Andy Braun is a Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter who plays both originals and a wide variety of covers. He’s been a full-time musician since 2007 and just released a new album titled “22” this week.
ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?
ANDY: I saw some gigs popping up around May or June of 2020, just when things were starting to come back as far as live music, and I reached out to see what they’re about. I heard right back from Allison and the rest is history; I’ve enjoyed the relationship we’ve built over the last year and a half.
ME: Right on, awesome!
ME: So, you dropped a new album today called “22.” You’re going to have to give me the rundown here; tell me all about what went into this body of work and what it means to you.
ANDY: Well, a good time to release an album is usually when you have enough songs to do so, so that’s kind of been the way I’ve operated. There is some unity in terms of the songs in terms of a cohesive album; I had started some of the songs in the past and just recently had a big push for a show in December where I was supposed to do two hours of original music, so I kind of wrote myself into a corner in terms of coming out with enough material. It was good to have a deadline because I ended up finishing all the songs, and I did the show, and it went really well.
ME: What are some you’ve been writing about lately? What’s been inspiring you?
ANDY: It’s really hard to pinpoint. An idea will come to mind, and then I’ll run with that and see where it goes. I had an experience where I signed up for life insurance and got a will written out, and that was kind of harrowing so I meet these opportunities with humor, and so the first track on the album is called “The Only Thing That’s Left To Do Is Die.” The second track was about the quick passage of time, like wondering “where did it all go?”. Other topics channel back on some experiences that I’ve had and wrote fragments of songs about, and I’d have to get into that mindset again to finish what I started. It’s interesting to put yourself in the shoes of the person you were a few years ago and wondering what you were thinking. When you’re creating art or writing songs, that’s what you’re doing a lot of the time, and then sharing that feeling with people.
ME: True that. I can’t even think about the kind of person I was pre-COVID anymore. That was two years ago and it still feels super recent.
ANDY: Yeah, life changed a lot, absolutely.
ME: It sure did, and it was humbling.
ME: I have some fun questions for you. You live in Milwaukee right?
ANDY: More or less; I’m just outside of the city limits now.
ME: What’s your favorite place to go on a walk in Milwaukee?
ANDY: I lived pretty close to Milwaukee Lutheran High School, and so I’d walk up 92nd Street over across Hampton, and there was Madison Park next to Madison Elementary. Growing up, I lived on the south side so my dad and I would walk down Morgan Avenue to 27th Street, so I’d get different feels for the neighborhood. Wherever I live I like to walk around a lot.
ME: Cool! You’ve got the right idea.
ME: What’s the best new restaurant you’ve tried?
ANDY: I checked out Badger Burger, which just opened up on 124th and Capitol.
ME: I didn’t hear about that one!
ANDY: Yeah, it’s pretty new. I had done a Wisconsin Music Ventures show at Mayfair Collection and the guy who ran sound for that told me to check it out. Good fish fry on Friday’s and obviously a good burger.
ME: If I’m in that area I’ll have to stop there; I’m a big burger guy. Have you ever had a Big Deal Burger?
ANDY: No, but I know where that is. I believe the owners of Big Deal go to my church. Now I’ll definitely have to go, huh?
ME: Oh yeah. It’s one of the best burgers I’ve had in the city and it’s pretty fast casual.
ME: My last question for you is, now that you’ve dropped the album, what’s next?
ANDY: Primarily, right now I’m a cover artist but I’m often encouraged to sprinkle in my originals and I oblige, of course. I’d like to do more and more gigs like that show I was talking about, where it’s one or two hours of original material. That’s kind of the dream for me, so I’m hoping to get more shows that focus on my originals. I’m paying the bills as a cover artist and that’s great – I love it – but having the type of listening environment where people want to hear my own music, I’d love to do more of that.