Gangs of Ballet frontman, Brad Klynsmith has added yet another role to his job description; Brad is now a manager and mentor of newfound talent, Andrew Sutton. Andrew is a sixteen year old musical prodigy hailing from the east coast city of Durban. The interest around Andrew has already warranted a headline in the Sunday Tribune as an artist to watch. Scroll down for our scoop on the level-headed, charismatic and extremely talented, Andrew Sutton:
When did it all start for you?
[Andrew] I remember listening to the radio but then Josh Groban released You Raised Me Up. I said to my Dad: ‘Dad, let’s go buy this song.’ And he was like, what, no. For two days I was like: ‘We’re going to Musica and were going to buy the song.’ Eventually we bought the song. There was a school show, this was when I was like six, and they were like we don’t know what to do at this part. Immediately I was like: ‘I’ll sing You Raise Me Up.’ And they were like cool. I sang and there was an old lady in glasses in the front crying and I was like, this is cool. That’s definitely where the passion started. I went to a Justin Bieber show four of five years ago, after the show I looked at my parents and just said this is what I want to do and they were like, cool.
And your parents are they supportive?
[Andrew] I joke about it all the time but my Dad is living his dream through me. My Dad has backed me from day one, so has my mom and my sisters, they’ve always backed me. I really appreciate it. I have some friends at school that are so talented but their parents are pushing them to be a doctor for instance. I’m just so grateful for them being on my side. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system.
What brings you guys up here [Joburg]? Just promoting?
[Andrew] Yeah, the media stuff and then we’re recording in Potcherstroom for the Ep, which is very exciting. But ja, it was mainly just a media tour and then we thought we would fit in the recording while we’re up here. We’re recording with a guy named Ewald, he’s from the band Monark.
You have the benefit of working with someone from Gangs of Ballet [Brad Klynsmith] and with someone from Monark. Did you ever see yourself at this point?
[Andrew] I saw myself doing my best to make it into the industry but I had no idea that I would be privileged enough to have someone like Brad, or any of those professionals backing me from the beginning. It’s unbelievable. I’m so lucky.
Has the sense of mentorship really come through?
[Andrew] I always wanted to sing when I was younger but I always thought it was an ‘I’d love to’ like people want to go to space as a career. When Brad approached me, he didn’t promise or say we were going to do anything until later on. Just that he approached me was very encouraging and it kind of pushed me like this could really be a reality. I started working on that and as soon as he wrote a song for me, we went from there. He’s my manager and mentor and it’s just been awesome. He’s involved in every aspect of it.
This is for Brad, did you expect going to your old school’s concert that you were going to see anything like it?
[Brad] I was actually in that very same musical when I was at school. I think I did like grade eight and Matric, I think I played the drums. I wasn’t actually on the stage but I was backstage. So, I knew what it was and I was expecting that. It’s been modernised a little bit more. He [Andrew] came out and he was doing these very current pop songs, looking good while doing it and just with amazing vocals. I had my wife sitting next to me crushing on him and I was like ‘Geese, who’s this kid?’ I wasn’t expecting that but I’ve always enjoyed looking, maybe on a subconscious level, I like to look for new talent and all that kind of stuff. But this was probably the first time I’ve ever acted on anything.
Did the pop thing come natural to you, Andrew?
[Andrew] Pop is definitely my favourite genre and I think it’s the easiest to have fun with. It’s easy for everyone to connect with. It might not be the song people in fifty years might look back and think: ‘The greatest song ever written was that pop tune.’ But it’s definitely something you can have a lot of fun with and I love that. I would love to try different things but ballads and pop is what I like to perform most.
When do you think your EP will be released?
[Andrew] I’ve been saying early in the year, the sooner the better. We don’t really want to compete with the December/Christmas rush. So we’re going to wait until all of their stuff has calmed down. The EP is really starting to come together, which is very cool.
[Brad] We’re busy negotiating with guys for a whole lot of collaborations and stuff. So, we will see where it ends up. We have some really cool stuff on the horizon.
I suspect it’s a secret but who would you like to collaborate with, not confirming or denying?
[Andrew] I think people in the same pop vibe as me it would be people like Sketchy Bongo or Matthew Mole. I would like to collab with Gangs but they have a different vibe. To be honest, I’ll take anybody I can get at this point.
You’ve even shared the stage with Gangs, Matthew Mole and Shortstraw, is there anymore going up [teasing]?
[Andrew] I got to open for Gangs, Matthew Mole, Freshly Ground and Majozi and all those guys. To meet them as a fan was cool but to share a stage with them was awesome. I didn’t know what to expect. I was kind of like, cool Brad Klyns is my manager but I didn’t know what to expect. In two months I’ve opened for some pretty cool people. Everyone has been so cool and they’ve been happy to share advice and share their experiences.