His parents know him as Richard Andrew, his fans know him as Outasight and casual listeners know him for “that song stuck in my head.”
Just a few years ago, though, few would have known much about the New York native. The unknown singer found himself suddenly catapulted into the music spotlight after his unreleased single “Tonight is the Night” became the featured song of Pepsi’s “Who’s Next?” commercial.
Since then, he has cultivated a loyal fanbase through his unique ability to meet the modern demand for dance-all-night tunes. The singer, who has been tearing up arenas all around the United States in support of his first full-length album “Nights Like These,” promises that his concert at The Roxy Theatre on Friday will be a night to remember.
“We play loud, we play fast and we’re going to get the party going and have a good time. I’m really excited,” Andrew said.
Though Andrew might seem like an overnight success in the music world, he is anything but.
Just a few short years ago, Andrew was a college dropout working as a Brooklyn fry cook to pay for his own studio time. He also spent years driving around to open mics and performing for whomever would listen. In 2007, he released his first mixtape Employee of the Year EP, followed by the release of Radio New York in 2008.
Andrew eventually signed with Warner Brothers Records in 2009. It was at this time Andrew was ready to release “Tonight is the Night,” the song that would change his career forever.
His manager, Rene Mclean, submitted Andrew’s demo to Pepsi, which was soliciting energetic party tunes to anchor its upcoming campaign. Despite the fact that Andrew was a long shot, Pepsi evidently heard something in Andrew’s sound and selected “Tonight is the Night” for its “Who’s Next?” commercial.
The 60-second spot also included superstars such as Ray Charles, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, but Andrew’s distinctive sound allowed him to stand out among the titans.
“That kind of catapulted the song, which was previously unreleased, to a whole new level,” Andrew said. “It just went from a very organic day-by-day process to a mad rush. It just changed things so dramatically.”
After the release of the commercial, people began to take notice of the singer as someone clearly on the rise in the music industry.
“It just started right there, hearing your own song on the radio and starting to perform all around the world,” Andrew said. “It’s just a totally different thing — it took off on a whole new level so it was really kind of my breakthrough moment.”
What sets Andrew apart is his unique ability to fuse soul, rap, pop and rock into a futuristic sound. A fan of many genres, he says he never felt the need to choose just one.
“Since I can sing a little bit and rap a little bit, I never felt I had to be necessarily one style of music. So when it comes to writing material, it’s just wherever the inspiration takes me and it kind of goes across genres,” Andrew said.
Andrew has embraced his popularity and ability to connect with his fans, while keeping his feet rooted firmly on the ground. When asked about his tour, he retained a refreshingly youthful exuberance. While discussing the opportunities he has had on the road.
“The tour has been awesome. Ours has been exceeding expectations really,” Andrew said. “I wasn’t necessarily sure what to expect — you never do. We got out on the road and every night the kids are bringing amazing energy.”
For Andrew, it’s all about taking in new experiences.
“It’s so much fun for me because I got my band with me and we’re just crushing shows and having fun,” Andrew said. “It’s just been a great tour. [I’m] looking forward to going and seeing places I haven’t seen [and] just keep building an audience.”