THE BEACH — Dylan Andre can be seen on the beaches connecting Venice and Santa Monica together with a small speaker system by his shoes, a median-sized acoustic guitar around his shoulders and a song in his heart waiting to burst into the tall microphone by his innocent face.

He plays in front of countless crowds of beach goers passing by and taking in the soundtrack of the Southern California shores. While playing, he sometimes visualizes playing in front of millions at the Hollywood filled with the type of fame that he hopes to attain.

He had a taste of that experience once when his career was in a green state. Andre made an appearance on “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, just a year after picking up the guitar and performing in front of packed coffee houses in his hometown of Philadelphia.

He can still vividly remember the experience. The lights turn on. He stares at the cameras after being informed by the stage coach that each camera represents six million people watching. The red light sparks, the camera is live. Millions of judgmental eyes are staring down his brow while he looks at three high profiled judges. Like gas, the anxiety is building. What’s louder: the bass or his heart? He strung the strings and sings the songs sung by legends past, and the rest is meaningless history.

Playing on the beach has become a way for him to establish a name and persona with his music and would then transfer that to classier venues in Santa Monica like the Santa Monica Place or Promenade. His cousin, who served as a marine, pasted down to him strong advice that to this day, is the foundation of his career: write songs, perform shows and get better. Everything else will come after.

“This whole city made me feel very, very small,” Andre said. “I didn’t like that feeling, but it made me write bigger.

“Playing out here really opened my eyes up to not even just how tough it really is but how people don’t utilize this. It’s out here. There’s just so many people walking by you day by day. Kids would rather play venues to their friends and pay a promoter to get them into these places. They literally do not get anywhere. The amount of people is insane. So I’m out here with my little loop system because if you’re just an acoustic guy, nobody is going to care.”

This is Andre’s job. He doesn’t have a 9-5 paying his bills. He lives in an apartment provided by his friend and manager and goes out and plays on the beach day in and day out with a few venues sprinkled into his schedule. On a usual day he’ll make about $40 in tips that he doesn’t ask for. His songs on sound cloud are a hit among the locals. Even the police love Andre, which in itself, is a very impressive feat. It’s also a testament to his long efforts in Southern California.

“It’ been about six months of just steady, hard core playing and I don’t even have a CD out yet,” Andre said. “I’ve recorded a video project and put it on YouTube just so when I’m out here and people take a picture of me, they can look me up.”

Right now his style is solo. He writes his own songs and follows up on those before him who are behind today’s successful stars. He understands everything needs to be authentic, and one day, it’ll reach the radio.

“Radio is still the biggest tool,” Andre said. “When you get your song on the radio, that’s never going to go away.”

In the meantime, Andre is working on a series of videos titled “Just Me” which can be sampled on his web site

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *