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Going it Alone

By Mike Alexander

Published in the Sunday News 26th January 2014

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Andrew Fruean took a leap of faith to record his debut album.

“The recording of this album has been a journey in confronting my fears as an artist,” the Wellington-based songwriter says of his debut album DREW, which was released late last year.  

“Something changed in me 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 am proud of.”

Fruean, who doesn’t do superficial and whose folksy sound revolves around guitar lines and a super-sweet voice, works for Veterans’ Affairs in Wellington and while his day-to-day dealings with those who served in the military capacity has kept him grounded, he’s a songwriter and musician at heart.

“I’ve been involved in music for a long time and played in various bands but it’s only been in the last three or four years that I’ve been working on my own material.”

I just don’t do pop culture, so it’s been difficult as an artist to know where I fit in.”

“I went through a creative kind of catharsis where most of the songs on the album came to me and then it was a question of whether I was willing to overcome my insecurities about whether my peers or other people would like it.”

“It was a very emotional process for me trying to express how I feel and what I think is meaningful. I was very conscious of not wanting to overdo things so I asked Nic McGowan (Good Laika, Ghostplane and Paselode) to produce the album because I respected his ability to keep me in check if I went overboard.”

Although Fruean – who plays guitar, mandolin and lead vocal on the album and who has drafted in celebrated musicians Darren Mathiassen (Trinity Roots, Rhombus and Hollie Smith Band) on drums and Paul Mouncey (OdESSA) on bass guitar – still has his day job, he hopes to find a few windows of opportunity to play live outside of Wellington with Auckland in mind.

“It’s interesting that since the album has been released I’ve had a warmer response in Auckland than Wellington although I’m not really that well known up there. Wellington has produced so many great soulful and rootsy bands that it can be quite frustrating if you are doing something different because people just don’t seem to be as open to it. The response I’ve had particularly in Auckland has been refreshingly positive.”

© 2014 Fairfax New Zealand Limited