In the wake of increasing free time during this past spring’s quarantine measures, many pursued new hobbies or reinvigorated old ones. For Andrew Weber, then a senior at Truman State University, his pastime involved more dedication than most: embarking upon a music career.
Weber released his newest album, “Too Soon Too Late,” Sept. 19. While he started writing the songs about a year ago, and released some on his first record, he decided to debut the polished collection this summer.
A pandemic might not be the ideal time to begin branding one’s music, Weber admitted, but the artist has taken advantage of several opportunities to promote his sound both virtually and at socially-distanced, in-person venues.
“It’s been really exciting to go with the changes and try to get my name out there, even though a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing has been online so far,” Weber said. “Now we’re kind of ramping things up. People are going out again slowly, so I’m able to play different gigs like that. It’s a lot of fun.”
One place Weber has regularly performed is downtown’s Wine on Washington, a local wine bar that was in search of live music over the weekends.
The bar’s owner, Donna Brown, explained that the artist reached out to them himself in hopes of a live gig. She remembered being impressed with his music from the start, and his engaging method of performing soon hit it off.
“Andrew has a comforting, mellow, country rock vibe to his style of music,” Brown said. “It brings something different, because instead of just talking in the background, you’re forced to sit and listen to him. He sets up a little differently, so people actually listen and respond a little better. You want to listen to him. He’s got a great sound, a very cool vibe. His style of music fits our wine bar.”
There was a time Weber didn’t share his talents, however. The musician said growing up, he often kept his guitar passions to himself, even when he became more invested in the craft.
Weber began taking electric guitar lessons when he was 12, but said that after a while he felt like playing was more of an obligation than fun. It wasn’t until high school that he fully discovered his love for guitar: this time, acoustic.
“I started trying to sing too,” Weber reflected. “I never did that before while I was playing. I kind of liked doing that. I did a talent show in high school and kept playing, doing covers and stuff, but didn’t do any videos, didn’t tell anyone I could play.”
That all changed when he struck a new sense of purpose at his last baseball tournament during senior year of high school.
With his baseball days coming to a close, Weber said he knew he’d need to find new interests. After a game cancellation, his team headed back to the hotel where he found a heads-up penny outside the lobby — a sign of good luck, according to Weber.
“When we came back from dinner, in the same spot where that penny was, there was a guitar pick,” Weber said. “I picked it up and thought, ‘This is insane … it’s gotta be a sign or something.’ Then my family asked what year the penny was, and it was my birth year — 1998 — so I took that as a sign that music is what I should be doing.”
He continued playing through college, but a breakup his junior year was what ultimately inspired him to write songs. His first song, titled “She Don’t Know,” sparked continued songwriting, live performances and eventual album releases.
This link will take you to any streaming service that you use so you can listen to Too Soon Too Late. Go check it out! https://ffm.to/andrewweber_toosoontoolate
Weber’s former guitar teacher and now producer, Chris McCollum, has recognized his growth as a musician over time as well as what makes him stand out.
“A lot of students, let’s face it, take guitar for a year, put it down and never pick it back up again,” McCollum said. “Or years later, they might have wished they didn’t, and they have to start all over. In his case, it was a little bit of a surprise because I didn’t really hear him doing anything with it for a while, and I thought, I hope he’s still sticking with it … obviously he was.”
Years following their lessons, Weber reached out to McCollum for some guidance on making music. McCollum was already excited by his potential after a few songs and soon agreed to work with him.
Although Weber’s music chops have helped him rise, McCollum regards his determination as perhaps his biggest asset.
“I’m really impressed by his work ethic and just how much he’s working at it,” McCollum commented. “It takes work. I think that’s what stops a lot of people. There are a lot of great musicians out there that could possibly make something of themselves, but it’s really hard to write the music and stick with it, and keep sticking with it. You’re probably gonna get a bunch of ‘no’s before the ‘yes’s come. You have to stick in there.”
Brown said she has also witnessed Weber’s devotion to his goals as well as his welcoming and warm demeanor.
Weber’s performances at the wine bar have fostered their healthy entertainment and atmosphere, Brown described. She said Weber’s calming disposition has been well-received by guests as they seem to enjoy his company.
“He’s fun to have, and he’s just a great guy,” Brown said. “He has a great personality, you know, a hometown-feel kind of person. When you own a bar, you kind of want that. We’re not the traditional party crowd bar, but you want good conversation, and you want people in your wine bar that also reflect on us, and I think he does a good job with that … We’ll have him as long as he’ll have us.”
As Weber and McCollum look toward the future, they acknowledge that self-promoting in the industry can be tough. Although Weber has found success at his gigs so far, they know there is still possibility for rejection.
Although the venture can be disappointing at times, McCollum and Weber both agree that it is worth it.
“When people say ‘don’t take it personal,’ it’s hard not to take it personal, because it’s the music you wrote, so it really means a lot to you,” McCollum explained. “I know these songs mean a lot to him. He really put a lot of emotion and feeling into them. That’s what makes music the best, is the songs that do that are deeper and have more meaning to them.”
The two hope to spread that meaning as well as they can through multiple platforms, as well as word-of-mouth.
Mainly they are looking to broaden Weber’s reach through social media, streaming and various live venues across the state.
“I’d like to get out and play in more locations,” Weber said. “I’m going back to St. Louis to play for the first time which will be a lot of fun. I’d love to start playing in Columbia. Kansas City would be cool. Just expanding my reach and trying to expand that fanbase throughout Missouri is my immediate goal. I’ve written a bunch of songs — I have about 40-plus songs I’ve written, so then after that, I want to keep releasing music out to those streaming platforms — keep getting that traction.”
Weber’s progress has developed relatively quickly, McCollum remarked, a form of momentum that could help launch further acclaim in the years to come.
McCollum anticipates more improvement looking forward and remains eager to see what is to come.
“I expect him to write some even better songs,” McCollum said. “This is his first released music and pretty good for a first try, so I’d expect even better in the future … He’s just starting out here, really, so the sky’s the limit.”
Fans looking to find his songs can access them on streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify. To keep updated on his work, those interested can follow his social media by searching Andrew Weber Music.