Andrew Fruean

Andrew Fruean is a Wellington musician.
In his self titled album, ‘DREW’ presents a finely crafted collection of soul-infused pop songs.

Unashamedly influenced by pop/rock’s old guard ElvisLed Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones, The Police and soul classics such as PrinceStevie WonderMarvin Gaye, Fruean intends the listener to be moved.

“Emotionally and Spiritually… I want them to make that investment, and I want the songs to pay them back”

Over the last ten years Andrew has proved himself as one of Wellington’s musical collaborators and singer/songwriters. Balancing a music career and a shirt-and-tie career hasn’t always been easy. With the duality comes a sense of not belonging entirely to either world.

“I always felt that I wanted to express myself creatively and artistically through music but I allowed the fear of failure and public scrutiny get the better of me at times…”

Now Andrew’s excellent new album ‘DREW’  has been released, traversing personal themes of discovery, loss, heartache, and self awareness; of life and family; of transition:

“Embracing that point where the past meets the uncertain future.”

With the help of producer Nic McGowan (Good Laika, Ghostplane and Paselode) Andrew has finally arrived, with a beautifully crafted album. A collection of songs with infectious melodies and heart!

“The recording of this album has been a journey in confronting my fears as an artist. Something changed in me in recently. The life of the 40-hour-week will stifle your soul if you’re a musician at heart. So I took a leap of faith and now we’re here! I now have a record that I’m very proud of.”

The songs were captured live at Wellington’s Island Bay Studios and co-produced with McGowan and performed by Fruean and his friends. Fruean plays guitar, mandolin and lead vocal on the album. His collaborators include celebrated Wellington musicians Darren Mathiassen (Trinity Roots, Rhombus and Hollie Smith Band) on drums and Paul Mouncey (OdESSA) on bass guitar. Together they form an impressive rhythm section joined by Tim Solly on keyboards and Andre Paris on saxophone & clarinet.

“It’s been an exciting process for me. The music we’ve committed to record is honest and rich. I wanted to create a layer of song and sound that would draw people in and I’m proud of the lyrics too. Sometimes a songwriter can sound like they have a message on ‘repeat play’; I’ve tried to keep the focus wide on a range of diverse personal truths…In other words, it’s not all about a girl! With the calibre of the musicians, the live performances of the album will be magical. I can’t wait!”

DREWNew Zealand music critic Nick Bollinger had this to say about Fruean’s debut album in August 2013:

With the shear volume of new music that continues to pour out, I’m a bit surprised that I got to hear this at all.  But I’m pleased I did because it’s really very good! This is just so much better, more mature and sophisticated than 95 per cent of the local music that gets sent to me for review.

There’s nothing like hearing real musicians playing together in real time. It immediately feels human and believable, and right from the first bars I know I want to hear Fruean’s story. 

Fruean is a really good singer. His voice, a remarkable instrument in itself, often starts out intimate and confiding. His performances can build during a song to a strong soaring falsetto. That sort of thing can be hard to carry off…but Fruean goes the dynamic distance while staying true to the emotion, never giving way to theatrics or histrionics. The singing here is really special – both powerful and delicate, and doesn’t sound like anyone else.

There’s an independent spirit in Fruean’s music in the way that it goes where ever it wants to, and takes it time if it feels like it…at other times the mood is more hushed and contained particularly when Fruean gets out his mandolin for a sad and eerie eulogy for his song “Angel”.

These songs are unmistakably personal and perhaps that accounts for Fruean’s apparent reticence… maybe its more fitting that a record like this isn’t being hyped as the release of the week as a major label might’ve done, but is beginning its journey more modesty, just slipping quietly into that busy market place ready to be discovered – listener, by solitary listener.

 

‘DREW’ is now available on iTunes and Google Play.