.: Andy :. was born and raised in the rich culture of California's Bay Area. Like other kids his age, Andy spent time hiking in the beautiful foothills of his town, biking, playing soccer, and making an occasional tree fort. Unlike many other kids however, Andy had an unusually heightened interest in music. While many children chose to bring toys for 'show and tell,' Andy proceeded to bring a vinyl record and tap dance on his teacher's desk. 'I remember the entire class staring silently with jaws dropped' Andy says, 'as if they had never seen anything quite like my dance routine before... The teacher wasn't sure what to say when I jumped on her desk and started tap dancing!' Andy laughs, 'I guess you could say that I was a little bit different at times - different when it came to music.' Andy's talent as a musician was noticed from an early age. While on a family trip to the Oregon coast, Andy - at the age of seven - sat at a local lodge piano passing time. To his grandmother's surprise, Andy began gathering a crowd which after sometime made efforts to tip the young musician for his talent. 'People kept coming to him [Andy] with requests' Andy's grandmother recalls. 'I encouraged him to play while discouraging the people from tipping him... he was just too young for that sort of thing.' Andy grew up the youngest of two in a happy yet turbulent home. He credits his musical abilities to his late father whom Andy says, 'had an incredible musical ear and could play just about anything.' Andy remembers sitting and watching his father play popular songs by ear on their family player piano. 'My Dad was very talented' Andy comments. 'I inherited his ear and was definitely influenced by his passion for music.' Andy's mother encouraged Andy's participation in a large, local church. There, Andy learned to sing and take part in large-scale productions. Andy reflects, 'I remember one year having to wear green elf stockings while singing and dancing.' His face brightens, 'these kids were out in the audience watching me and laughing... it was kind of like kindergarten show-and-tell all over again!' His face takes a more serious tone, 'Those years were powerful for me both spiritually as well as musically. I'm indebted to the people of that great church.' While Andy spent the next several years developing his notable talent as a composer and songwriter on the family piano, he also joined local youth orchestras where he trained for years as a classical violist. Andy reflects, 'I attribute my ability to write catchy melodies from years playing as a first violinist.' In later years Andy added to his musical pallet such instruments as the drums, mandolin, keyboards, sequencers, Hammond organ, acoustic, electric, and classical guitars. Andy laughs, 'People often ask me what instruments I can't play.' In a more serious tone Andy comments, 'I've found it absolutely integral as a singer/songwriter to have the ability to experiment with different instrumentation...I've come up with some pretty cool stuff as a result.' He adds with a smirk, 'At least I find it fun.' Andy continued to sharpen his skills as both a writer and soloist through the next several years as he attended college in Seattle and San Jose. 'I was constantly playing music in my room.' Andy remembers. 'I would go to a practice room on campus as well,' He smiles, 'where I would get on my knees and pray to become better before practicing for several hours.' Through his college years, Andy continued to receive respect and praise for his musical gifts. Andy kept a job as a musician and music pastor at his family's church, wrote and produced his premier album 'Green' at the age of 21, and began playing within the Bay Area. Andy eventually graduated from accredited San Jose Christian College with double majors in Theology and Psychology. During the recording of his first album, Andy's heart was captivated by a beautiful and gifted friend who was visiting during Christmas break. It was the beginning of an incredible journey that brought Andy and Lynsie together as husband and wife three years later. Andy comments, 'I remember talking to a friend of mine and telling him how completely satisfied I was being single - just doing my thing.' Andy laughs, 'Lynsie arrived the very next day and made me eat me words! I was struck by her beauty and her incredible character - she's a very special person and I knew I had to marry her.' Anyone close to Andy knows he shares with his wife a humble yet serious passion for God. At the age of 16 Andy took his faith seriously and began reaching out to those around him with the tangible love he felt he had received during the death of his father. 'I learned a lot at an early age due to the loss of my father.' Andy comments. 'Something clicked - we all die. I took God, sin, Jesus - all that stuff - seriously.' Andy's tangible relief to those in grief took his town by surprise. He became the front story of the local paper and fellow students from his public high school were so touched by his caring efforts they nominated him senior prom king. In the following years Andy's heart for people, and often his musical gifts, lead him to touching the hearts of people through out California, Seattle, Inner-city New York, Mexico, Latvia, Australia, and Italy. After his undergraduate studies, Andy worked as a social worker for children and families who suffered tremendous hurt due to forms of abuse and violence. 'The Bible teaches us that we should have God's heart - God's perspective and approach - towards our world.' Andy's face brightens, 'God's heart is for the fatherless, for children, for the weak and hurting...I believe my job as a therapist and social worker has been to care for those people.' © Andy Gridley 2003.