Usually when I am listening to music it is while I am driving or simply just want background noise while I go about my day.
There have been times though when a new song comes on that I haven’t heard before that gets my attention. I’m talking about the kind of song that causes me to want to turn up the volume. The songs that speak to you through its lyrics and describes an emotion or experience you may have had in life.
Musical artists with music like this are rare. They don’t sing your typical catchy phrase or belt out words with little depth. They sing from the heart and you can hear the emotion behind each lyric as they sing their tale. This was the case with Local musical artist Andrew Wiscombe.
Award winning songwriter, Andrew Wiscombe grew up in South Utah County, where he attended Spanish Fork High School. At the early age of just 15, Andrew discovered his love for the guitar. Music from The Doors, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and the Beetles were prevalent in his house and helped him build the stairway to his dream of one day singing for a crowd of his very own.
Seeing his Dad serve in the Air force and wanting to proudly serve the red, white, and blue, Andrew enlisted in the Army and honorably served seven years as a sniper.
After completing his service in the Army, Andrew found himself struggling with trying to fit back into society, as many people who serve in the military do when returning home from war. I feel the words from his song White Mache describe it best when he says “Left home feeling more than 10 feet tall. Quite a long hard way for one to fall.”
Andrew has learned first-hand how very real Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is and the very depths in which it can and will impact your life if left untreated. Those emotional wounds that will forever be etched in his mind have been an awfully long and difficult journey to trudge through. A journey in which not all veterans are able to overcome, as he has learned the hard way after losing his best friend and fellow veteran to suicide.
Struggling with feelings of loneliness, depression and his own thoughts of suicide, Andrew needed something that would help him release the hurt that coursed through his veins.
He picked up his old guitar that had taken the backseat in life and blew off the dust. A newfound therapy began to happen for Andrew as he strummed his guitar. He noticed a kind of healing start as he wrote his most personal feelings down on a piece of paper that would later turn into some of the most talented and heartfelt song lyrics I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing.
Lyrics that have earned him awards and much recognition in the music industry. The songs that Andrew has written take you through a tale and allow you to look through a window to his experiences like a journal to his soul. His words touch your heart and speak directly to you, no matter where your path may lead. His songs have something for everyone who will listen, not just war veterans who struggle with PTSD.
The following lyrics are from his song “Greene Street Manifesto.”
“I sing for those who have no friends; whom bullies taunt who want an end.
“I sing for those who have no voice; for better lives who want a choice.
“I sing for those out on the road; for truckers pulling lonely loads.
“I sing for those that have no meal; for broken hearts that need to heal
“I sing for children battered blue; for lovers widowed much too soon
Andrew finally found his break, one that would help to take his talent to the next level when he was discovered by Operation Encore. Operation Encore is a non-profit veterans organization that provides opportunities for veterans and active duty singer songwriters through artist development, professional recording, and industry focused educational services.
Before we spoke, I had a list of questions and I thought I knew exactly what I was going to ask.
As I sat and heard him tell his story though, I found myself putting down my pen as tears started streaming down my face. I was not prepared to be moved in the way that I was and felt not only honored that I had such a privilege to be sitting across from such a remarkable man, but he left me wanting to know more.
One thing I was not expecting before meeting him was his refreshing sense of humor, which when I think about it makes complete sense because adversity is a builder of character and tends to give us a lighter approach about life. I could see the pain in his face as his eyes watered while he talked about what it was like to be out at war and what he has had to emotionally endure while being back home. He was open and honest about his personal struggles and shared experiences that explain how these things got him to where he is today.
Watching his face light up and his big grin beam as he talked about his three adorable young sons and his beautiful and musically talented fiancé, Michelle Moonshine, was a true delight. I could tell by the joy I saw in his smile how much his family means to him and how incredibly in love he is with Michelle.
If you ask most musical artists who are starting out in the industry what their idea of “Making it” would mean, their mind would first be flooded with images of bright stage lights that fill a stadium with sounds of applause, a bank account with a never ending cashflow and a fan base that goes a mile long.
What sets Andrew apart from other artists though is his response.
“I’ve already made it. I get to live my dream while connecting with people through my music. I get to sing songs to people that take them places they need to go and at the end of the day, I have my three boys and a beautiful woman whom I’m crazy about. When I look at her, she’s the only woman in the room. I am finally free to be able to be who I am and that to me is the true meaning of making it.”
Andrew has a new album coming out called “Strangest Congregations” that will be released in May 2020. You can check out his current album along with dates of upcoming shows on his webpage, andrewwiscombe.com
You can find his music on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services.
(Baird is a Serve Daily contributor.)