Every so often, an artist comes along who is indefinable — an artist who is truly paving her own way with bits of music, sound, vibes and words that speak to her on a deeper level. Such an artist isn’t bound by genre and is intent on creating a unique musical expression of herself. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Andy Allo is that artist.
Andy’s new solo album, Superconductor, has people calling her a refreshing songbird with a bright funk soul. Even her peers can’t stop singing her praises. Says R&B vocalist Ledisi, “After eight bars of her first song, ‘People Pleaser’, I realized that I had stopped breathing. Andy’s songwriting is so refreshing, and vocally, she does just enough gentle gliding through her melodies. Her lyrics say it all, and the musicianship on this project reminds me why I fell in love with music.”
Superconductor is indeed “all that” and so much more. The album is the sophomore effort of a young artist who is clearly going to be here for a long time, and the start of something musically fresh. Says Allo, “I created a genre called Alter.Hip.Soul for my first album, UnFresh (2009), whereas the compositions for Superconductor incorporate a variety of layers and a whole lot of Funk.”
Andy, who hails from Cameroon, Africa, had her first introduction to a musical instrument through her piano-teaching mother who taught her at age seven. Andy, who is the youngest of five siblings, found her voice, however, by harmonizing with one of her older sisters to songs such as “Sweet Chariot”. Says Andy, “Growing up in Cameroon, life was very easy and simple. I was surrounded by music. Every morning there would be records playing, like Dolly Parton and Miriam Makeba; and on road trips, my father and I would listen to Fleetwood Mac.”
Andy, who joined Prince’s New Power Generation in 2011 as singer/guitarist, co-wrote three of the album’s nine tracks with Prince – “Superconductor”, “The Calm” and “Long Gone” – who also provided the larger-than-life musical arrangements for all tracks and served as Executive Producer. Says Andy, “Collaborating with Prince was such a blessing. He created an environment that was open to any and all ideas. It was really exciting to bring him an acoustic song, which is how most of my songs began, and to see him turn them into these epic masterpieces.”
Andy wrote the remaining six songs on the record and enlisted the help of some legends to make her sound complete. Legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker and Trombone Shorty play on the reggae-influenced “If I Was a King”, and the infectious lead single, “People Pleaser”. The result is an album that ranges from expansive, multi-layered songs with a full, big sound and lyrical depth. Andy beautifully balances the strong and fierce side of herself with the vulnerable and romantic throughout the record.
Andy, who was a familiar face on G4’s Attack of the Show, and campaigns for Clean & Clear and Kohl’s, met Prince in 2011 through The Africa Channel, and the two bonded instantly about music and life. “We jammed a few times after that first meeting. It was like spending time with an old friend. We joked around from the moment we met. It was such an open space, and we talked about music, religion and life, “ says Andy.
Of the album’s title, Andy explains, “I’ve always been interested in energy and have been studying superconductivity. Whenever someone or something comes into our lives, there is transference of energy. Music is one of those things. It has a way of moving and bringing people together that is universal, and my hope for this record is for it to be a part of that movement.“
“I feel like this is just the beginning of my story,” she says. “There’s a lot I want to share with the world.”
“We knew she’d be leading her own revolution soon,” adds Prince. Indeed, and that soon is now.