Sauchie, Britain (UK)
Andrew Huggan hails from Alloa, a town in 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, like "Take Me Away Across The Sea" in pub sessions and at his local pub's "open mic" night.
By 2007 Andrew had already made his first radio and TV appearances, on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and STV, 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 aproaching 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 300 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 on their first ever Scottish tour. The same year saw him secure the first of several appearances on Glasgow's Celtic Music Radio station and Andrew signing up with promoter and manager, Alan Grant. This proved to be the platform for much greater exposure, with Andrew securing airplay on the likes of Real Radio, Heartland and Isles FM, and several live appearances.
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.
Boosted by his growing online following and the strong reception his live performances were receiving, Andrew decided to self-finance the release of his first CD, joining forces with Andrew Gordon, an Edinburgh-based folk singer, to record the "Taste of Freedom" EP. Coast's Paul Eastham agreed to mix the four-track CD, which featured both Free Spirit and The Reek Of The Smouldering Peat. The CD was released just before the end of the 2010, when Andrew supported Coast again in their native Southampton, and have been sold to fans all over the UK, and overseas in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and even as far as Australia.
2011 proved to be a busy year for Andrew which saw seen him making his first live appearance 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.