Arts Events Leisure | People and Places
29/04/2021
Andy’s plucking guitar strings and heartstrings
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Andy Leonard first discovered his passion for music when he was still in nappies. He had a toy piano that had songs stored, and his preferred song of choice was B-I-N-G-O. It would be played on repeat while he’d sing and dance along. It was only when there was a play at primary school and Andy was handed a part by the music teacher that involved a song that his singing career really began. With unexpected compliments coming in, Andy thought, “Maybe this is something I can do. Maybe I should keep going”.

Photo credit Chloe Mereszko

Upon entering high school, Andy proceeded to learn the guitar and partake in busking in the elements on Main St in Mornington at just 13, where he played a compilation of covers and originals, which would prompt people to stop and listen, especially his go-to song Father and Son, by Cat Stevens. Andy saved the money he received from busking for a trip to LA to study songwriting with Pam Sheyne and Richard Harris. As a student at the Music Industry with Cheryl Beattie, it was a surreal experience where he threw himself into the LA music scene. In the nurturing environment, Andy got to play with Dig The Kid before they joined in on one of Andy’s originals – a true ‘pinch me’ moment.

Following this, the experienced performer was thrilled to book gigs and partake in the school band during Year 12 at Padua College last year throughout lockdown. The 19-year-old rising star, singer and songwriter is a regular at the colourful events hosted across the Peninsula, including the Rosebud Kite Festival and the Mount Eliza Gig on the Green as well as sets at Gods Kitchen and General Public. Andy blossoms from the Peninsula spirit and the elated feeling he gets when he steps on stage. The passionate musician loves to create songs that stir the soul with his Australia pop, folk-pop and acoustic sounds.

Andy describes his music as “not fake” because he writes from a very personal place and uses the process as a cathartic experience while making sure that his original songs are general enough for his audiences to relate to. His lyrics capture emotions of the listener, with songs that they’ll happily have on repeat and discover different reactions are evoked during each listen.

“I speak the truth; my songs come from deep inside me and they develop in their own time, my inner feeling and emotions, because your struggle is just a part of your story,” Andy said.

His ‘puppy love’ songs are influenced by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Bruno Mars, but he does make sure to alternate daily on the genre he writes. If a song isn’t his style, he’ll pass it on to someone who it will suit more. Now Andy is completing a Bachelor of Applied Music (Performance) at Box Hill Institute, where he’s thriving on meeting like-minded people and working with fellow student Kevin Silvester to record his original songs that will be released in a few months.

“I want to be someone that everyone can look up to and relate to,” Andy said. “This is how I’m marketing myself.”

To catch Andy’s first single, Alone, when it’s released, follow his musical journey on Facebook at @AndyLeonard

KATE SEARS

Photo credit: Jimmy Logan

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