03. Andy Davis
I met the musician, Andy Davis early this year at Go Get Em Tiger. We were sitting beside each other and he commented on my Fuji X Pro1 camera. From that brief encounter, a conversation sparked that covered everything from music, art, God, family and children.
To me, that one interaction was the true definition of coffee culture. Because the culture that surrounds coffee is not defined by just another latte art shot on Instagram. It's the random interactions/introductions that take place within the walls of a coffee shop.
It also solidified my desire to move this platform away from being so literal when it comes to the term, 'coffee culture.'
But mostly, I just wish I had recorded our conversation that day since that would have been the perfect interview. Thankfully, we exchanged our contact info and met up a few weeks later at Verve in downtown Los Angeles for another wide ranging conversation and photo shoot.
Born in Denham Springs, Louisiana, Andy grew up in the religious subculture of the south. Both him and I were 'preachers kids' and as he told it, he was just starting to process everything. "I feel like I'm coming to a place where Im ready to write about it."
The theme of distance not only covered his upbringing but it also applied to his songwriting. And although his songs normally cover the topic of love, he admitted that doesn't write songs during a break up. It's only three to six months later that he'll start writing, once he feels like there's some distance.
Andy moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. Nashville seemed likes a great place for a musician of his caliber and stye and he ended up staying there for 15 years. With 10 plus years of living the life of a touring musician.
It was very interesting how similar our adolescent years were in many respects. We both grew up PK's (preachers kids) - we're raised in very religious environments, him in the deep South, me in the Southwest. We were only allowed to listen to 'Christian' music but then eventually backslid and started listening to 'secular' music. AH!
One similarity that not only stood out, but was also the most relevant was our constant search for how to be more productive with our time. It was almost comical how familiar it felt when listening to him describe his search for the perfect 'daily routine.'
It may seem antithetical to the 'creative path' - but it's only when I added structure into my daily routine that I became more productive. So it was great to hear that I'm not the only one who's learned that creative freedom requires sacrifices with your free time.
Dang! This creative life demands a lot. Rightfully so though.
And sometimes that sacrifice means leaving your comfortable setting and starting over in the hopes of pushing yourself even further. So, just under two years ago, Andy left Nashville and moved to Los Angeles.
The move to LA was also prompted by Andy's desire to learn more about the craft of filmmaking and writing music for TV. A form of music that requires more ambiguity than a typical Country song where the listener can understand the lyrics/story on the fist pass.
It's always a challenge to learn a new form of media, even when it falls within the realm of your supposed comfort zone. I've experienced that in my field and have had to grow and learn new things myself to stay competitive.
Seeing as his DTLA loft is only a block away from Skid Row, it was great to hear him speak empathetically of his homeless neighbors. Maybe it's the remnants of a religious upbringing or just human nature itself but I'll take it empathy any day.
And though there are times he can't offer them much in the form of money, he see's his acknowledgement and respects for them as and "a nod of humanity." He even co wrote a song, "I see You" for Help Portrait, a non profit started by Nashville celebrity photographer, Jeremy Cowart.
I am so grateful that I rode my bike to Go Get Em Tiger that day that we met. I've been wanting so badly to move 'Americano Mondays' from being labeled - only - a 'coffee blog' to a more well rounded site that allows for stories like this to appear here without feeling out of place.
Check out Andy's latest EP, Easy Takedowns here or check out his website for tour dates/merchandise.