Andrea Stolpe
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Andrea Stolpe

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


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Breaking Even (2007)

With other artists:
Faith Hill (Fireflies)
Daniel Lee Martin (All That I Am)
(On My Way To You)
Josh Gracin (forthcoming album)
Jimmy Wayne (forthcoming album)
Shonagh Daly (Beautiful View)


Feeling a bit camera shy


With credits like Faith Hill, a book deal and distribution with Hal Leonard, and a leading-edge songwriting course offered only at Berkleemusic online, Andrea Stolpe is far from ‘breaking even’. But like the title of her debut album, Breaking Even is just the cost of doing things her way at the risk of everything she’s given up.

ASCAP songwriting award in ’97, SESAC songwriting award in ’98, and three staff songwriting deals with major publishers Almo-Irving, EMI, Universal, Stolpe sprinted onto the field of Nashville’s most prolific and sought-after songwriters. But it wasn’t until 2005 when she finally got the commercial presence to match her industry acclaim with Faith Hill’s multi-platinum selling Fireflies. What followed was international and multi-genre success with artists such as American Idol Josh Gracin’s forthcoming album All About Y’all, and Big Machine Records’ Jimmy Wayne, with long-time co-writers Stephen Robson and John Kennedy.

With a course charted for mainstream success, it’s easy to wonder what prompted her sudden shift from commercial songwriter to independent artist. But there’s no hesitation when she explains, “I was at a dead end creatively. It’s a funny thing getting paid to write songs. The more I tried to write to a formula, the more I lost myself. I finally realized I’d rather break even with songs that were all me than take off with songs I wasn’t really invested in.”

For this laid-back Twin Cities native, the move across country from Nashville to Los Angeles seemed like just another bend in a long road of fateful events. Stolpe started playing piano at an early age, mimicking the sounds of her older brother tapping out Mozart on their second-hand upright. Later on, she says, her brother had a band in high school and she used to try to write songs for them. “He gave me a tape of Sting and Police songs when I was fourteen. It was all I listened to for a whole year. So everything I wrote tried to have this deep political and social message. I was a spoiled teenager with a dog and my own room, and so the songs were really awful.”

Now, the songs are much closer to home. The dirt-and-grit city settings of “In Spite of You” and “Breathe” reflect the go-for-broke attitude that themes much of the record. The record is produced and engineered by Jan Stolpe, (Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Daniel Lee Martin, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, Marty McGeehee of 4-Him)

Stolpe’s version of “You Stay With Me,” recorded by country/pop crossover artist Faith Hill, sounds more like something off of a Train record than a country record. “Unavoidable” is the jagged edged depiction of a lover losing interest, while “Love Me Like You Lost Me” is a mesmerizing solo piano-vocal set just before a near-fatal car crash, strumming the threads of fate and the choices we make.
Stolpe’s title track “Breaking Even” dives head-first into the realities of a routine relationship. She questions her relationship with God in the way-too-bold for Christian radio “About Me.”

It’s the combination of her purely mesmerizing vocals and raw lyrical skill that give Breaking Even its unpretentious charisma. Layers of rich vocals float over expertly programmed tracks, each song directing the emotions in an effortless swell.

-the Landlady