounge for 10
people. It’s so much more fun playing a day show
for kids outdoors, where everybody’s dancing and
jumping around,” said Zamenes, who’ll hold a
release party for his DVD, “Sing and Dance with
Andy Z,” at San Jose’s Santana Row on Oct. 17.
“I write in contemporary styles, styles the parents
don’t mind listening to, and that I don’t mind
playing a thousand times a year. I don’t pontificate
or get really deep into things with the kids. But I
don’t sing or write down to kids. They love having
the opportunity to hear and dance to different types
“I really have a drive to do this. I enjoy seeing
how kids react to what I do. The response has been
so overwhelmingly positive.”
E-mail Paul Freeman at
For Kids, Music and Humor Mix Well (excerpt)
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Yoshi Kato:Baby Beats Special to the Mercury News A local artist whose music and Website always ...Yoshi Kato:Baby Beats
Special to the Mercury News
A local artist whose music and Website always make me smile is Andy Z. (a.k.a. Andreas Zamenes). So I contacted him via e-mail to ask about the role of humor in his work. "When I was in elementary school, I loved to get up in front of the class and read stories I wrote to make the kids laugh," he wrote back. "Why? Because it made us all happy. Many years later, not much has changed. I still like to make kids laugh and for the same reasons. Only now, I like to tell stories through music and song."
And what form does the humor take in his stage persona as Andy Z?
"Many of my songs are about characters who reside in the imaginary world of Andyland. So it's quite easy to incorporate these characters and their personalities on my Web Site and in my album artwork," he explained.
"Songs that involve doing something silly or experiencing something funny require actions, facial expressions or movements on my part, in order to convey the humor to the kids," he continued.
"There was a time when I had trouble being silly in a musical setting. That wasn't 'cool.' The kids helped me get over that misconception quickly!"
Moving beyond it paid immediate dividends, he wrote. "The main reaction I get from the kids is laughter, unbridled and undeniably joyful. They are pure and sincere, as all of their reactions are- which is why I love playing for them the best."
Return To Andyland CD review
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My daughter was captivated by this CD (Return To Andyland) the moment we started listening to it. Th...My daughter was captivated by this CD (Return To Andyland) the moment we started listening to it. The narrative along with
the songs was a wonderful way to incorporate story along with the music. I was surprised to hear my daughter giggling and clapping along in the backseat of our car upon the very first hearing. When my husband laughed out loud several times during the CD and smiled and declared it â€œvery cleverâ€, I knew I had a CD we could all listen to and enjoy.
Welcome To Andyland
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Andy Zamenes — a local musician called Andy Z — went to an amusement park yesterday without leaving ...Andy Zamenes — a local musician called Andy Z — went to an amusement park yesterday without leaving Belmont.
And he took the children attending the Belmont Greek Festival with him.
Zamenes led the children and parents through an imaginary trip to the aquarium, on a roller coaster and in a parade in Andyland — the fictitious world described in many of his songs. To get to the park, children had to take Timmy the Train.
Zamenes led the children mimicking the wheels of a train.
“You gotta do the wheels. We have to create that train,” said Zamenes to his audience.
Once in the park, children experienced different parts of an amusement park coupled with puppet friends and new dance moves. Zamenes tells a story with each song. And each song is part of a bigger story on the album taking the listeners through a journey. The style is the creative style keeping local children interested and grooving with the musician, which is the goal of the Redwood City native.
“I really want it to be visual. I want to really encourage the kids to use their imagination like those old radio shows my dad used to like, ‘The Shadow.’ You’re painting a picture,” he said.
Zamenes didn’t start out looking to work with children. But with his fourth children’s album about to drop, Zamenes has embraced his inner child. The tiny fans don’t write letters, they draw pictures — pictures with which he decorates his home studio. It’s that love and participation in shows that keeps Zamenes going.
The 39-year-old enjoyed music from an early age — there’s even a photo of him playing with a piano while still donning diapers. Around middle school, Zamenes picked up a guitar and kept a beat around ever since.
“I was obsessed with music once I got into,” he said.
Despite efforts at an early age, it wasn’t until right after graduating from Sequoia High School that Zamenes and his band had a chance to perform.
When it came to school, Zamenes decided to pursue a degree in music, which he earned from San Francisco State University in the early ’90s. Zamenes worked in various bands through school and just after as well. Finally he needed to pay the bills and got a job as a computer tech. In 2001, the department in which Zamenes worked was cut and he was laid off.
At that point, he decided to really try making music a living. This started with small, acoustic performances at coffee shops.
Then Zamenes was asked to fill in for a preschool music teacher in San Francisco, just playing music for the kids.
“I ended up loving it. It woke up everything I loved: Character voices, story telling and music,” he said.
Zamenes began playing at local schools, mostly traditional kid songs. Then he began creating his own songs. Inspiration would just come to him. For example, it was almost Halloween and Zamenes began thinking of a scarecrow song with a rock tempo.
He never writes or talks down to the kids. The young audience also gives Zamenes a range of musical options. If it has a good beat, kids will get into it.
Ideas take Zamenes back to when he was a kid. For example, “I went to a party with Dinosaurs,” took Zamenes back to his love for the giant creatures. He had to consider, ‘who would come to such a party?’ and ‘what would the dinosaurs wear?’ Party hats, of course.
Sometimes stories come from Zamenes’ surroundings like “Squirrely Squirrel,” a song about a squirrel that lived in the tree in front of his house.
On Sept. 17 — one day after Zamenes’ 40th birthday — Andy Z’s fourth album will drop, “Summer in Andyland.” Even on the latest album, Zamenes relates personal experiences growing up with the songs. Like “Planet Potty,” a song about going when you need to instead of doing a dance. It seems silly, but that’s the best part for Zamenes.
“It’s in my nature to be silly. I lost it for quite some time. There’s a need to be serious as you get older. Kids reminded me of who I was anyway. I went through a growth spurt but I was becoming a kid again. Laughing and being silly, that’s part of me,” he said.
Donning tie-dye, Zamenes let that silly side shine yesterday for his audience.
Sisters Pixie and Izabella Guerrero danced like fishes to the new song “Slippery Fish.” The pair were fans of Andy Z before the show. Their father Tin Guerrero also enjoys the performer.
“It imaginative. It really gets these kids going when they’re strapped in their child seats,” he said.
Even better, the music is something Tin Guerrero can enjoy as well.
In the future, Zamenes hopes to expand his reach to children. He’s working on a DVD and maybe a Sing-A-Long movie as well.
Andy Z’s new album is available in presale on his Web site www.andyz.com. Purchasing early means an extra compact disc.
• 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 8 at Red Morton Park, 1400 Roosevelt Ave., Redwood City. Free concert, bring a canned good to support Second Harvest.
• 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at Little Gym, 3490 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville.
• 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15 at the OLA Funfare, 1328 Cabrillo Ave., Burlingame.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.
Baby Beats: S.J. family enjoys Andy Z
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Yoshi Kato Special to the Mercury News The spirit of support and advocacy is alive and thriving ...Yoshi Kato
Special to the Mercury News
The spirit of support and advocacy is alive and thriving in the world of children's music.
Young ones are often loyal to a particular artist or even a specific recording with the
fervor typically devoted to a stuffed animal or security blanket. Their parents or
guardians, in turn, become intimately familiar with every single lyric and chord change of
each song after countless daily spins of a given CD.
Kristin Burns of San Jose e-mailed to share her family's love of Redwood City-based
pop-rocker Andy Z. The mother of Anna, 4 1/2, and Sam, 2 1/2, she wrote: "We first
met him at the downtown Palo Alto farmers market about three years ago, when his
'Pockets' CD had just come out. Since then, he's released 'Welcome to Andyland' and
'Return to Andyland.'
"He loves kids, and kids love him and his music," she continued. "And we grown-ups
enjoy listening to his music too."
Andy has a colorful Web site, http://www.andyz.com, which gives a thorough introduction to
the musician and his music, By visiting it, one learns that Andreas Zamenes graduated
from San Francisco State University with a music degree and worked as a computer
technician for eight years before taking up the troubadour's life.
Starting with grown-up music (which he had been doing on the side during his high-tech
days), Zamenes quickly discovered his more youthful audience when playing at local
farmers markets. He performs both solo and with his five piece Andyland Band and is
going on his sixth year of involvement with both classic and original kids music.
"We have a lot of other great kids music (Ralph's World, Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner,
Smithsonian collections, Putamayo kids stuff, Pete Seeger, They Might Be Giants,
etc.),"Burns wrote of the children's music library she keeps with her husband, Sean.
"But I think about 50 percent of the time, it's one of the two Andy Z Andyland CDs that
Anna chooses for her 'going to sleep' music.
"His Andyland CDs are concept-based, which is fun," she continued. "He talks on all of
his CDs, to introduce the songs on 'Pockets' and to spin the story of the Andyland CDs,
which is part of the appeal I think."
Andy Z performs solo at 10 and 11a.m. Friday at Pottery Barn Kids at Westfield Valley
Fair in San Jose. (It's about mid-mall, upstairs near Nordstrom.) The free show,
abundant parking and family-friendly mall setting offer a convenient opportunity to catch
Andy Z in action. Call the store at (408) 557-0510 if you have any questions.
Catching Little Ones' Ear Is Easy
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Charlene Prince, Special to The Chronicle Friday, March 25, 2005 It's difficult for performer An...Charlene Prince, Special to The Chronicle
Friday, March 25, 2005
It's difficult for performer Andy Zamenes to resist requests from his groupies, especially because they are loyal fans who sing and dance to his music and laugh at his jokes. But then again, how could he say no to a flock of children asking to hear his song "I Went to a Party with Dinosaurs"?
Zamenes, 37, or AndyZ as he's known to his fans, writes and performs children's music, solo and with his Andyland Band. The Redwood City native has enchanted young children along the Peninsula for the past three years with his mix of music, storytelling and general goofiness.
He always sports a backward baseball cap and plays an acoustic guitar boosted by a wireless amplifier so he can easily roam, jump and dance around. The moment he appears, children are eager for him to start his tunes. Once he strikes a chord on his guitar, it's as if the bashfulness typical of young children in public is released and is replaced with smiling, singing, dancing and just plain grooving kids. For the parents, having a camera at the ready is essential. And for everyone else in the radius of this performance, it's nearly impossible not to be entertained by Zamenes, the kids and the parents watching their offspring with pride.
Perhaps Zamenes has this effect because his life is rooted in music. While singing has been in his repertoire since he was a child, Zamenes started playing the piano when he was 3 years old, and at the age of 12 he picked up the guitar, which became his passion. He went on to receive a bachelor of arts degree in music from San Francisco State University, and worked as a computer technician while playing music as a hobby. But after being laid off during the dot-com bust, Zamenes decided to take a leap of faith and pursue a musical career. He began with solo performances along the Peninsula at farmers' markets and city festivals.
"I scraped by for a few years, then I discovered playing for kids, and I realized that it was a really cool thing for me," he said.
So "AndyZ" was born, and he pulled together the Andyland Band. Zamenes can tell how his early musical experiences helped his studies, and how they tie in to his current endeavors.
"I can remember my mom vacuuming the house, and I was sitting between the speakers listening to the records ... the same song over and over. I'd listen to one instrument, then listen back for another instrument. When I got into school, that's what you do to train your ear. I learned how to write music, orchestration. It was a pretty stressful major for me but I'm sure it contributed to what I do know because I can draw from all styles."
Zamenes' most recent album, "Welcome to Andyland," earned the Parents' Choice Foundation's Parents' Choice "Recommended" award last summer. The dinosaur party anthem appears on this album and combines a mid-tempo rock 'n' roll rhythm with lyrics that are quirky and educational in their own way: "I went to a party with dinosaurs. I went to a party with dinosaurs. The herbivores and carnivores were waitin' outside my door. You ask me, 'What's a carnivore?' Well, they eat other dinosaurs. And herbivores eat plants and leaves on the ground and in the trees..."
Zamenes is working on a new CD, "Return to Andyland," scheduled for release on June 1. With the follow-up album, he hopes to reach upper-grade school kids in addition to his younger fan base -- traditionally toddlers to 9-year-olds.
As his popularity increases, so does the radius of his fan base. His shows are no longer limited to the Peninsula -- he's popular in Livermore, Pleasanton and Sacramento. And after a successful concert last year at the Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo with another Bay Area children's band, Daffy Dave and the Treefort Gang, the two will be featured as a double-bill at summer events in Redwood City and at the San Jose Discovery Museum. Zamenes has also been asked to play at the City of Campbell's summer concert series.
Zamenes hopes to transform his AndyZ musical endeavors into children's books and even a television show. He also aspires to record a more adult- oriented album.
"I put all those songs on a tape recorder so I don't forget them. I would like to get them out there and get them on a CD. But I can't rush that either, " he said.
So Zamenes continues to focus on AndyZ and the Andyland Band, and it's proving to be a winning strategy. At the Coyote Point event, Zamenes and his band easily enthralled an audience of 320, parents included. Anyone who's ever thrown a children's birthday party knows this is quite a feat.
"I've played in a lot of bands, and sometimes when you perform you are in a sea of boredom, whereas with kids, if they enjoy it they are laughing and smiling and hopping around. It's a lot of fun," said Ed Bauman, who plays keyboard and sings background vocals in the Andyland Band. Bauman, who lives in Brentwood, has known Zamenes since 1980 and has performed in several bands with him for nearly as long.
With three boys 10 years old and younger, Bauman is an expert at translating what draws children to the Zamenes' music and performances:
"His music talks to the heart, and it's at their level. They can understand what he's singing about, and it's fun.
"And Andy's a goofball," Bauman said with a laugh. "We are all goofballs . .. in a good way."
But ask Zamenes why he and his music appeals to kids, and he is more contemplative.
"They can see the truth and feel the vibe. They know if you are sincere. They can see it in your eyes. They know if you want to play for them. They know what's real and what's not on a deeper level that we sometimes forget. They go by how they feel. If someone is putting out positive energy, they are drawn to it."
Welcome To Andyland CD review
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"With sincerity and cheer, singer Andy Z narrates and plays tour guide through a tuneful let's-pret... "With sincerity and cheer, singer Andy Z narrates and plays tour guide through a tuneful let's-pretend world, where he's "buds" with dinosaurs, pirates and squirrels, a leprechaun makes an appearance and his 18-month-old nephew runs the island fire station. The tour winds up with a rock 'n roll, Mister Rogers-style "I Love You Because You're You" message and a "surprise" track with a winter holiday theme that serves as the CD's encore number."
Lynne Heffley ©2004 Parents' Choice
Children Love Former Student Andy Z
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April 20, 2005 01:18 PM by Giselle Velazquez, staff writer Andy-Z has a problem. “OK, plan B,”...April 20, 2005 01:18 PM by Giselle Velazquez, staff writer
Andy-Z has a problem.
“OK, plan B,” he said as he crouched over his misbehaving guitar setup. “I need a soldering iron.”
A sudden equipment failure 15 minutes before showtime is a nightmare for any performer. But it’s even worse when your loyal fan base is made up of children who probably can’t pronounce the word “Stratocaster.” And Andy-Z, otherwise known as SF State alumnus Andreas Zamenes, doesn’t want to disappoint his fans. Zamenes finally resolved to go acoustic—and the kids and parents assembled at The Children’s Center in San Carlos didn’t seem to mind a bit.
The children danced and sang along to a set that included originals like “Sticky Sticky Bubblegum,” and “Pockets,” as well as the occasional Bob Marley cover. Eventually, Zamenes even got two especially rambunctious kids playing Nerf football in the corner into the action, joined soon after by parents until there was a happy mosh pit rolling in front of the stage.
It wasn’t exactly what Zamenes expected to be doing when he lost his computer tech day job—and it definitely wasn’t what he expected to be doing with his degree in music from SF State. But Zamenes clearly loves his job.
“I noticed that a lot of kids are so open to music in general … it’s almost like it’s their language,” Zamenes said. “The cool things about kids is that they haven’t gotten to the point where they feel the need to be behaved and proper and everything. They really pay attention to the music and move and jump along with you. They really get into it. They’re all out.”
Years later, the crowd is still enthusiastic. One parent, Shanice Stevenson, has been bringing her children Zariah and Josiah to see Zamenes for years.
“We’ve been seeing him for a while,” Stevenson said. “It’s active, and it’s lively. They like it a lot."
“Zariah, what’s your favorite song?” she quizzed her daughter. “Is it 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat?'”
“'Row, Row, Row Your Boat!'” Zariah answered affirmatively.
It’s no surprise that parents as well as kids enjoy Zamenes’ pop rock tinged sound. He’s had plenty of experience playing for adults. After graduating from school, he played in several rock bands It wasn’t until after he lost his job during the dot com bust that Zamenes starting playing for children.
“I was a computer technician for like eight years, and I was moonlighting as a musician at night," said Zamenes. "I got laid off from that four years ago, and that’s when I said, 'hey let’s give this a shot.' I’m going to do music for a living, no matter what it takes. I ended up playing at a day care center, just covering for somebody that was out ill … and I had such a rapport with those kids. I had so much fun. So I started doing more stuff with kids music."
From Rock'n' Roll To Day Care
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Elizabeth Jardina, STAFF WRITER ANDY Zamenes wasn't looking for a pint-sized musical audience, bu...Elizabeth Jardina, STAFF WRITER
ANDY Zamenes wasn't looking for a pint-sized musical audience, but the kids found him anyway. A year ago, the 35-year-old Redwood City native was an aspiring rock'n' roller playing at coffee houses and farmers markets.
"It dawned on me one day that the kids were the ones who were stopping -- and were stopping their parents -- to listen," he says. "Kids were really the ones who were responding to my music."
He started adding kids' favorites to his set lists and eventually recorded "Pockets," an album of songs for children.
"Apparently I've replaced Raffi in some car stereos," he says dryly, referring to the musical superstar for the under-5 set.
Zamenes started playing music when he was a child himself. "I banged on the piano when I was a little kid and started playing by ear, copying songs off the radio."
At age 11, Zamenes discovered the Beatles' "White Album" and practically wore the grooves off the record. The next year he persuaded his parents to buy him a $50 used guitar.
When he graduated to an electric guitar, a Fender Bullet, he wrote songs and played with his high school band, Vex, later renamed D.P.S. -- Dudes Playing Songs. "We were kinda'80s rock 'n' roll, kinda heavy, kinda 'dude' rock," he says.
After acquiring a degree in music from San Francisco State University, Zamenes' music became his moonlighting gig. To pay the bills, he worked 9-to-5 fixing computers.
He formed a band called Tinman and recorded a solo acoustic album while working in tech support for eight years.
Then his safety net broke. "I got laid off a couple of years ago," he says. "After that I decided that I was going to be a musician full time, no matter what, no matter how much I had to scrape."
Shortly after that, Zamenes discovered his rapport with young people.
"I'm a big kid," he says. "That's why I understand kids. I got reacquainted with my inner child when I started
playing for kids, because that's where my creative fire comes from."
After brushing up on "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," Zamenes filled in when the music teacher at a San Francisco day care called in sick. He was a big hit, and now he teaches and performs regularly at schools and day care centers around the Peninsula.
Although most people who work in early childhood education are women, Zamanes loves working with young people.
"I think there should be more male role models for kids," he says. "When I'm playing for kids, the boys see a role model that says it's OK to sing and play and dance and be at least a little bit sensitive.
"It's really refreshing to see a male teacher in preschools and day care centers because it's just a different energy," he says. "Guys interact with kids differently than women do. We play differently with kids. I think it's good for kids at a very young age to be exposed to both of those energies -- female and male."
The title track on Zamenes' album, "Pockets," was inspired by a child at one of his schools.
"He put his hands in his pockets and said, 'I have pockets,' and he had a big smile on his face and his hands in his pockets," he says. "And I thought, 'Pockets are pretty cool. We adults take these things for granted.'"
Writing, he says, is one of the best parts of his job. "It's fun. You can write about silly things and actually be educational."
For example, "The Boo-Boo Song," an audience favorite from "Pockets," ends with the practical advice: "If you have boo-boos anywhere/keep them clean and take good care/and soon they'll disappear."
Zamenes predicts that the big hit from his upcoming album will be "I Went to a Party With Dinosaurs."
"When I was a kid I loved dinosaurs," he says, "and that hasn't changed. Kids still love dinosaurs. Adults too. Animal songs are popular. Dinosaur songs are very popular."
While being a children's singer-songwriter isn't quite as lucrative as being a computer tech, it has more important benefits. "I'm doing what I love," Zamenes says. "What more could you ask for?"
Andy Zamenes plays from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at Talbot's Toyland, 445 S. B St., San Mateo. The Andy Z Three performs at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. June 7 at Art in the Park in Washington Park in Burlingame. Zamenes' album, "Pockets," is available through his Web site, www.andyz.com Call (650) 298-9530.
You can e-mail Elizabeth Jardina at email@example.com or call (650) 348-4327.
(c) 2003 The Oakland Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Pocket Full Of Music
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It's hard to find children's music that doesn't drive you to distraction, but the new CD by Bay Area...It's hard to find children's music that doesn't drive you to distraction, but the new CD by Bay Area artist and educator Andy Zamenes is a rare exception. "Pockets" is a collection of old-standbys such as "Happy And You Know It", plus kid-pleasing originals written by Zamenes, who is also a music teacher at local preschools.
A graduate of California State University, San Francisco, Zamenes has been performing in grown-up bands for years. When he began playing at local farmer's markets, the kids were particularly drawn to his music, so he started incorporating more children's songs into his sets. "I have always believed that children have an inherent connection to music that can only be weakened by lack of exposure.", he says.
On "Pockets", Zamenes performs all the voices, gobbles, snorts and other wacky noises that kids love. The mix of old and new tunes plus plenty of novelty sounds is certain to make the album a hit with kids and parents.
Andy Z's story/adventure-based performances featuring traditional, original and contemporary songs as well as character puppets, incorporate themes from his multiple award-winning "Andyland" CD series and his debut "Pockets" CD.
Andy draws children into the story with songs that run the gamut- from educational to just plain silly, from dance songs to lullabies, from singalongs to finger plays. Musical genres include rock, brit pop, classic kid, jazz, folk, country, hip-hop, the blues, and Irish music.
In addition to playing solo shows, Andy Z also performs with his group the Andyland Band. These shows feature the same wonderful themes as his solo shows do, but also incorporate props, costumes and songs that benefit from the harmonic energy that an electric band can provide. A frequent addition to Andy's solo & band shows are some very talented kids, the Andyland Dancers.