Andi Marie

I am an East Tennessee native modern soft rock artist residing in Nashville.  My style combines the smooth grooves and complex melodies of 70’s and 80’s soft rock with introspective and vulnerable self-narrative lyrics.  My music tends to have a playful aspect, without compromising depth.  My musical influences include the likes of Joni Mitchell, Todd Rundgren, Bozz Scaggs,  and Donald Fagan.  My raspy alto has been compared to both Bonnie Raitt and Sade.  Many of my lyrics are influenced by my early Pentecostal upbringing playing on religious archetypes; conscious of the necessity of both light and dark.

My musical roots are founded in the Church.  I began singing publicly at the age of 3 with my family who traveled the states’ southern gospel circuit in the 60’s & 70’s as a professional group known as “The Coffey Family”.   No matter where you go, people love to see a little girl with charisma sing loud.  I was labeled a co-prodigy to my mother, Claudia Coffey Tillman.  I even sang on my first professional album when I was 8 years old.  Although I was essentially “bread” into the Southern Gospel world, I knew, musically, there had to be more out there somewhere.   Although I was not allowed to listen to secular music as a child, I knew I loved the music I heard over the radio of the department stores we would shop in.  The majority of that was either “golden oldies” or soft rock.  Having no context, I just knew it as good music.  At age 12, I started saving up my allowance to buy old LP’s I found at various yard sales and second hand stores around town.

After impressing a distant family friend who happened to be an active thespian, I was encouraged to try out for the upcoming season for a regional theater.  I took to the stage in 2001, at age 11, in my first regional theater play and rediscover my love for performance in a whole new light, literally.  It was the first time I felt that I was defining myself.  There was no question about how alive I felt when I was standing there.  The vulnerability and honesty of live performance is one of the strongest drugs.  My theatrics and strange creative fantasies as a child came in to play here and made theater so natural for me.   I found a place amongst the other “weirdoes” desperate for some new idea to stimulate them and clamoring for more attention.  I had my first professional lead role at age 15 and performed in over 15 professional productions in a span of 5 years.  For a long time, I thought my life was heading in that direction, full time actor.  Although theater provided catharsis and developed my musical performance skills, I still had that feeling that there had to be more.  I felt a song inside of me, but it didn’t know how to
come out.  I wouldn’t let it come out.

In college, I felt I had lost my way.  I was part of various cover acts, performing here and there as a lead singer.  Crazy as it seems, I was hiding behind my voice.  I was “just a singer”.   My ego kept a lot of creativity at bay.  I was surround by a cerebral crowd who thought music was nothing to pursue since, “Everyone has a band, Andi.”   It took me a long time to claw my way out of the hole I had dug for myself those years.  It took 3 more years before I really started finding my own sound.

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