Bryson Andres on Becoming Discovered by Playing From the Heart – Episode 4

I am not exaggerating when I say this was one of my favorite conversations I’ve ever had with any musician in my 36 years of life. Hands down. I sought out Bryson Andres to interview for The Shut Up Show after following his success for 15 months after stumbling upon his YouTube video that went viral in January 2012. Bear with me, this is nearly double the length of our normal episode times. You’ll understand why I couldn’t stop talking to Bryson. He is an amazing young man with an old soul, heart of gold, and undeniable musical talent.

Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)

Listen to the podcast

Share Some Shut Up Love: I don’t care. I’m just going to play the violin & play it from the heart. – @violin2003 on making it in music via @_theshutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  • Bryson started playing the acoustic violin in 6th grade after following a cute girl into music class who, ironically, shares the same last name as Berni!
  • Bryson received his first violin at 12 years old from his dad after meeting him for the first time.
  • Bryson’s street performance that went viral on YouTube has reached 3 million hits in May 2013.
  • Bryson drove his 1998 Cadillac DeVille to tour as a traveling musician from The Alcan Highway down to Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.
  • Bryson calls Berni a genius mind-reader… what what!!

Defining Shut Up Moment:

As a kid: Bryson grew up raised by his grandparents. They always told him to shut up with his violin-playing and they often told him he sucked. He never stopped because he loved the violin. As he practiced and got better, he went on to win school talent competitions and gained local notoriety. Without trying to be discovered. From that moment on, he considered the possibility of making his violin-playing a career.

Two years ago: Bryson’s cousin passed away two years ago before Bryson was even 21 years old. It was one of his closest cousins who had always believed in his talent and potential. It was in that moment of grief and reflection that Bryson decided to start taking bigger chances and living up to the expectations his cousin had for him. Bryson saved up tips from his street performances (roughly $1500 per weekend in Anchorage), produced his own album, started a small business, and began touring the west coast living on tips as a traveling street performer. Shortly after, his Spokane street performance covering OneRepublic’s Secrets went viral on YouTube.

Recently: Bryson’s talent got him picked up by a major brand in 2012. After finishing a performance a few weeks ago, he was met by a loud-mouth critic who ripped him apart. After being completely dumbfounded by the criticism and with self-doubt creeping in, Bryson realized he had finally made it. If this critic, an extremely famous person in the Philippines known for building emerging celebrities, took the time and energy to criticize Bryson, it meant he had reached recognizable success. Even more revealing, Bryson had thick enough skin to listen to the criticism without the fear of dying or giving up. He is living his dream doing what he loves: inspiring others by playing [the violin] from the heart.

Shut Up Tips:

I didn’t want to look back 10 or 15 years from that point and find myself sitting in a chair without having gone anywhere. – Bryson

When you lose somebody very important in your life, you want to live the way they’d want you to live. I decided I really needed to live my life to the fullest. – Bryson

My music actually made someone stop and listen. That’s why I love playing music in the streets. – Bryson

The streets are the best place to meet people. I love to travel. If you want to be cultured, you go on the streets. – Bryson

Whatever instrument you decide to play, as long as you play from the heart this is where you’re really going to grow. – Bryson (the YouTube viral video that prompted this shut up tip)

The kids who were forced to play violin didn’t grow as fast as I did. It was either for credits or their parents were living through them. I wasn’t pushed to play violin. I didn’t have the privilege of getting private lessons. I played it because I loved it. I had an attachment to it. – Bryson

If you’re going to go somewhere or be somebody… don’t care. Do it because you want to do it. You’re always going to get the negative stuff. – Bryson

I don’t care. I’m just going to play the violin and play it from the heart. – Bryson

Music helped you to heal. Music helps the people you play for to heal. In a lofty way, music helps the world to be a better place. – Berni

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.  Maya Angelou (via Berni)

Bryson Recommends:

Imogen Heap – the looping musician that inspired Bryson to become a looper

Nina Bingham (Anchorage AK) – the amazing person who bought Bryson his first loop pedal and mentored him with private violin lessons

Peter’s Violins (Anchorage, AK) – the violin shop that services Bryson’s craft

Find Bryson:

YouTube video that went viral in January 2012

Bryson’s YouTube Channel

Touring with Resorts World Manila