Andrew Tufano
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Andrew Tufano

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Pop Acoustic

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Press


This young man engages well with the audience performing his orignal songs and a couple of covers. His music is well worth listening to and I will be eagerly looking forward to see how his music career progresses. - Natasha Cornblatt


The Dotted Lines EP is a succulent sampler of ambrosial, zest folk-pop tracks alongside peppery, sweet-and-sour jazz and rock sounds. - Billy Ferguson, owner of Center Stage Audio, LLC


Most college freshmen are just now getting settled into campus life, figuring out how to live on their own and juggle their class demands while still finding time for fun. But teen singer-songwriter Andrew Tufano, newly enrolled at Nashville’s Belmont University, has a bigger project to tackle.

The 18-year-old folk-pop artist is trying to raise $5,000 for VH1’s Save The Music Foundation, and to do so he’s donating the proceeds of his latest EP to the cause. The philanthropic arm of the music television network seeks to promote the benefits of musical education and ensure that music programs are maintained in public schools across the nation.

It’s an important cause to a musician who got a head start on his career thanks to his musical education.
“I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life, pretty much, in music classes,” Tufano said. He started taking piano lessons in the second grade and picked up guitar at 13, and along the way has benefited from the music teachers who fostered his talents.

The Sterling native recorded the EP Dotted Lines while he was wrapping up his senior year at Dominion High School. The EP debuted on Sept. 12, and was a sophomore release for the college freshman. At 16, he recorded his debut EP Right Where We Should Be. From the onset of his second endeavor, recorded at Falls Church’s Cue Studios, he wanted the EP to reach out to others.

“Music is such a good way to connect with people,” Tufano said. “I didn’t want it to be about me; I wanted it to be about other people.”

Visitors to Tufano’s website can track the progress of his fundraising campaign, dubbed “Stuff the Stache!” in line with the mustache logo on his guitar and other mustache icons used in the clean-shaven singer-songwriters branding (“It’s a fun thing to do,” he says of using the recurring logo).
As copies of his EP are purchased online, an outlined mustache on the website will be filled in with green representing the cash brought in toward his fundraising aim. At his last update, he’d collected 3 percent of his goal amount.

Tufano has smaller, intimate shows planned in Nashville and the D.C. area to spread the word about his music and his fundraising campaign. While he wants to make sure the EP “has its life cycle,” he has songs ready to record thanks to a seven-songs-in-seven-days challenge he undertook this August.

Tufano may still be a student, but his music education got him started early on his career path, and he plans to take advantage of living in Music City.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve done for my career,” Tufano said. - Leslie Poster


A few minutes after Andrew Tufano and I are supposed to meet, I receive a mildly frantic call from the singer/songwriter.

“I’m sorry, I just walked into Tyson’s—where is the Starbucks?” Tufano asks.

“It’s across from Gap, on the lower level,” I respond.

He assures me he’ll be there soon, just as soon as he finds a map. I hang up feeling confused as to why he picked this meeting spot.

The 19-year old has lived in Sterling his entire life, save for the past year he spent in Nashville completing his freshman year at Belmont University, where he is a songwriting major.

So how does a Northern Virginia native survive his teen years without memorizing Tyson’s layout?

Releasing two EPs and performing more than 250 shows in the past four years might have something to do with it. His first EP, Right Where We Should Be, was written when he was 16. Now he’s got a full-length album on the way, and is about to begin his self-booked “Dotted Lines Tour,” named after his second EP, Dotted Lines, which he wrote at 17. The tour will include shows in cities such as Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and Nashville, and kicks-off with his show at Jammin’ Java on Monday, July 21.

A few minutes after the call, he locates the Starbucks. We sat down to discuss his music, life in Nashville, and how the moustache on his guitar became his logo.

This will be your first time headlining at Jammin’ Java, but you’ve performed there as an opener several times. Are there any songs you’re particularly excited to play at this show?

For this Jammin’ Java show, I’m actually going to be doing a full band thing. Most of the time, I’m just playing solo, or I’ll play with one percussionist. We’re doing a Counting Crows cover of their song “Round Here,” and I’m just really pumped for it, because there’s so much energy with the band. And there’s a song of my own that I’m really excited for, we just rehearsed yesterday so I’m pretty psyched. It’s called “Know You,” it’s on my last EP, and I’ve never played it with a full band except for in a studio, so it’s coming together much differently than the way we recorded it, it’s really groovy, and it’s going to be awesome. I’m really excited.

How did you first get involved with playing and writing music?

My grandparents bought me a little keyboard when I was in the second grade, and my parents kind of forced me to take lessons. After a year or so, it turned into the other way around, my parents wanted me to do homework and I was like “No, I’d rather do this.” It went from them forcing me to play music to trying to hold me away from it.

Alright, so where did the mustache on your guitar come from?

It would work so much better if I had a mustache. Six years ago, my friend and I were walking around on a beach and we had my guitar, and for some reason she had a fake mustache and she just put it on my guitar, and we walked up to this group of college kids that were partying and they said “Whoa! There’s a mustache!” and I was like “Yeah!” and since then I just left it on. I just thought it was goofy. It kind of turned into a logo. There’s really no story line. I’ve had people ask me if I was supporting Movember, which I probably should, because I always feel bad when I’m like “No, it’s not for charity, there’s no reason.” But I just started putting it on everything, every time I’d make a new piece of merch, I’d put it on there… I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.

You’re preparing to record an album in Nashville in the fall. What’s the process like? Are you writing now?

I feel like I have a different process for writing. A lot of people will write 50 to 60 songs, and pick the best 12 and make an album—that’s probably what I should be doing, but I’ll usually write 200 half songs, and then pick the ones I like and really finish those. For this upcoming album, I have 10 solid songs I really want to record, but I do want to write more, too. And if I write better ones, we can pick the best.

What’s the difference between playing gigs in Northern Virginia and Nashville?

In Northern Virginia, there are a lot of restaurants, wineries, and bars you can hit. I’ll just play mostly covers for two or three hours… In Nashville, they’re a lot more focused on the writing. It’s harder to get a paid gig in Nashville, because there are so many people who will just play for free. Everywhere you go there’s live music, so you’ve really got to stand out. Here, it’s easier to do full time. There’s just not enough musicians.

What the biggest risk you’ve taken so far that’s paid off?

I was really set on going to Berklee (College of Music in Boston) for school. I did their five week-camp, I got a scholarship there, I already had a network there that I could go to. But I decided last minute to go to Belmont. I went and visited for a weekend with my parents, and I just felt like it was where I should be as a writer. I’m glad I went somewhere where I didn’t know anyone. I knew I could go to Berklee, and learn more about performance and technique, but here I’m learning about songwriting and the business. I don’t know which one’s more valuable, but I think I made the right decision. - Elke Thoms


Discography

2013 - Dotted Lines - EP

  1. We Should Be in Love
  2. Know You
  3. Reset
  4. Love You Lazy
  5. Before We're Old
All songs written by Andrew Tufano.
All songs produced and mixed by Jim Ebert and engineered by Sean Russell at Cue Recording Studios.
All songs mastered by Bruce Kane at Sterling Productions, Ltd.
Drums and bass performed by Andy Hamburger and Eric Scott, respectively.
Album art shot and produced by Marcus Joseph.


2012 - Right Where We Should Be - EP
  1. I'd Say Yes
  2. The Difference 
  3. Little Kid Life (co-written with Brooke Tomlinson) 
  4. Detour 
All songs written by Andrew Tufano unless noted otherwise.
All songs produced and mixed by Jim Ebert and engineered by Sean Russell at Cue Recording Studios.
All songs mastered by Bruce Kane at Sterling Productions, Ltd.
Drums and bass performed by the dynamic duo, Derek Lee and Aaron M. Cavanagh, respectively.
Album art shot and produced by Marcus Joseph.

Photos

Bio

Andrew Tufano played his first live show at 12 years old, and it wasn’t long before he developed his quirky stage persona, which includes intricate guitar chops, improvisational comedy, and a fake mustache plastered on his guitar. Embodying a truly musical spirit, the Pop-Americana singer/songwriter out of Sterling, Virginia looks forward to recording his first full-length album in the later months of 2014. 

The album, consisting of songs written and co-written by the unsigned artist over the past year, follows the completion of Andrew’s first tour and the release of his latest EP, Dotted Lines. The album proceeds will support his "Stuff the 'Stache" charity campaign, through which Andrew has raised over $1400 for VH1 Save The Music Foundation.  “I’ve always wanted my music to be about something greater than myself,” says Andrew. “I can only hope that by raising money and awareness for music education in schools, someone will live a fuller life through their musical experience, as I have.”

Apart from work on the album and raising money for the VH1 charity, which supports elementary and middle schools with faltering music programs, Andrew is currently planning an 8 week cross country tour for the summer of 2015. “One of the most gratifying feelings is actualizing a dream or idea,” says Andrew. “For me, the process of self-booking and self-managing a tour has that element of self-gratification. Although I haven’t fully unpacked from my most recent tour, just the thought of living life on the road for another few months gets me pumped.

Winning a variety of awards since being a first place winner of the NAfME Electronic Music Talent Search at age 11, Andrew has been playing the piano since 2003. Since then he has learned bits and pieces of the guitar, ukulele, accordion, drum set, saxophone, french horn, harmonica, and whatever else he can put his hands on. His past two EP’s have featured performances by Andrew on acoustic, electric, baritone, tenor, and bass guitars, organs, wurlitzers, synth keyboards, vocals, and auxiliary percussion.  

The Dotted Lines EP, which landed Andrew the “Young Artist Award” in the 30th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest in 2013, was recorded with producer Jim Ebert of Cue Studios, sound engineer Sean Russell, drummer Andy Hamburger, and bassist Eric Scott in Falls Church, Virginia. The pop-centric EP is driven by the single, “We Should Be in Love,” a catchy, summery tune. Among the other tracks are the rhythmically gritty “Know You,” and jazzy foot-tapper “Love You Lazy,” proving Andrew’s dynamic and varied musical tastes.

Dotted Lines is preceded by his debut EP, Right Where We Should Be, recorded in just 3 days in late March of 2012. It features the song “Little Kid Life” which won gold in the pop category of the 29th Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.

Juggling a wardrobe of other musical hats, Andrew is currently serving as a piano tutor, session pianist and guitarist, co-writer, song-charter, and street performer to fund his upcoming album. He takes his eclectic personality to the stage as well, where Andrew comfortably displays his quirky sense of humor and spontaneous personality. “I want my live show to be an extension of my true personality, not a stage-friendly facade. Establishing a sense of realness with audiences is a priority for me.”

Andrew's philanthropic tendencies have surfaced over the years through a variety of charitable endeavors. Benefit concerts he has performed at include Hearts for the Horn, Ice out Hunger, Stick It to Sarcoma, International Justice Mission tailgates and banquets, Run Me Home 10k, Adventist Rehab Hospital, Dulles Plane Pull Fundraisers, PinkJams Under 40 Music Marathon, Wave of Change benefiting El Refugio in Costa Rica, Cancer Can Rock, Laps for Leukemia, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and a variety of performances for high school fundraisers. Andrew is also currently in the registration process for Musicians on Call in Nashville.

Andrew has recently completed successful freshman year at Belmont University studying songwriting, as well as performing frequently, co-writing, and writing bios for himself in third person in Nashville. Now, with over 300 hundred shows under his belt and dozens planned throughout the country, it’s evident that Andrew’s enthusiasm and drive won’t be running dry any time soon. “Two years ago, I would have never imagined I’d be living in Nashville planning a cross country tour. Music has taken me farther than I ever thought it would, and I’m eager to see where it takes me next.”

Band Members