Andrea Belanger
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Andrea Belanger

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Folk Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"October 2009 Feature of the Month"

Every month the team here at PFW toils over who most deserves a month long dedicated post that explores an artist's background, passion, expertise, and repertoire of music. Truth be told, each month proves more difficult than the last as submittees either re-submit or spam us which nobody likes, of course. With that, finding a gem in a pile of dirt is all the more refreshing, and this month's feature is the definition of that word. Andrea Belanger stood out like a sore thumb and certainly as you listen to the beautiful, melancholy tone of this young woman's voice, you'll be struck the same.

For us, the ideal feautre is an artist who's beaming with potential and Andrea should be the poster child for tomorrow's quintessential folk vocalist. A student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, in Boston MA (former college of greats like John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Susan Tedeschi, and John Scofield among of slew of other musical monsters.), Andrea isn't far from home, hailing from Fall River of the same stage. Belanger lists Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Bon Iver (whom she resembles most, to my ears) as influences and the evidence is there in conjunction with an originality that's all her own. Andrea's voice, while wholly folk through and through, can be the bridge listeners need to make the genre gap. Her voice's undeniable ability to hold the attention of listeners is evident not only on recordings but on her impressive resume.

Andrea has shared the stage with such acts as The Greencards and The Wood Brothers, a testament to her ability and ambition. What's most apparent on Andrea's recordings is a sense of sorrow on both 'happy' and 'sad' songs. The ability to convey that emotion, almost as a sub-layer to each song's true atmosphere, is an amazing look into the personality and character of Belanger. Her music is honest and appears to be so out of her own hands, adding another layer of quality to her performance. It's that same nuance and sheer ability to sing well that has Andrea Belanger on the road to the success. She is the very model of an up-and-coming artist that has me excited to see where her voice and ambition will take her in this industry. - PraiseForWallflower.Com


I needed to be wowed. I hadn’t seen live music in at least a month, and hadn’t had my breath taken away by a surprise artist in much longer. I went to the Narrows Center on Friday night pretty sure I would love the Wood Brothers but having no idea what to expect from the opener, Andrea Belanger. Never heard of her. But the Narrows has yet to disappoint me with their music choices, so I had high hopes for one of those ‘wow’ nights.

I arrived early, which is crucial at the Narrows, because you can score a great table at which to drink the booze you bring (yes, it’s byob) and snack on your picnic goods. The place is in an old mill building and the non-table seating is old church pews. It’s a non-profit that has it’s roots in the visual arts, but expanded to attract top name folk acts on it’s tiny stage. In the entryway to the venue there is a visual art exhibition, and the floor also houses artist studios.

There was a group of young hipster-ish city kids sitting at the table in front of us, and as the opening act was announced one of them stood up with a beat-up guitar and took the stage. Patrick introduced her as Andrea Belanger, a second semester student at Berklee. She had the stage presence of a veteran folk singer, but with some youthful innocence and nerves mixed in. And when she began singing I looked at my companion with a slack jaw and mouthed “OH. MY. GOD.” - Jessica Melgey

"Andrea Belanger @ Church"

Not really sure how this calendar became our “younger and more talented than you” round-up, but ah, what the hell, we’ll just roll with it. Hailing from Fall River and legally allowed to drink as of last year, Andrea Belanger is a singing/songwriting student over at … you guessed it, Berklee College of Music, and she’ll be closing out Fleming Entertainment’s evening of hardcore South Shore sounds over at Church. Hmm. Anything we’re forgetting? Young, check. Talented, check. Show, ch—oh! Oh, right. Belanger was at that thing this year. That music fest thing. Bonder-doo or Under-roo or whatever. She preformed. Totally not jealous at all.
- Dig Boston

"City native Andrea Belanger's lyrics come from the heart"

As a kid learning to play guitar, Andrea Belanger was never content playing other people's songs.

"Playing other people's songs didn't satisfy me," said the 22-year-old from Fall River. "I like my own songs. Song-writing is a pursuit to get what's inside of you out of you. I have enough of a perspective on the world outside to want to write about it."

Belanger graduated from Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth in 2007, and currently studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Not yet old enough to rent a car, Belanger has already shared the stage with nationally touring artists like The Wood Brothers, The Low Anthem and The Greencards.

She played at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival — billed as a modern-day Woodstock — in Tennessee in July. The festival featured legends like Neil Young, Robert Plant, Greg Allman and Eminem.

She earned her spot there by competing in "The Road to Roo," an online contest in which thousands of amateur musicians earned votes, "American Idol"-style. Belanger and her band, The Blind Woods, won.

Belanger often performs at the Narrows Center for the Arts and Waterstreet Café in Fall River.

She's playing Nov. 4 at Taphouse Grille, 159 South Main St., and Nov. 5 at the "Women That Rock III" concert at BMC Durfee High School Auditorium.

Belanger recently released her first CD, "Light Up the Dark," which she recorded with her band — drummer Ricky Petraglia, bassist Scott Mizrachi, guitarist Chris Putt and keyboardist Zach Tenorio Miller. It was produced in Fall River by Grammy-winning producer John Mailloux of Bongo Beach Productions.

We talked to Belanger recently about guitar, Fall River, and playing with the big shots.

Spirit: When did you start playing guitar?

Belanger: I started playing around 16. One of my friends played guitar. I thought it was cool. He was into Nirvana. He could play every Kurt Cobain song. But I got really bored really fast playing other people's songs. People ask me if I play covers, but to this day, I don't like to. It didn't satisfy me. I like my own songs. Song-writing is a pursuit to get what's inside of you out of you. I have enough of a perspective on the world outside to want to write about it.

My parents always had deep appreciation for music. My parents were always playing music. My mom always blasted The Clash and Nirvana in the house. She'd play Queen, Pink Floyd, classic rock. ... They sent me to music summer camp at Berklee College every summer of high school.

Spirit: Did you play guitar at Stang?

Belanger: I actually left Stang my freshman year because Durfee had a better music program. I went back to Stang when they started a pep band. We played Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, all kinds of awesome stuff. We played at basketball games.

Spirit: When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

Belanger: I figured it out really quickly after I started playing. I knew whatever I was going to do was going to revolve around music. I couldn't picture myself doing anything else.

Spirit: You just cut your first record.

Belanger: Yeah, it's a solo record. My band is called The Blind Woods, and my next record will be with them. All the band members went to Berklee. We met through classes.

Spirit: How'd you pick that name?

Belanger: We read that The Grateful Dead came up with their name by opening up a book and picking two words on the page. One girl had a poetry book, and we opened up to a Robert Frost poem, and shooting off words, we all thought "blind woods" sounded cool.

Spirit: How did you come to play Bonnaroo?

Belanger: Well, it's a funny thing. I had a ticket to Bonnaroo last year, but I didn't have a car to drive down, and I had to sell my tickets. I joked with my mom, "It's OK. Next time I'll play Bonnaroo."

So we (entered the "Road to 'Roo" online contest) ... and when we won, it was like a dream come true. I had two things on my Bucket List: Bonnaroo and Newport Folk (Festival), and at 22, I've already accomplished one of them.

Spirit: What was Bonnaroo like?

Belanger: It's a four-day festival that brings in 100,000 people each year. My name is on the same bill as Robert Plant, Ray LaMontagne and Eminem. ... People came up to me after the show, saying how much they loved it. Even the sound engineer told me, "You were the stars. Nobody else played like you."

Spirit: Did you meet any big stars?

Belanger: I was a foot away from Ray LaMontagne, one of my favorites. Deer Tick camped on the side of us. My band mates were on stage to see Robert Plant. They have pix of him from five feet away. I mean, the front man of Led Zeppelin — he changed the face of rock and roll.

Spirit: You camped?

Belanger: Yeah, it's VIP camping. If you get a general admission, people describe it as a third-world country — tent on tent on tent. We were camping in luxury with the artist hospitality tents. You couldn't sleep past 6 a.m. It was 100 degrees in your tent. You were going to bed at 3 a.m., waking up at 6 a.m.

Spirit: What's your song-writing process like?

Belanger: I usually just sit down with the guitar, and playing it just immediately invokes emotion. I hear a melody or something. I feel silly talking about it, because it's super abstract. The words come from a place I don't ask for. I don't summon it. The words just come. I write a song in a about a week.

Spirit: Do you play other instruments?

Belanger: I'm learning drums. They're really fun, a lot different than guitar. I get my anger out.

Spirit: Besides playing Newport Folk, what else do you want to accomplish?

Belanger: I want to do a North American tour. That's really important to me. The Whisky-a-Go-Go in L.A. asked us to play, but I don't have the money to get out there. Even for Bonnaroo, we got $1,000 prize money, but that doesn't get an eight-piece band to Tennesee and back.

We want to do a tour of the United States, put out some more records, do more festivals. That would help us on the path to stardom.

Spirit: Who's on your iPod?

Belanger: Kelly Jo Phelps, he's a blues/slide guitar player. Ray LaMontagne. Jason Mraz. I love him. Nick Drake is one my favorites. Wilco — I love Wilco. Ryan Adams is one my favorites.

Spirit: Anything you want to add for readers in Fall River?

Belanger: Just that growing up in Fall River, a lot of young people are so jaded. It really bums me out. I've said this in other interviews. The best music is made in low-class, middle-class society, with all its heartache and struggle. That's Fall River. So many people from Fall River have put their belief in me. Anything is possible.

Lauren Daley is a correspondent and arts columnist for The Fall River Spirit. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1. Spotlight Fall River appears regularly.
- Lauren Daley

"Elephant Revival, Lucius, Andrea Belanger"

Berklee guitar and songwriting student Andrea Belanger exploded onto the scene when she and her six all-Berklee bandmates won a coveted performance slot at the 10th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, beating thousands of other entrants for the chance to perform for the crowd of over 80,000. Fresh from her successful festival experience, Belanger is giving Boston a taste of what she calls her "introspective, storytelling folk songs" with an acoustic set at Cafe 939, opening for Elephant Revival and Lucius. - BostonEvents.Com

"HOMETOWN FAVORITE: Fall River's own Andrea Belanger coming to Narrows Center to promote CD"

Andrea Belanger wants your vote. The Fall River native is trying to make it to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, in a contest called Road to Roo, in which two of the top eight downloaded bands will be selected to perform at the music event that she called the “Woodstock of our times.”

As of Tuesday night, Belanger’s song was the fifth most downloaded song out of the thousands of bands across the country competing to perform at this year’s festival, which includes a host of musical greats including Neil Young, Greg Allman, Robert Plant and Eminem. “This would be huge for us. As a band, it’s the biggest thing that could happen to us,” said Belanger, a student at the Berklee College of Music. “If we get this, it would be great exposure for us.”

The voting ends Friday, the same day Belanger and her band will hit the stage at the Narrows Center for the Performing Arts for a hometown concert to release her first CD, “Light Up the Dark,” which was produced by John Mailloux of Bongo Beach Productions. A regular performer in venues in the city, Belanger has already performed with Vienna Teng, Ryan Cabrera and Beth Neilson Chapman, and most recently, she received a highly competitive songwriting achievement scholarship at the prestigious college. “One of my teachers nominated me for it — it turns out they only give it to eight or nine songwriting students — and they’re musicians from all over the world,” said Belanger.

Her band, comprised of a group of musicians she met in college, features drummer Ricky Petraglia, bassist Scott Mizrachi, guitarist Chris Putt and keyboardist Zach Tenorio Miller, whom she met and clicked with in a songwriting class at college. “Our teacher called us Lennon and McCartney, because we worked so well together,” she said.

Miller, who left he school to attend the Paul Greene School of Rock, has already toured internationally with some big names in the business including Slash, from Guns and Roses.

A 2007 graduate of Bishop Stang High School, Belanger said she has a few semesters left at Berklee, a school that she described as the Harvard of music colleges. “We have 11 or 12 classes a semester so I wouldn’t be able to do it all in four years, and still play live music outside the college,” she said.

In spite of the grueling class schedule, Belanger, a singer/songwriter/guitariest managed to find the time over the past three years to write all the songs on the CD, which was produced in Fall River, and maintain a 3.8 grade point average in her major: guitar.

Belanger may also be one of the city’s biggest fans, so it’s not surprising that her fondness for “Lizzie’s city” made its way into the lyrics of her debut CD in which she sings, “A flower in the cracks/I grew up in the Narrows of the city.”

The daughter of longtime Narrows supporter, Peter Belanger, she said her parents’ involvement in the arts in the city, and her own involvement in numerous community groups such as the Mayor’s Youth Council, formed her as an artist and a proud resident.

“I think a lot of kids I grew up with have the mentality that there’s nothing going on here and they use that as an excuse for not doing anything with their lives,” she said.
On the new CD, Belanger said she challenges her peers’ mentality with the lyrics: “If you want to leave where the river flows/convinced it will drown your dream/you’d better leave/is Lizzie the only thing they come to see?”

The 22-year-old said her dream is to make it as a musician and to hear her songs on the radio. “I love where I’m from. I can’t wait to be successful so I can come back here and give back to the community to make this city the arts community it can be.”
But for now, Belanger and her band are focused South, on the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee.

Help Belanger stay in the top 8 of the contest by downloading her song, “Up all Night,” at Local favorites, Day Old Funk are scheduled to open Belanger’s show at the Narrows on Friday. For more info, see

Read more:
- Herald News

"Andrea Belanger Band Snags Coveted Bonnaroo Gig"

Andrea Belanger, a guitar and songwriting student at Berklee College of Music, won a performance slot at the 10th annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee with her six all-Berklee bandmates. Last year's festival attracted over 80,000 music lovers. Belanger, whose music has been described as "Wilco meets Radiohead," won the desirable spot to perform at the festival through Sonicbids, an online platform that connects independent artists to performance opportunities. Beating out thousands of other entrants in the site's Road to Roo contest, Belanger is one of two artists chosen to join the likes of Eminem, Arcade Fire, Neil Young, The Black Keys, and Mumford & Sons.

The Andrea Belanger Band will perform on Saturday, June 11 at 8:00 p.m. on the Solar Stage and Sunday, June 12 at 2:30 on the Café Where Stage. The septet will make the 19-hour journey to Manchester in a 15-person van plus trailer running solely on waste vegetable oil.

Belanger, who just finished her sixth semester at Berklee and was recently awarded a Songwriting Achievement Scholarship by the college, learned that she was Bonnaroo-bound just after releasing her debut album, Light Up the Dark. The goal of Sonicbids's Road to Roo contest was to remain in the top eight pool of entrants for a 12-day public voting period. After the voting period closed, a panel of judges selected Belanger and rapper Kellee Maize to perform at the popular festival.

"I try to write introspective songs that hit people in the heart," says Belanger. "We write storytelling folk songs, but with a lot going on musically, bridging organic and synthetic sounds. When I get together with the band, everyone adds his or her layer. Some of my bandmates add traditional elements, such as Dustin Olyan's guitar parts, while rhythm guitarist Chris Putt adds a more experimental, ambient tone to the mix. Everyone comes from different but rich musical backgrounds; it makes for the perfect balance."

Joining Belanger (Fall River, MA) at Bonnaroo will be Paige Califano (West Milford, NJ) on background vocals, Erik Kramer (Southampton, PA) on bass, Ricky Petraglia (Hampton Township, PA) on drums, and Christopher Putt (Washington, PA) on rhythm guitar, as well as Berklee alumni Dustin Olyan (Toronto, ON) on lead guitar and Zachory Tenorio-Miller (Montclair, NJ) on keys. The band formed a year ago when Belanger met Putt in a lyric-writing class. - Berklee Groove


Light Up the Dark released APRIL 15th, 2011



Andrea Belanger & The Blind Woods is a band conceived on the eve of a trip to Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. After winning Road to Roo; a competition to play live at Bonnaroo 2011 Andrea built a band of her favorite musicians and best friends to support her words and music. The Blind Woods are Ricky Petraglia on drums, Ryan Duchene as well as Christopher Putt on guitar, Zachary Tenorio-Miller on keys, Erik Kramer on bass, and of course Andrea Belanger singing lead vocals and playing guitar. Blending folk music with post and progressive rock Andrea Belanger & The Blind Woods are an up and coming band out of Boston. Andrea bridges the gap between the singer/songwriter and rock and roll with smart, revealing poetics and a lilting vocal prowess.

"Andrea is a musician that I can identify with on a personal level. Her voice projects a warmth and simplicity that reminds me of home: an inviting familiarity that provides a nice change to the wealth of overly cryptic lyricism and digitally altered media that's become so commonplace in the industry, today." - Joe,

"Andrea Belanger (Fall River, Mass.) Acoustic Songwriter: A student at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Andrea Belanger, at just 20, has already performed with established acts like The Greencards and The Wood Brothers. Belanger’s songs are gentle, intimate and spacious, marked by smart, revealing poetics and a lilting vocal prowess." - MidPoint Music Festival

"Andrea Belanger, a Fall River native and current student at Berklee College of Music, has been wowing audiences with her insightful lyrics and lilting guitar work. She is definitely a star in the making." - Patrick Norton, Narrows Center for the Arts