Learning to Live
The youthful-looking Stephens developed an interest in music from an early age, writing his first song at the age of 14. He is largely self-taught as a guitarist and vocalist, but he also plays bass, drums and piano. His father, Tony, encouraged his interests by arranging for his guitar lessons at the age of 12, and Andy shares his talent and aptitude for music with his brother, Aaron. An alumnus of Brookwood High School in Snellville, he recalls his 9th-grade talent show as the moment when, performing in front of his friends, "I knew that I could not put it down." He pursued a career as a singer-songwriter over the next several years, touring in the southeastern parts of the United States and playing clubs and dance halls throughout the region. In pursuing his musical career, he has relied on the encouragement of his wife, Lisa, who characterizes him as a "jokester" who enjoys understatement-when asked if he plays an instrument, Andy Lee habitually replies, "a little," despite being a signed recording artist with an album already under his belt. Stephens lists a wide selection of musical influences, including James Taylor, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, the Dixie Chicks, Leann Rimes, and Keith Urban. Growing up, he was a fan of Pam Tillis. He has enjoyed his time in the recording studio since signing with Viking Lodge, explaining that for him the most important thing about the experience is "learning your true strengths and weaknesses in your vocals, also in your melody you can hear things that would not normally notice live. The tape does not lie."