UT student takes on music industry with catchy tunes and spectacular live shows

Chris Duncan

When Andy Craig imagines his live performances, he doesn’t picture a typical concert; he dreams of immersive and grand spectacles that inspire memories of adolescence in his audience.

“If I am going to do a show, I want to do something concept-driven or narrative-driven, and it’s going to be a spectacle,” Craig said. “I want to encourage people to hopefully feel like a kid again.”

UT graduate student Craig kicked off his professional music career while pursuing his film studies degree at Yale. Craig said he enjoyed performing at a young age and often participated in church choirs and theater productions. But Craig said it wasn’t until 2014 when he decided to take the next step and record his debut EP, Death of Day.

After sending out a mass promotional email via Yale’s webmail services, Craig said he grabbed the attention of fellow Yale student Christopher McGill. Known professionally as Soleternity, McGill went back to school after becoming a professional producer at 17. During the 2000s, Soleternity had his hands in over 500,000 record sales, producing records for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Tech N9ne and Young Buck of G-Unit. McGill said Craig’s email stood out as a bold move.

“I recognized right away that this was really ambitious and shrewd,” McGill said. “I contacted him, listened to his music and said that I was also a music producer on campus and started working with him from there.”

Initially, McGill said he advised Craig, giving him small tips on mixing his own music. But after developing more of a relationship, McGill said he started giving him some of his beats to Craig to use in his work, which eventually turned into his second EP, Rubble.

“(Andy) started writing to them and would send me the lyrics,” McGill said. “I gave him my blessing to go ahead and record to these tracks, and when he sent me the tracks it was super unique sounding stuff, really new.”

While building his live performance around a core message to “embrace your imagination,” Craig met the head of Audio Records, Tim Viksand. The Norwegian producer, currently studying at JMC Academy in Bribane, Australia, said he was introduced to Craig by chance at a music expo in Los Angeles. When he saw him perform, Viksand said he knew immediately he had to sign him.

“He was just so cool,” Viksand said. “I was really into his music. I decided to sign him there to release his EP in LA.”

Viksand is also the executive producer of Craig’s upcoming single “Stand Up.” Viksand said the first time Craig visited him in Norway, a session artist played the song’s bass line, and they ran with it. Craig said although more than a year is a while to work on one song, he thinks everyone’s hard work will be evident once “Stand Up” is released.

“There is so much within the song that you have to be attentive to,” Craig said. “From the arrangement to the specific sounds. This one is different because it’s not strict hip-hop, more acoustic pop. We’ve created something that’s unique.”

With his upcoming single in the works and more live performances planned for the future, Craig said he intends to build The Andy Craig Show into a sight everyone will want to behold. His goal is to deliver imaginative concepts to the stage with his own music enterprise and collaboration.

“Being able to bounce ideas off of people, hearing their ideas and working to achieve a particular sound (is) what I value about this whole process,” Craig said. "I’ve learned so much, and it’s something I have to keep doing to grow.”