Ask Andy Stochansky where he gets his inspiration, and he’ll tell you that he has no idea and isn’t sure he wants to know; and maybe it’s best he leaves it that way. Because, for one thing, Andy seems to strike gold with whatever he does. But, also, it must be hard to know where you get your inspiration when you’re as awesomely eclectic, wonderfully weird, and supremely talented as Andy Stochansky is.
Blessed with musical virtuosity and raw charisma, Andy has become a sought-after commodity, both in his native Canada and numerous countries across the globe.
Born and raised in Toronto, he began tinkering with the family piano at the age of five. Shortly thereafter, his parents bought him a drum kit. (What were they thinking?) By the time he was in his 20s, he had become a hired-gun percussionist for no less than eight bands, developing a reputation as a top-notch player.
“I would take my drums to a bar on Queen Street West (a famous haven for live music in Toronto)…then pack them up and jump on the streetcar to get to my other two shows that night,” recalls Andy.
Eventually, he caught the ear of Ani Difranco, one of the world’s most revered independent folk artists. DiFranco asked him to play on her new album and, within months, he became her touring co-pilot.
“The connection was immediate,” remembers Andy. “We kind of looked at each other and knew there was something special going on,” And, something special it was. Their live shows grew out of small town cafes and into theaters across the world. With Difranco, Andy played 200 shows a year for seven years ,until he felt it was time to start expressing himself beyond the drums.
Splitting amicably with Difranco, he forged ahead on his own, adding piano, guitar, and some non-traditional instruments (including an old kitchen sink) to his repertoire. The result: a critically acclaimed debut solo album called Radio Fusebox.
Radio Fusebox was frequently hailed as one of the best albums of the year.The Times Colonist dubbed it an “outright gem” and described it as “glorious, textured world-pop,” while Boston Globecolumnist, Jon Anderman, proclaimed Andy “the best thing at South by Southwest.” Even David Byrne professed himself a fan.
After releasing Radio Fusebox, he wanted to create something a little more radio-friendly. “I wanted something with hook,” shares Andy. “I wanted feel good music. I wanted something that made people move. So, I wrote ‘Stutter,’ and that opened the flood gates.”He soon had 25 new songs, and an itch to play them in front of audiences. In February of 2000, he played six shows in and around Los Angeles, using the opportunity to showcase his new material. Soon after, Andy signed with RCA Victor, the same record company behind legends like Etta James and Ziggy Marley.
In the summer of 2002, Andy released his album 5 Star Motel. Produced by Tom Rothrock (Badly Drawn Boy, Elliot Smith), the album included the songs “Stutter” and “Wonderful (It’s Superman), both of which received considerable radio.
“Shine,” the first single from 100, was featured in the 2008 television series, Oprah’s Big Give, and in the film Keeping up with the Steins. After its success in the U.S., “Shine” was covered by Australian Idol runner-up, Shannon Noll. The song became a bona fide hit, selling eight times platinum and becoming the theme song for both the Australian and U.K cricket teams, as well as the 2008 Commonwealth Games.
By 2009, Andy took up residence in Los Angeles to write and produce for other artists. Some notable highlights include:”Northern Lights,”a song chosen for the Twilight Breaking Dawn (film / soundtrack) performed by Cider Sky, “The Best”(feat Dragonette), which became the first worldwide single for Lenno (Universal), and”Hyper Love,” asingle for Ferry Corstenthat reached the Billboard Dance Top 10.
Now, Andy is back with his newest project, White Elephant Orchestra, a seriously infectious blend of electro and art pop. White Elephant Orchestra is set to release a new album, entitled Debut.
“One day I heard a DJ lament about the lack of real music,” describes Andy. “She was adamant about hearing songs that sound a little less ‘cookie-cutter.’ I’m not sure I’ve done something less cookie-cutter, but her proclamation challenged me to start writing. One day, I’d like to let that DJ know that she set me off on a new course.”
Written, produced and played by Andy, Debut features Lola Stone-Fox and Martina Sorbara (Dragonette) on back-up vocals and tracks mixed by Grammy award winning mixing engineer Dave Pensado (Michael Jackson, Pink, Peaches).
“I think it’s the first time I’ve made a record where I don’t know how to make it any better,” says Andy. “This is the best I’ve got.”
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