Eurovision.tv : Can you begin please Andy, by sharing a little about your background, how big a part music has played in your life and what projects you were involved with prior to appearing on the X Factor talent show in 2005 in the United Kingdom?
Andy : "Well, music has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. There are so many great genres i've experienced like Ska, Big Band, Soul, RnB, Reggae, Lovers Rock, Jazz Funk, Fusion, Pop, House Music, Garage, Rap, Rock, Heavy Rock , that's enough for now, so you can see i've been busy. I think my first interest in music came at school, when me and some friends would get together and make up songs for fun, but that faded when school finished. Some years later my sister joined a band and got me involved, but my interests were on having fun and not music. Then, sometime down the line whilst working as a printer, I started taking part in singing competitions, and even though i never won any i always got to the final, so i figured maybe i did have a voice. Then, while still working as a printer i did a tribute act base on the Lighthouse Family called Houselight Family, catchy yes, but due to tragedy i decided to leave my job as a printer and go to music school. I was only there for 9 months, where i met two guys and we formed a group called Tru-Mix, we wrote about 30 songs, nearly got ourselves a big independent record deal, but due to unforseen events, it fell through, and that's my musical journey up until the X Factor."
Eurovision.tv : At what stage did you decide to apply for the X Factor show?, What were the reasons for the timing? Did anyone encourage you to apply, or was it your own conscious decision?
Andy : "I have to admit, I had no intention of doing the X Factor personally, my wife watched the previous year where G4 and Steve Brookstein took part, and after asking me if I would consider doing next years X Factor, and with my answer of no she still decided to forge my signature on the application form and entered me in to it!. Thank god she never listens to me!."
Eurovision.tv : You only narrowly lost the X Factor final by a small percentage of votes to Shayne Ward back in 2005. What did the appearance on the X Factor help you to achieve musically? What have you been doing in the past years since your X Factor appearance?
Andy : "Yes you're right, I only missed out by 1.2% of the votes, and to this day i still think the 2005 X Factor was by far the most naturally entertaining show there has been. After the releases of My Impossible Dream & Soulman albums, a nationwide tour followed all in the space of a year. I felt then that it was time to start writing songs again, to prove to myself i could be involved in the creative side of music. For the last year i've been creating an album that i would be proud of, an album of songs that have so many musical influences."
Eurovision.tv : How did the decision arrive to enter a song to try and represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest?
Andy : "I got a call from the BBC, asking if I would be interested in doing the Eurovision Song Contest, and once I had heard of their interest, I somehow knew Even if was the right song to enter."
Eurovision.tv : During the first round, so called experts decided that Michelle Gayle's song should qualify to the final round ahead of yours. How did you feel at that point? Did you still have faith that Terry Wogan would select you as the wildcard finalist?
Andy : "You know, I think music is just a matter of taste, and i'm so glad that Terry Wogan has good taste hahahaha!, to answer your question I didn't feel sad at all because the audience seemed to love the song anyway, and i felt i had made a good impression on the judges."
Eurovision.tv : The United Kingdom has suffered poor results in Eurovision of late, only one top ten appearance in the last nine years in fact. What do you think the reasons are for this? What do you propose to do in order to reverse this trend in Belgrade?
Andy : "Who knows for what reasons we havn't done as well as we'd like, but one things for sure i'm gonna make it very difficult for the judges based on my performance and song i hope!."
Eurovision.tv : Finally, do you have any plans for the next months prior to Belgrade to promote the song? When is the single to be released? What does the rest of 2008 hold for you Andy after Belgrade?
Andy : "My plans are to finish recording the new album by the middle of April, and to promote the single Even If in the United Kingdom and as many countries in Europe as possible. I'm looking to have the single released around 2 weeks before the Eurovision Song Contest show. The rest of 2008 will consist of a tour ,the release of my third album, maybe a further single and more touring but whatever i'm up to you'll be the first to know!."
Eurovision.tv would like to thank Andy for the time spent on the interview, and also thanks go to Paul Piggot at LaDigit for his help with the organisation of the interview.