Andrew Huggan hails from Clackmannanshire, deep in the heart of Scotland at the foot of the Ochil Hills. Although he can trace his earliest musical influences back to none other than The Singing Kettle, Andrew first tried to learn to play the keyboard after discovering the music of Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Mike Oldfield. It was the latter’s album Voyager that led to Andrew developing an interest in Scottish folk and Celtic bands, such as Wolfstone and Runrig.
Although Andrew had been involved in several music groups while at school – including Hillfoots Music for Youth orchestra and also Clackmannan District Junior brass band – it was not until after seeing Runrig in concert for the first time in 2003 that Andrew bought his first guitar, at the age of 19. He bought their songbook “Flower of the West”, from which he taught himself to sing and play guitar. As well as building up a repertoire of songs by his favourite bands, Andrew decided to venture into the world of songwriting, and first performed his own early material, in pub sessions and at his local pub’s “open mic” night.
By 2007 Andrew had already made his first radio appearance, on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, but it was not until the following year that he penned his most popular song to date, “Free Spirit”, written in response to the growing obsession with celebrities and their lives in Britain. By the time Andrew travelled to Stornoway to play in the famous pub sessions at the 2008 Hebridean Celtic Festival, complete strangers were approaching him to say they recognised Free Spirit from the internet. By now, Andrew had decided to embrace social media sites such as Myspace, YouTube and Facebook to help spread the word about his music. To date, Free Spirit has had more than 400 hits on YouTube alone, while his website has had over 10,000 views.
Later that summer Andrew’s growing following saw him secure a slot playing at the official pre-gig party for Runrig fans organised before the band’s sell-out concert at Edinburgh Castle. In 2009 Andrew performed at a host of venues and events across Britain.
But his next big break came early in 2010 when he was approached by Paul Eastham, frontman of English Celtic rockers Coast, who had discovered Andrew’s music online, and asked to support them on their first ever Scottish tour. The same year saw him secure the first of several appearances on Glasgow’s Celtic Music Radio station as well as securing airplay on the likes of Real Radio, Heartland FM and Isles FM.
Andrew’s most unusual appearance to date came when he performed at Glasgow Airport as part of its first ever “Airplay” competition to showcase new musical talent. Andrew embarked on a major online campaign to promote his music via the competition, including new song “In The Reek Of The Smouldering Peat”, which was fast becoming his new live favourite, after being written in celebration of one of Scotland’s most remote bunkhouse hostels, in the Outer Hebrides, his favourite holiday destination. To date, this performance of “In the Reek of the Smouldering Peat” has had over 700 hits on Youtube.
Andrew later landed a slot performing at legendary singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean’s Perthshire Amber festival and also appeared at an all-day busking event during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe along a mile-long stretch of the city’s waterfront.
2011 proved to be a busy year for Andrew which saw him making his first live appearances in Denmark, performing at several venues across Scotland and also supporting top folk rockers Skerryvore at the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. Andrew also made more live radio appearances, performing live on Celtic Music Radio and Stirling University’s Air3 Radio.
Early in 2012, Andrew performed at an open air event in Menstrie as part of Clackmannanshire’s diamond jubilee celebrations. In August, he landed a spot at a fundraiser hosted by Celtic Music Radio on the steam boat Maid of the Loch on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, to raise funds for the ongoing maintenance and repair of the boat.
Andrew decided the time had come to produce a full album. Following his participation in the crowdfunding efforts of Enter the Haggis and the Wiyos, he approached Scottish crowdfunding company Bloom VC and began his own campaign to fund his debut album. Within the first week of the 8 week campaign he had already achieved his target, with fans from the UK, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and even USA all making promises of funds in exchange for exclusive rewards.
Andrew’s debut album “Travels” was realeased on 1st December 2012 at a very well-attended launch event at Cafe Nero in Stirling. On the same day, “Travels” was announced as Celtic Music Radio#s album of the week, a very proud moment for the Wee County songwriter.
Andrew continued to play gigs across Scotland throughout 2013, including performing alongside a host of local musicians at the very first Stirling Fringe Festival. He was later invited to support Skerryvore again at a sold out gig at Stirling’s Tolbooth during their 2013 winter tour. His album “Travels” continues to get regular airplay to this date.
After a hiatus of 2 years, Andrew has started writing his next album. Whilst “Travels” contained song based around the theme of travelling, he is taking a different approach to his latest album. Instead of writing songs lyrically based on a theme, he aims to create a mostly instrumental album based on a theme musically, inspired by his re-listening to Mike Oldfield’s vast discography.