Andrew Dorsett, better know to Macjammers as eDrew, is a native of Antigua & Barbuda and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. Andrew is an accomplished keyboardist, composer, and producer. Andrew has played keyboards and served as Musical Director for artists such as:
Donny Osmond, Patti LaBelle, Najee, Natalie Cole, Johnny Gill, Vanessa Williams, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Donna Summer, Heather Headley, James Ingram, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Poe, and many more.
Andrew has made television appearances throughout the USA, UK, Australia, Mexico, China, and the Caribbean on such programs as:
MTVs Rock The Cradle, MTV China, Top Of The Pops, FOX-TV’s Teen Choice Awards, Nickelodeon’s “All That”, TBN, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Dave Letterman, The View, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Essence Awards, Soul Train, Girlfriends and BET.
Andrew also composes music for TV, film, the Internet and the stage including cues for live stage plays produced by LA Theater Works. Andrew currently serves as Musical Director for City Church International in Ontario, CA. He lives with his wife Delicia Delgardo and son Julius Joaquin in Lake Balboa, CA.
How did you get your current gig playing with the House Band for MTV’s hit show Rock The Cradle?
“My dear friend Nate Morton referred me. Special thanks to Paul Mirkovich for giving me the opportunity to be in the band. The band is led by keyboardist Paul Mirkovich and the guys and gals in the band are a very talented bunch who were chosen for their versatility. The contestants are brilliant and each have something unique to offer.”
What other gigs have you had recently?
“Over the past year I’ve also been playing keyboards for Donny Osmond. Donny, his sister Marie and the rest of his brothers recently taped and released a DVD celebrating the Osmonds’ 50th anniversary. If you look carefully I’m in the back playing keys. I was happy to be a part of that. Donny has been my favorite artist to work for so far, he’s a great guy. He takes his work seriously but goes about it in a very friendly and relaxed way. He also doesn’t like being out for too many weeks at a time and I love that. Gives me time to come home and reconnect.”
Donny started early. When did you start playing music?
“I was about nine years old when I started taking piano lessons. Before that my brothers and I had been playing guitar and whatever toy instruments my dad had bought us.”
As a pro musician, why did you join MacJams and what makes you want to spend time here?
“For me, MacJams is a great place to test out my skills and get some good feedback. At the time when I joined I was beginning to focus on the writing and producing aspects of my career. Also when I first came upon MacJams I was going through a period where I was very withdrawn from the rest of the world. Being on MacJams was a great way to interact with others without confronting my anxiety. It allowed me to still be involved with music and also develop some other skills that I was interested in. Most of my career has been on the performing side of the industry but thanks to a place like MacJams and the confidence I’ve gotten from interacting here I’m doing more Producing and Writing.
What obstacles have you overcome in your musical career?
“All my obstacles have been psychological and internal. Nothing profound here. At times I wish I were more confident about my abilities. I’ve struggled with Social Anxiety for a long time. Sometimes it’s tolerable and other times it’s devastating. It doesn’t affect my writing, doesn’t affect me when I’m playing but when it comes to networking and politicking that’s where I suffer. As I’m sure you know networking is a huge part of being successful in any business. I’ve been lucky that I developed a few good friendships that always recommend me for gigs. For instance, I got recommended for RTC gig by a dear friend of mine Nate Morton. We went to the Berklee College of Music together. He’s the most versatile drummer I know. He played with Paul in another TV house band. When they were looking for another keyboard player for RTC he recommended me. I then met with Paul and things took off from there.”
What do you mean by Social Anxiety? Is this something that keeps you from going out, speaking with people face to face, or is it more like performance anxiety?
“Wow, Tobin, you make me feel like I’m having a therapy session. (: My Social Anxiety doesn’t keep me from going grocery shopping. It’s mainly when interacting with people I’m not familiar with but have to deal with. For instance, going to parties is a challenge. If I could just sit there and be invisible I would be fine. It’s the pressure of feeling obligated to talk to people. Apparently I have issues of being judged. So in a social setting I become withdrawn and want to escape. If I’m around friends I’ve know for a while it’s somewhat better. Obviously, this is not a rational response and is based on fear. Clamming up happens sometimes.”
Does your wife help you cope?
“Marrying my wife was the best life decision I’ve made. She’s very charming and very comfortable in social situations. She helps me tremendously. If she notices I’m becoming withdrawn she’ll inquire if I’m Ok. She’s the reason I got help for the Anxiety which led to a massive Depression Episode. For other MacJammers who are concerned about their anxiety: get the best medical help you can get. Everyone’s situation is different so it’s good to have an objective professional to help. At one point I had a therapist and a psychologist. There are also some resources online that can be helpful. I can’t say that I’m cured but the insight I’ve gotten has helped. It’s something I still struggle with. I only wish I had confronted my anxiety earlier. If not treated it can escalate into major Clinical Depression. Depression and Social Anxiety are two sides of the same coin and can be deadly.”
How did you get into Berklee School of Music?
“I had read about Berklee in music magazines while I was growing up in Antigua. It had a good reputation so I applied and was accepted. It was much easier to get into the School back then; now it’s not so easy.”
How did you end up in Los Angeles?
“Ever since I visited Southern California on a tour back in 1996 I wanted to move to LA. Back then I was touring with Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons. When we got to San Diego my mind was made up. After being in Boston for a few years it was time to get away from the cold. Also the West Coast better represented the vibe I was feeling at the time and where I wanted to go career wise. While at Berklee the impression I got was that you had 2 options after graduation: If you’re going to focus on Jazz then New York was the place to go. If you were open to more popular styles and didn’t like the cold then LA was the better choice. Some of my Berklee classmates had made the move to LA and were doing well, that gave me the confidence that I could be successful there as well. So after a 3 year sabbatical back home I returned to Boston to get married and made the move to LA.”
What are you childhood influences?
“My Dad is a minister and was a christian music fan. My mom is a good singer too. She’s a beautiful alto. As early as I can remember there were always musical instruments around the house. Neither of my parents played an instrument but they got joy out of seeing us create music. My brothers and I naturally grew to love music and playing the instruments. I’m the 3rd of four sons and was the third to start taking piano lessons. We all took lessons at some point. Music was a vital part of our religious experience and my family was as religious they come. It was a way for me to express myself at church and at home.
With all the things you’ve done, what do you consider your career highlights?
“As far as highlights, MTVs Rock The Cradle is the highlight so far because it’s a live weekly TV show on a national cable network. I’ve performed on most of the national TV shows that feature music and those are exciting to do, but at this stage in my career RTC is perfect because the audience is huge and I get to go home after each show. I love to be in Los Angeles so I can continue to work on other projects in my studio. Touring can be exciting but not as it used to be. A few weeks at a time is reasonable but there are few tours that are scheduled like that. Being at home with my wife and son is important to me and if I had to choose I’d do an in town TV series over a a few months on the road.”
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
“You know that’s a good question but I haven’t kept good records so I couldn’t tell you what my first song was. I can’t imagine it was great but it must have been good. It was probably an instrumental. In my teens I did more writing of complete songs than I do now. Today they’re mostly instrumentals but in my teens I remember writing lots of gospel songs. I even won a few Singer Songwriter contests. My brothers and I were known as the Dorsett Boys and we won some regional Radio Christmas Carol Competitions.”
Any Dorsett Brothers stories?
“I’m very grateful that I grew up in the environment that I did. My brothers were a big part of that. For me our home was a mini music school, we all had music lessons when we were young and are still passionate about all kinds of music. They are all very talented. Fortunately for them they were also talented and passionate about others things as well and decided to pursue other careers. My choices were limited.”
What’s your main instrument?
“Piano, Keyboards and Organ.”
“Korg Kontrol 49, Yamaha Motif ES8. I use a M-Audio 410 interface to record audio into my MacBook Pro. I’m planning to get an Apogee Duet. Logic Pro 8. Stylus RMX for drums. SampleTank and SonicSynth.”
How do you record?
“Even though I’m a professional keyboard player, I use the Pencil Tool a lot when I’m producing. It allows me to do things I normally wouldn’t play. So it’s like I have an alter ego. Generally, I work on the mix as the programming and recording. I roll of the bottom end of the tracks that don’t contribute anything to the low end of the mix. It clears up some of the clutter in the mix.”
What is your strongest point, musically?
“My willingness to learn new things whether it’s a different genre or approaching something from a different angle. I love playing with other keyboardists. I’m quite used to my playing and what I sound like so hearing another keyboardist is refreshing.”
What is your weakest point and how you get around it?
“Setting aside time to practice is a weak point. I try to practice at rehearsals and even at gigs to compensate.”
“Keep it simple. Be open to new ideas. The industry is constantly changing and those who are able to adapt will be in the best position to benefit.”
What do you think of Macjams?
“The best part of MacJams is the feedback I get from the listeners. I only wish I had time to post more material.”
What MJ song you are most proud of?
“Anything’s Possible. While recording that one I really felt good. Herbie Hancock is someone I admire greatly and he inspired the track. Herbie is always open to new possibilities and it always pays off for him.”
What are your favorite MJ collaborations you’ve done?
“The ones with Fairy Beth and Sil-ver. I love Fairy Beth’s music. She has a very distinguishable voice. I did a remix of one of her songs. Sil-ver is an excellent programmer. I enjoy listening to his stuff. I would have never heard these artists were it not for MacJams. Also I predict that antonfosh will be a huge success. A very good songwriter, excellent voice and arranging skills. Would love to collaborate with him.”
You mention a “CD version” for one of your MJ tracks, Ontario Samba (see below). Do you have a discography available?
“That’s from a CD that I’m still working on. When I first uploaded it I was planning to release a CD in 2007. At this point I may rework that track since it’s been awhile since I released it. The rest of the album would be basically a compilation of tracks I’ve produced and other remixes that I’ve done. Nothings etched in stone though. The concept for the album may change.”
How has the Internet changed the way you work?
“Not sure how I would communicate without the internet. Many of the tracks I work with are recorded elsewhere. Sometimes the files are transfered via .mac public folders. For rough mixes I send mp3s back and forth.”
What are you current musical aspirations?
“Continue to perform. Do more writing for TV, Film etc. Improve my Production Skills. Have more kids if my wife agrees to it.”
• Personal page: www.andrewdorsett.com
• Music Production page: www.deliciousdorsettmusic.com
• eDrew’s Macjams Profile page
• A video of a song I produced for Dewall, a talented artist who lives in LA.