"[Andy] has the ability to transport his listeners to a specific time, [and] add a stylistic twist to his sound."
- The Music Court
On June 2019, Indian singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Andy The Crocodile (born Anand Manivannan), unveiled his debut EP, Scars & Wounds. Seven years in the making, Scars & Wounds is an artful amalgam of ‘40s jazz, ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll and indie folk with jolts of Jimmy Page-esque guitar machismo, rich harmonies reminiscent of turn-of-the-20th-century barbershop quartets, and vocal stylings and tender tunes à la Glen Hansard of The Frames. The four songs, according to the artist, are “about those people in life that you never outgrow but carry with you as a mark on your soul”.
Andy, the grandson of revered Nadaswaram player S.R.D. Vaidyanathan, developed his musicianship and production techniques through formal music studies and hearty helpings of YouTube tutorials. His artistic journey began in adolescence in the industrial city of Chennai, India, where he started taking private lessons in western classical piano and Carnatic singing lessons with his grandfather and renowned vocalist Rajkumar Bharathi.
While a deft performer of Indian music, Andy quickly realized that his heart was in the west. The mystical melody that opens “Stairway to Heaven” ignited his desire to teach himself to play the guitar at age 14, and bands like The Fray and The Beatles stoked his interest in songwriting. The thrill of his first public performance of Western music – an acoustic rendition of “How to Save a Life” with his provocatively-named high school trio, The Acoustic Bastards – motivated him to dive deeper into western rock and indie and hone the skills necessary to bring his music to the masses.
Andy crudely recorded his first few tracks with a desktop mic and used TV speakers for playback – got to start somewhere, right? He then began devouring the internet for information on DIY recording techniques and rapidly learned DAWs like Audacity and Cubase 5, which he used to record all the material on Scars & Wounds.
He regards the release of his 2015 single, “The Whammy Girl,” as a seminal moment on his path to artistic maturation. The song showcases his self-taught producing prowess and is filled with fiery fretwork and country swagger. But Andy knew there was more to learn and room to grow, which prompted his momentous decision to study in the epicenter of entertainment: Los Angeles. In 2018, Andy graduated from California College of Music, where he refined his eclectic brand of songwriting and enhanced his production abilities.
As for his stage name? Andy struggled to execute a guitar solo when recording “The Whammy Girl,” but a 1.5mm deus ex machina was all it took to unlock his guitar technique; his friend lent him a thicker pick emblazoned with the Dunlop alligator, which Andy mistook for a crocodile. (It’s all about the snout shape, if you were curious about the difference.) This revelation compelled him to adopt the reptile as his moniker. And like the crocodile, Andy is a cold-blooded composer, producer, and performer, ready to bring his unique blend of indie, rock, jazz, and folk music to the world.