Ever noticed how many of the great female R&B and soul singers of the past three decades have first names beginning with A? There’s Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Amy Winehouse, and Adele, not to mention Aaliyah and Alicia Keys. Don’t be surprised if the name Andria Simone joins this illustrious A team in the near future.
This inspired singer-songwriter was born and raised in Toronto, but a colorfully adventurous life to date has helped her develop both as an artist and a self-confident young woman ready to take on the world. After all, how many aspiring soul singers have studying poker in the Ukraine on their resume? More conventionally, Andria has also studied flute, piano and voice, and her love of writing was established at an early age. “I’ve always enjoyed writing and poetry and getting my feelings out on paper,” she explains. Simone has long had a love for a wide range of musical genres, from heavy metal to dubstep, but has recently found herself a happy creative home in the world of soul and R&B.
Andria’s big career break came when her music reached the perceptive ears of veteran Toronto record producer/songwriter Greg Kavanagh, and his songwriting comrade Demetri James. JUNO Award-winner Kavanagh has worked on platinum-selling albums and with such artists as BKS, Michael Burgess and Wendy Lands, while JUNO-nominated songwriter James scored hit singles as a member of Brattt Pack and has extensive experience in music retail and a major record label. Both Kavanagh and James were so knocked out by Andria’s talent and potential that they have made her the flagship artist for their new venture.
“I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve never come across such an all-in package,” says Kavanagh. “Andria is a rare bird and the real deal.” Signing her to Artist-tree was a very quick process, he recalls. “Demetri came to me saying ‘I’ve found this really interesting singer.’ She came in, we talked a little bit and I asked her to sing something. She just sat on the couch and sang an Amy Winehouse song, and I went ‘O.K.!’ Then we said ‘let’s try to write something,’ and it has turned out to be a magical combination.”
There’s a refreshing variety to Andria Simone’s songs. The riveting and forceful “Do What I Want” showcases her bold feminist approach to life, and, as Kavanagh explains, “it defines the way she feels and thinks.” “Shame” is a classic Southern-soul style ballad that captures the power of Andria’s pipes to full effect, “Nothing Comes Easy” is rousing and gospel-tinged, while “Change” is a deeply personal song inspired by those facing illness and hard times.
Andria is now building a presence online. YouTube clips of her covering songs made famous by the likes of Etta James (“I Just Wanna Make Love To You”), the Rolling Stones (“Paint It Black”) and Sam Cooke (“Bring It On Home”) have been uploaded, to very positive response. They demonstrate her skill as an interpreter, but it is the strength of her original material that will make Simone a star.
Much as she enjoys writing and recording, it is performance that most captures Andria’s heart. “I would rather sing live than hear my songs playing somewhere,” she declares. “I really do leave it all there, onstage. I perform my soul out of my body!” She is a charismatic and natural performer, as those who have caught her recent showcases at The Drake and a triumphant show at the Fashion Art Toronto event can testify.
For corporate events, festivals and high end social functions, Andria is a stellar choice.
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