Making his way into the country music business, Spanish speaking and singing, Andy Gibson started out playing in Mexican restaurants in Nashville and then that fateful event happened.
Andy talks with WYCD personality Rob Stone, backstage at the Downtown Hoedown about how he got noticed and began his start in country music. At the advice of friends, he knew he would have to do something different, something no one else was doing.
“So I went down to no-onesville where all the Mexican restaurants are in Nashville, and got a bunch of gigs lined up singing Spanish music and also country music, and I would take country songs and translate them into Spanish.”
As luck would have it “one evening John Rich walked into the restaurant where I was working and I saw him go back to the bar. I thought to myself – what if this is that moment? I just happened to have one of his songs that was out at the time “Lost In This Moment” so I crossed my fingers, I played the song – he loved it – he jumped up on stage – he played it in English – we sang together and afterwards he signed me to write songs for his company.” For Andy it was a matter of being prepared (which he attributes to being a ‘Boy Scout,’) and being in the right place at the right time.
Following that, Andy wrote over 150 songs in one year. He laughs that some were good, and some not so good, but he credits John Rich for being influential in teaching him to write good music. “He taught me how to write good music and told me to not let anything pass that you weren’t sure about.”
Andy Gibson co-wrote the powerful ballad “Don’t You Wanna Stay” that Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson have won several awards for including CMA ‘Musical Event of the Year,’ ‘Single by a Vocal Collaboration’ and ‘Music Video by a Duo/Group/Collaboration’ at the American Country Awards and ‘Single of the Year’ and ‘Vocal Event of the Year’ at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Andy confides that he has had a laundry list of jobs before this big break, and not your average lawn cutting, snow shoveling jobs that you may expect, but anything to pay the rent. “Well not anything, respectable things” he jokes.
When he was younger, he worked for his dad’s air conditioning company in Las Vegas. “I was the guy who crawled under the trailer to get the dead animals out of the duct work, or change the filters out at the Pet Smarts cause they were clogged with hair. All the fun jobs right?”
He also worked as a janitor and a deck hand on a boat, but more specifically when he moved to Nashville, he paid the rent working as janitor at Babies R Us – “polishing the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, taking care of the place, and waiting tables – and I gotta say, it’s a lot harder waiting tables – personally my choice of jobs, would be janitor over waiting tables.”
He gives props to those who wait tables and says it’s a hard job, you don’t make much in salary so you have to make it up in tips. “The customer is always right, you have to remember all the drink orders, then remember not to drop the drink orders on the way to tables.”
Music has always been a part of his family. Growing up he tells us, before flipping houses was the thing to do, his family used to buy old homes, gut them and sell them for a good second income. “So I would find building materials, old nails, pieces of base molding, scrap material. My dad had a bunch of cigar boxes, so I would take those cigar boxes and build guitars for myself. My dad would come home from work everyday and play guitar to the radio or his favorite records, so I wanted to do that too.” He admits “They sounded horrible. It’s really hard to slide your fingers up and down a bunch of rubber bands linked together.”
Watch the entire interview with Andy Gibson at the Downtown Hoedown:
Nanci Haskin/99.5 WYCD