Let's learn more about ANDREW BRANCH, the winner of NSAI's TOP 40 Winter 2017! Here are some questions we asked Branch himself:


--What’s the title of your winning song and the inspiration behind it?

The idea for “Bankrupt” came to me on a flight home from Vegas. Listening to a guy on the plane joking about the money he lost made me think of the rush that can come when you’re “living large” and surrounded by people, and how low you can feel when the hype/rush/money is gone. Relationships can feel like that some time, as well. I also have mad love for fellow MS boy, Trent Harmon, so his country/blue-eyed soul singing style inspired my approach to the melody.


--Who are your co-writers?

N/A for “Bankrupt”


--How long have you been writing, and how did you get into music? I grew up in a family of singers, but my father believed that music was an impractical career path and that I was no “Luther Vandross,” anyway. I don’t regret not fighting him about that, because I’ve learned so many things about leadership, professionalism, and decision making from being an Army Officer and I’ve finally found MY sound (as opposed to the R&B/gospel sound I grew up thinking was the only option), so I think I’m better off now to pursue music than I ever would have been previously. I was a 1st tenor in the West Point Glee Club and a member of the Knight Caps (our 8-man a cappella octet). I began writing songs to escape during my Afghanistan deployment (2011-2012). It wasn’t until I moved to Nashville in summer 2015, and being forced by my admin assistant to join NSAI, however, that I realized my true calling to get involved in music in more than a social capacity…I’ve been working to learn and refine my craft ever since.


--Do you plan on making this a career?

Now that I know I can? Of course! {Insert laugh}. Working on my vocals, planning to take audio engineering/music business courses and guitar lessons in preparation for pursuing artistry/songwriting full time.


--What are your favorite genres to write?

My heart reflects the places I’ve been able to legally call home. Country Pop- Booneville, MS Alt Rock- Nashville, TN R&B/Blues- Detroit, MI


--What skill set do you bring to a co-write?

Is fun a skill? I think I offer that in droves. {laughs} If I can, I like to come to a write with a chorus and a verse…I’m definitely a chorus guy. Big, small, clever. Give it to me! I’ve been poor, currently make an ok living, have worked and studied abroad (Brazil, Canada, Afghanistan, South Korea, Cape Verde), grew up in Detroit, spent high school days in small town Mississippi, now call Nashville home, have six sisters (shout out to my future female co-writers!)…so I feel as if I’ve had a ton of life’s available experiences, making it easy for me to relate to people’s stories. Ultimately, I hope to use that to contribute a missing puzzle piece to an established idea or give freedom to paint our own canvas.


--What advice would you give to other aspiring songwriters?

I don’t think I’m in a place to give anyone advice, per se, {smiles} but one thing that keeps me going is that I readily accept criticism (preferably constructive, but even non-constructive has its value in small doses)…however, I’ve also learned to stand firm in my convictions when I feel external suggestions or opinions detract from my intent or try to shift me from being who I am as an artist/writer. Listen, learn, live, but never forget your essence. You’re the only you…and that’s why you’re in the room—to contribute something that only you can.


Check out more of Andrew's music here: