Andrew Serino is about to release an album titled 'The Golden Thread'. We chat to this Alternative/Rock singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist about making music and auditioning for American Idol.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I'm Andrew Serino and I currently live outside of Portland, Oregon in a city called Gresham. I'm married to my beautiful bride, Heidi Serino who's a nurse and we have an Australian Shepherd named Sully. I'm 27 and I've been working on music since the fifth grade! I mean I've been singing since I was a kid, but I wanted to learn guitar. Throughout learning guitar, I also was interested in playing multiple instruments. I come from a very musical family so we always had access to tons of instruments. My mom taught the basics for drumming, picked up bass on my own, and was fortunate enough to practice at our house. Playing on worship teams was also a great way to practice on each instrument. My whole family was the worship team too for some churches we attended which was a huge help in getting me to where I am today.
In High School, I was in a new band each year. The one that took off in the local area of Portland was "allshewrote" a hardcore/electronic band where I performed guitar/clean vocals. Two years go by and I started a side-project that became my main band called "His Legacy", a Heavy/Rock/Christian band where I led the band, wrote the majority of the songs, sang lead vocals and played guitar. I then accepted a job leading worship at a church, served/worked there for 4 years, wrote a worship album with the church, and then wanted to really start pursuing my own original solo music.
Some people might remember you from American Idol - what was that experience like for you?
Yeah, I auditioned when American Idol came to Portland for the very first time back in 2012. It was at first just to try out for fun and why not? Never knew anything about the entertainment side of things. But it was a wild experience I'll never forget.
There was at least 10,000 people that auditioned and we were each given 10 seconds to impress these music producers. This was held at the Moda Center and in the middle of the arena, were ten booths. I chose to sing the song "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5 and "Just The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars as a backup song. I'd say close to 300-500 people got past the first round and I was fortunate enough to make it. Second round you sang in front of the executive producer who chooses if you get to move on to sing in front of the actual judges, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez. That round was super nerve racking and they let me in to the final round. For the final round you get to sing in front of the real judges and there was at least 50-100 of us that made it through. This was the round where they interview you and your family, get some good b-roll, all that jazz. When I came into the room to sing in front of the real judges, i'll never forget what Steven Tyler said, "Well hello there sparky spark!" I wore a snazzy outfit to stand out and showcase my personality. When they asked me to tell them about myself, I just told them that I'm your average dude in a band trying to "make it" and working as a server at a restaurant. Then they let me sing and that's when my nerves really kicked in. I would have graded my performance 70%. But they were super encouraging as they all gave me a no. Believe it or not, this made me feel so good because I was fortunate enough to sing in front of them, and they coached me through on some great feedback. I'll never forget this experience and would say it's one of the main reasons I'm pursuing my music full on.
Tell us about your new album 'The Golden Thread'?
Where to start? This album is my proudest work. It all started with an idea of wanting to just get back in the studio and record original songs that I've had for years and to finally get it out to people. Then when I met up with the producer and dear friend, Justin Abel, we talked about how cool it would be for me to record and write all the parts rather than have a band. This whole album was a two years in the making kinda project. With working a full-time job and a part-time job on the weekends, being a husband, and having a social life, I had only so much time to get this album written and crafted out.
The concept of the whole album is for everyone to find their "Golden Thread", being a metaphor of something that is pure to you that brings you passion, life, drive, and purpose. For me, it's love. And in this album I share where I find my love. The hope is that it attracts all audiences, not just Christians. I have a lot of friends and family who believes in different religions and my goal is to not come off "judgmental" in any way shape or form, but to be as accepting as Jesus would be.
You can definitely tell by listening to the album that I'm a Alternative/Rock kinda guy. I definitely explore a little on some of the songs with different styles too.
Which is your favorite track on the album and why?
This question is super hard for me to answer! Each song has such a killer meaning in my story. But if I had to choose, I would say "The Golden Thread" which is the last track on the album. The reason why is I'm a full-length album guy. Meaning that this song summarizes the album so well -- with beautiful melodies on vocals, guitars, and just having a crushing ending, bringing it back down to close out the whole album. Loved the creativity too in bringing other songs from the album back into the song.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Another REALLY HARD question! Just for the sake of my style, it would be between Hayley Williams from Paramore, or Bryce Avary from The Rocket Summer. People say I'm the "male voice" of Hayley Williams which led me to do a couple of Paramore covers on YouTube. But Bryce was my main inspiration to tackle multiple instruments. Could I pick both?! I don't think I can settle for one or the other.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I'm a sucker for good melodies and guitar driven songs. My style is very mid-2000 Alternative/Rock. Think of Paramore (Riot, Brand New Eyes), Yellowcard, The Rocket Summer, and Anberlin. I've also been digging the band PVRIS and believe it or not, Bruno Mars is a huge influence.
Out of all of the bands, I'd say Paramore is my main influence. And they may be my favorite band.
How would you define success in your career?
Tough question. I'll say this - the reason why I'm choosing to pursue music is, I would do music even if I don't get paid. That's how you know you love music for a good reason. Now if it does take off to where I can financially support my family with my music, I will not complain! But my main goal doing this album was to not regret it later in the future and to hopefully inspire people with my music!
The moment I feel like I've "made it" is if certain record labels reach out to me, or bands reach out to me that I love and admire, where they ask me to open for them.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Do You Feel - The Rocket Summer
This is one of the albums that I will always have in my car, sing front to back too, and it was beautifully crafted. Start to finish. Bryce Avary is insane.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Ain't It Fun - Paramore
What does the next year hold for Andrew Serino?
Hopefully a new single, new album, and some touring! That's my goal at least. Maybe another puppy for my wife. ;)