Andrew Johnston

Andrew Johnston, the Wakefield-based artist and music producer, has always had a hard time pinning down his inspiration to one definitive direction. A cursory perusal through his discography bears this out. 2005’s “Hearts in Transit”, a collection of soft rock hits and contemplative ballads, was followed up just a few years later by “Leaders Factory” an indie rock masterwork featuring many of Montreal’s leading lights in the genre (members of Besnard Lakes and Elephant Stone to name a few). Fast forward to 2017’s “The New Great Game” and Andrew was painting in broad, expressive brushstrokes, heavily inspired by arena filling rock anthems by Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, and produced by Murray Lightburn of the Dears. If there’s one thing that’s always tied together Andrew’s musical output, however, it’s been a belief in the power of music to inspire, motivate, and to be a force for positivity and change in the world. This is clearly evident in the artist’s live shows; rabble- rousing affairs where no audience member escapes from the sing-along choruses and Andrew is likely to end up perched atop the bar by the end of the night.  

A quick glance through Andrew’s music collection shows that his genre defying music career seems to have been almost inevitable. Andrew has always gravitated to artists with a restless spirit that evolved over the course of their careers: Neil Young, Ryan Adams, David Bowie, Todd Rudgren. The excitement of uncovering different eras of an artists career and being challenged by new sounds, ideas and fashions clearly inspires and motivates Andrew’s music asswell.

Andrew’s love of the poppier side of music (as showcased on his albums “Hearts in Transit” and “Wake of the Wonder Years”) came full circle when Andrew was invited to open for two of the biggest names in 80s pop: Colin Hay (Men at Work) and Big Country. Andrew made the most of his Colin Hay opening set by relating an anecdote of driving around in his mum’s Jeep Cherokee Laredo in the 80s singing men at work songs. The audience seemed to relate and Andrew got them all singing along.

Since then, Andrew has emerged from the shadow of his heroes to become an artist in his own right. In 2014 his song “Go Get Another Dream” was featured in the film “In Your Eyes” by Joss Whedon’s Bellwether Pictures, and the song appeared on the Lakeshore records soundtrack alongside other artists such as Iron and Wine, and Santigold.

Today Andrew continues to write and record music as Andrew Johnston, while also moving more into the realm of music production and the creation of custom music for sync licensing. Andrew’s life is further enriched through his role as father to Charlie (5) and Matilda (1) and his role as API Technical Writer at Shopify. Andrew is currently interested in converging his twin careers in tech and music into providing educational opportunities for youth and defavourised communities using music technology.

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