Andrew Mark is an award nominated Singer/Songwriter from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The acoustic guitar is his weapon of choice, and he uses it to the fullest extent he can. Performing live music is Andrew's full time job, and he takes pride in his live performances. It is his goal to put on the best, and most impressive show that he can. Using an ever growing collection of equipment like a loop pedal, a delay pedal, a wah pedal, a slide, a harmonica, and more; Andrew uses them to make his performance more than just getting through a three minute song. Andrew uses powerful vocals, energetic dancing, as well as energetic acoustic guitar solos to grab the audience's attention. Andrew makes sure when he is by himself he can grab the attention of the room just as much as a full band could.
Andrew makes every performance different than the last by using improvisation for guitar solos and singing. Sometimes he will perform complete improvised songs off the top of his head. Using a diverse catalog of original and cover songs, Andrew makes sure that no two shows are the same. Andrew tries to stay away from playing songs he performed at his last performance, and his last performance at the same venue. It is his goal to play 20 songs at one show, 20 different songs the next show, and to continue that pattern as much as he can. Andrew also brings his own interpretation to many cover songs he performs by adding improvised jams to them. He will also improvise new lyrics that pertain to the night, turn a song into a medley mash up, as well as mix together an interpolation of an audience request into his next song he was planning to play.
Andrew has been influenced by Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Colin Hay (Men At Work), Phil Collins (Genesis), Coldplay, John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, Phillip Phillips, Frank Sinatra, AC/DC, and a continuing number of different types of music. To Andrew music is the most important part of a song. Complex, thought out, and beautiful instrumentation that evokes an emotional response is the type of music Andrew hopes to make. Andrew writes music that comes straight from his heart. Writing the music before he even knows what the lyrics will be, he composes the piece by thinking about the topic of the song or how he is feeling, and then transfers those feelings into a guitar piece.
Andrew writes songs to say things he can't say to people, to let certain people know how much he values them, and to vent frustrations he has about the world. He hopes that his music can speak to as many people as possible. To give people hope, relief, a sense that they aren't alone, and the comfort of knowing someone else feels what they feel; like all his favorite musicians have done for him.
Come see Andrew perform his 2018 "Awakening" Tour while he works on completing more studio projects. His current full band single "Serenity Now..." is available on this website, ITunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, and more!
Below you can see a full biography, and in depth history of Andrew's journey, and where he plans to go!
Andrew Mark Schaffer was born March 5th 1993 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. he was raised by Mark & Paulina Schaffer. He never was very interested in music at all, even thinking that learning electric guitar would be stupid. However, years later one day he saw a clip of the music video for "POD" by Tenacious D. Kyle Gass' solo on the acoustic guitar got stuck in his head, and he couldn't stop thinknig about it. He needed to learn how to do something like that himself. That was the day Andrew can without a doubt pinpoint the start of his complete & obsessive love for music. His new dream was to be a guitarist.
After a year of begging his parents, they finally bought him a $100 Squier Acoustic Guitar. With Tenacious D being his first influence, he learned many of their songs. Eventually his taste in music evolved after he bought the album "Back in Black" by AC/DC. This album completely changed his inspiration & he went to buy an Epiphone SG Electric Guitar (a knock off of the guitar AC/DC's Angus Young uses), and he stopped playing acoustic guitar for a while. While playing electric he was inspired by bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, System Of A Down, Disturbed, Slipknot, Black Sabbath, and Metallica. Until one day he would see something that would evolve his tastes in music again.
Andrew's sister Adriane Schaffer introduced him to Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds. After seeing Tim Reynolds' slide acoustic guitar solo on the song "Crush" during their Live at Radio City Music Hall performance, Andrew became heavily inspired by Dave Matthews Band. He then sold his electric guitar to buy a higher end acoustic/Electric guitar. It was an Ibanez guitar. From then on he would become inspired by artists like Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Men at Work, and Phillip Phillips.
In 2011 after 4 years of playing guitar & having used it to audition for two musical theatre shows; Andrew decided He finally wanted to perform music for an actual audience. His first ever performance with a guitar was at his High School (William Allen High School) in an all male talent show called "Mr. Allen". He ended up placing 3rd in the competition by ironically playing Rebecca Black's song "Friday" & then bringing another student out to dance while He improvised a song on the guitar. His performance was dancing the exact choreography from the "Napoleon Dynamite" film, where the titular character dances, and then He brought in one of his best friends, a student from William Allen's rival school to have a dance battle.
After finally taking on His fear of playing in front of people Andrew decided He wanted to continue performing. Andrew then ended up playing his first serious gig at a Diabetes Benefit out of town at Millersville University in Millersville, PA. That performance gave him the confidence that He had what it took to be able to sing & play guitar in front of a crowd. For the remainder of the year He played at a local coffee shop (Hava Java Cafe - Allentown, PA) for open mic nite.
In 2012 andrew continued to play open mics, but decided He wanted to start recording original music. He started to record instrumental tracks. "Serenity Now..." was the first. Then for His friend Lishey Dent's birthday He played Piano & Guitar & recorded the instrumental "Lishey D" as a present for her. He also then recorded another instrumental song called "My Sunshine".
After 5 years of attempting to write songs He finally wrote a Full song with lyrics called "No Tomorrow". It was inspired by a day of hanging out with a girl he had feelings for. Andrew knew he wouldn't see her again for a long time starting the next day, so he called it No Tomorrow. Andrew recorded the song with His IPhone & mixed it in a program called Mixcraft. Andrew then released it on ITunes as a single. Andrew ended up not liking the quality of the recording & knew the song needed more work. so he took it down off of all the music markets. For the rest of 2012 he took the song to open mics along with the instrumentals He recorded, and a comedy song He wrote called "Scream It!". Also taking over 60 covers, & creating multiple improvised instrumentals off the top of His head. One day He went to Hava Java Cafe (Emmaus, PA) when there was no open mic, but the owner let Him stay for His first ever headlining gig. He ended up playing a 26 song set acoustically with no electronics. The last day of the year he headlined his first paid gig ever at YoFresh Yogurt Cafe (Allentown, PA).
In 2013 Andrew started to name his local tours, beginning with the 2013 "Destination; Anywhere..." tour. The tour was named this because Andrew felt his music career had room for growth and he could reach new goals within the year. He then released an EP called "Love..." on ITunes & other sites. It was a recording He did with His IPhone & Mixcraft. Yet again Andrew ended up taking it down from all websites & distributors. Andrew took it down because He didn't like the quality of the recordings, and He didn't like that He put His comedy song on it along with His serious music, It sounded out of place. He then decided he would not release another album officially until He went into an actual studio to record it. Andrew wanted to have a quality that sounded professional. Andrew continued to perform at new open mics, was an opening act for a local band, and Performed on local TV & a local IHeartRadio Internet Radio Station. Continuing to write originals Andrew debuted two new songs with lyrics, a new version of "My Sunshine" & new song "Little Baby". "My Sunshine" was a song andrew wrote about one of his best friends that he had feelings for. He had feelings for her for a long time, and for years he wanted to write a song for her called "My Sunshine" because her name means sun, sunlight, sunshine. He sat on the song title for a long time until finally finishing the guitar, and then later the lyrics. "Little Baby" was a song that andrew wrote about holding his newborn cousin in his arms for the first time. In that moment he was transported to the future into a hypothetical envisonment of the day he would hold his own baby in his arms. At the end of the year He was nominated for his first award ever! Andrew received a nomination for the 2014 Lehigh Valley Music Awards for "Best Music Website".
In 2014 Andrew began the 2014 "New Beginnings" tour. The start of a new year always made andrew feel excited because it was a whole new year with a brand new beginning where the mistakes of the previous year could not be repeated. Andrew then finished the lyrics to "Serenity Now..." after writing multiple versions of it. This version was a version about Andrew battle with Anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Wanting to write a song about how hard it was for him to deal with these issues and how he just wanted to be happy and feel at peace. Having the last lyrics of the song be hopeful He tried to give the message that even though life can be hard and scary, we can get through the struggles and find happiness, and a new beginning. then started a new full time job and received donations from family members that believed in Him to finally be able to buy all the equipment He would need to start booking His own live shows. He started to book as many paid headlining acts he could. With the money he made from his job & gigs andrew finally decided to go into the recording studio again (He Professionally recorded a Demo of "No Tomorrow" that went terribly and was never released). He chose Jeff McKinnon of Controlled Sound Studios in Millersville, PA to record the song for him. With help from Evan Seeberger on Drums, Jeff Grey on Saxophone, and Jeff McKinnon on Bass they recorded a full band version of "Serenity Now...". "Serenity Now..." went on to sell in different states and a few different countries. It recevied radio play on internet Radio stations in his local area, as well as different states and countries. It went on to be the #1 voted song for the month of September, and received a nomination for Outstanding Original song at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards. Andrew also received Lehigh Valley Music Award Nominations that year for Best Male Artist, Best Website, and Best Album for "Spread Our Wings". "Spread Our Wings" is now a discontinued demo andrew sold to raise money for Cancer. Andrew has discontinued sale due to the lacking quality of his performance on the old tracks. When he records New Demos with more quality he will release a new charity album.
in 2015 Andrew began one of the biggest years in his musical career so far. He began the 2015 "Searching For Sanity" Tour. Still dealing with many anxiety issues and not having his career where he wanted it at the start of 2015 andrew was still searching for happiness and peace. Later on in the year Andrew made a huge step in his career. He finally got to the point where he could make more money playing music than he did at his full time job. Andrew decided half way through the year to leave his full time job, and he started his own business; Serenity Harmonics Entertainment. He stated his full time career to host open mic nites, play headlining shows, and teach guitar. He also was a finalist for the 2015 Lehigh Valley Happening Awards for Best Musician or Band, being his closest attempt so far to win an award. Over a year after writing "Serenity Now...", Andrew finally debuted a new song in 2015 called "Pumpkin Patch". Pumpkin Patch was written for Sara & Joe Vendetti. Sara is Andrew's extended sister, and she asked him to sing at their wedding. For a wedding gift andrew asked Sara & Joe questions about their relationship and why they love each other. He then took their answers and turned them into lyrics. He called the song "Pumpkin Patch" because Joe proposed to Sara at a Pumpkin Patch.
In 2016 Andrew began the 2016 "Ignite The Past" Tour. He called this tour ignite the past because it is a lyric in his song "Pumpkin Patch". Also again with his love of the beginning of a new year, he wanted to show that he was going to leave behind who he was in the past and focus on becoming a better person, a more determined person, and was going to try and build his career to a new level and leave the lazy ways of the past behind. He was a finalist for the Lehigh Valley Happening list's Best Musician or Band for the second year in a row. Struggling to keep his career as a full time musician and pay his expenses to live on his own, Andrew is determined as ever to make the rest of this year as busy as he can, so he can again prove those who doubt him wrong. With Andrew's first EP possibly being recorded by the end of the year, Stay tuned for what's in store!
In addition to his music career Andrew has also had an acting career. His acting career started in 2010 when he performed in the musical "RENT" at his high school William Allen High. He played the parts of Mr. Jefferson/Pastor/Ensemble. The show was a huge success giving His school 14 Freddy Award nominations, 2 wins, and a Best Show nomination, which gave Him & the cast a chance to perform a number from the show during the ceremony which was broadcast on live television.
Fall of 2010 Andrew was cast in his first straight play as Inspector Belsize, but due to starting to have panic attacks over that summer he had to drop out. During the first read through he had a panic attack and almost ran out of the room. After the read through he privately dropped out because he thought there was no way he'd ever be able to perform again due to these anxiety attacks.
In 2011 Andrew learned to deal with his anxiety attacks & control them. He was cast in his senior musical "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as Asher/Butler. backstage before the curtain opened for the first night of the show, Andrew had another anxiety attack. Andrew was seconds away from running out the door & going home, but knew he couldn't let everyone down and ruin the entire show by being Leaving. Although his role wasn't a lead role he needed to be present, so he powered through it and went on stage to perform. It was a triumphant moment, and after the first song he felt fine on stage, and didn't have another panic attack. Andrew had beaten the anxiety that stole away his dream of being in a fall show at the school.
In 2013 after a two year hiatus of auditioning for shows due to wanting to focus on music & losing his passion for theatre; Andrew decided to audition for shows again. 30 minutes before an audition at The Pennsylvania Playhouse, a local theatre; He decided to go into the audition unprepared & at the last minute printed out some sheet music and went to the theatre. Only wanting to gain confidence in auditioning he auditioned, thinking there was no possible way he was good enough to get in. To his surprise he was offered a role in "Company" as part of the unseen silhouette chorus, who were labeled as The Vocal Minority. around 60 people auditioned for a small show comprised of only adult characters. It was such an honor, and a dream to be performing in a musical at one of His dream theatres, since he was a kid. "Company" went on to receive the 2013 ABE Award for "Best Musical".
After the show closed Andrew auditioned right away for another musical. Notre Dame Summer Theatre in Easton, PA had obtained the recently released rights to "Les Miserables" for the Lehigh Valley premier of the show. There was a turn out of over 100 people for around 50 parts in the show. To his great surprise he was cast as Lesgles/Constable 2/Ensemble, his biggest role in a show so far. He was offered a Paid Role in another community show at the same time, but he declined it because he loved "Les Miserables" so much. The show was a great success with over 1,300 tickets sold, annd local celebrity & movie star Amanda Seyfried who played the role of Cosette in the movie adaption ended up coming to show, which made the cast incredibly excited to hear. "Les Miserables" went on to get 2013 ABE Awards for "Best Ensemble in a Musical", "Best Actor in a Musical (Rody Gilkeson as Jean Valjean)", "Best Costuming", & "Best Director (Rody Gilkeson)
Right after "Les Miserables", Andrew then auditioned for the Lehigh Valley Premier of "Spring Awakening" at Civic Theatre of Allentown. Andrew had always dreamed of getting into a show at Civic after unsuccessfully auditioning for Roger in 2010 for their production of "RENT". Andrew ended up being cast as part of the chorus for the show, who sat on stage with audience members to end up surprising them by standing up during songs to be revealed to actually be part of the show, and not audience members at all. The show ran for 9 performances, and director of the insanely iconic Broadway show "Wicked", Joe Mantello was in attendance for one of the performances! "Spring Awakening" went on to get nominated for 2013 BroadwayWorld Philadelphia Awards. "Best Musical", "Best Ensemble in a Musical", "Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Johnny Scaffer as Otto)", "Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Morgan Reilly as Ilse)", "Best Actor in a Musical (both Alex Michaels as Moritz, & Michael Barthel as Melchior)", "Best Theatre Company", and "Best Director of a Musical (William Sanders)". Nina Attinello ended up getting the only win for "Best Actress in a Musical" as Wendla.
Andrew then performed in his last show of 2013, "A Christmas Carol". It was the first Straight Play Andrew ever performed in after dropping out of "Night Must Fall" in 2010. It was a dream come true to return right away to Civic Theatre & cross off an item on Andrews bucket list. It was the first time Andrew had ever gotten to act & have multiple spoken lines in a production. Andrew was cast in the roles of "2nd Solicitor/Dr. Redlaw/Fred's Party Guest/Ensemble". It was also the first time he had to substitute for a role. For 3 performances the actor who portrayed Dick Wilkens became ill, and Andrew stood in for him.
Because Andrew has become a full time musician, it is virtually impossible for him to perform theatre, because the schedules clash with gigs. If an amazing show comes along Andrew will consider auditioning for it, but don't be surprised if Andrew doesn't return to the stage for many years.