Former 'Canadian Idol' finalist living in Saanich composes anthems for animals
SAANICH -- Andrew is petting a pair of goats. They are two of the 22 rescue animals he lives with. "Everybody needs a place to get fat and happy," Andrew says. "So we try to provide that for as many animals as we can."
Once he cares for all the critters on the Saanich farm, Andrew will write music in his studio. He first learned to play the piano at three-years-old, in small town Alberta.
"You're supposed to play hockey," Andrew says. "You're not supposed to play piano. I did quit."
Although he was classically trained on piano, Andrew wanted to play metal and grunge on guitar. He ended up a top 40 Canadian Idol finalist after performing alternative rock. But, he turned back to the piano on the day his roommate's dog, Bailey, got Spear Grass stuck in his foot.
"While he was having the pseudo-surgery on the couch, I decided to narrate what the dog was thinking to music."
Andrew wrote a song called, "My Foot (I Deserve a Treat)" after the event.
The song was such a hit with Bailey's owner that Andrew wondered if others might want one. He went to a pet fair in Vancouver and started improvising songs on his piano about whoever passed by. Then, a rescue parrot suddenly jumped on to Andrew's microphone stand and started bobbing-up and down to the music. There's a video that shows Andrew didn't miss a beat and started inventing lyrics about the bird.
The moment inspired the parrot's owner to become Andrew's first customer. The original song he wrote for the bird was a hit. There's another video showing the parrot swinging back and forth on a swing to the beat of the music.
Andrew then decided to launch PetAnthems.com, and spent the next year composing songs for other members of the rescue parrot community.
"It's amazing because parrots love music," Andrew says with a smile. "They'll actually dance to the song I write about them!"
Since then, Andrew's been commissioned to pen songs for all sorts of pets around the world – from New York to Switzerland and beyond.
Andrew creates fully-produced songs and music videos based on information that pet owners provide about their animals. It’s a process that Andrew's found unexpectedly moving.
"I hear about the divorces and deaths and births and marriages," Andrew explains. "How that pet and companion has woven into their life."
As for Andrews life, he's grateful for the challenge of focusing his creativity on positivity.
"90's Alternative will always be close to my heart, but the world doesn't need another co-dependent nightmare love song!" Andrew laughs. "Let's write about something pure, and hopefully get some wicked vibes out of people!"