Singer-songwriter Andria Simone was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her style can be described as “soul-flavoured”, but she is a lover of many genres. Her eclectic taste in music can be partly attributed to the various places she has lived, including Manchester, England and Lviv, Ukraine.
Andria’s passion for music has never been in question — singing has been a dream of hers since she could hold a note. More a force of nature than an instrument, hers is a voice that can send shivers up your spine while tugging at your heart. Her role models are such powerhouse singers as Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Amy Winehouse.
She is not a conventional 12-bar blues singer, but she can certainly excel in that format. That was vividly demonstrated when she participated in the famed Women’s Blues Revue at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall. Sharing the spotlight alongside such veterans as Shakura S’Aida, Divine Brown and Lori Yates, she dazzled with killer versions of tunes by Etta, Janis and Little Walter, earning a standing ovation.
One memorable experience came when Andria was invited to be part of the prestigious TEDx series at Waterloo, Ontario. She spoke to the youth attendees there about courage and being fearless in what you do, prior to delivering a knockout performance for the adult audience.
Since 2012, Andria has performed extensively with her ace young group, whom she affectionately dubs “Those Guys”. They comprise bassist Mark Wilson, guitarist Dave Kirby, saxophonist Brian Dhari, and drummer George Nikolov. Word that Andria Simone and Those Guys is a live act not to be missed has spread like wildfire on the Toronto scene, leading to regular sold-out gigs at such major live music venues as Hugh’s Room, Drake Underground, 3030 and Mod Club.
Andria has rapidly made the move up to major music festivals without skipping a beat. She has made converts and sold huge numbers of CDs via electrifying performances at such events as the Beaches Jazz Festival, Toronto Beer Festival and The Southside Shuffle.
Even more excitingly, she has now earned committed fans across the Atlantic. In June 2014, Andria Simone and Those Guys won the Hennessy Talent Quest, a prestigious international competition for new musical talent. The prize was an all-expenses paid week in Cognac, France, during which the band performed several shows at the Blues Passion Festival, a star-studded fest that featured such names as Robert Plant, George Benson and Lily Allen. Andria and Those Guys opened for major French soul star Ben l’Oncle Soul as well as playing their own headline show.
Proving that success was no fluke, in October 2014 Andria Simone and Those Guys were chosen to be a major part of the 6th Annual Lancaster Music Festival in the U.K. They performed a marathon seven shows in six days, including playing a concert at Lancaster Castle and headlining the closing night show (they’ve already been invited back for 2015). Her enthusiasm travels exceptionally well, and Andria is always itching to hit the road and perform new material with her band.
Andria’s commitment to her music is total. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got into this. I just love music, and thank god I’ve been trusting my instincts because I’m on the right track now. I’m not going to be chasing trends or jumping on a bandwagon. I want to drive the bus, not chase it!”