New country artist Andy Velo has a career goal in mind, and he seems to know how he’s going to get there. As with most newcomers on the scene, you can put a check mark behind the usual boxes of singing talent, work ethic and strong self-belief. But unlike many of his peers, Velo brings a certain marketing and business savvy to the table.
Take the strategy behind his latest album “North Georgia Pines.” He’s promoting the record in a truly outside-the-box manner, taking a piecemeal approach, as it were. “We’re releasing one song a month for the entire year,” Velo explains simply.
In other words, all 12 songs from the album will be released over the course of 2017, but only one per month at a time. There’s one exception to the plan, though. If you happen to attend a live show, you can buy the entire album and get all 12 selections at once. Velo has already held three album release parties, including one in Nashville back in January.
So far, Velo has released the tunes “Song You Can Drink a Beer To,” God Made a Back Road” and “Thinkin’.” Using this one-at-a-time strategy, Velo notes that he can cull plenty of vital information. “It helps me figure out what the fans like and what they don’t like,” he says. “It allows me to be able to capitalize on my growth.” And spoken like a true marketing guy, he adds, “It’s a way for us to harness the data of what’s working.”
To paraphrase Waylon Jennings, we’re pretty sure that Hank never done it that way. But in the 21st century country music world, you have to crunch those social media numbers and keep your head in the business side of things. “I want to learn as much about the business as I possibly can,” Velo says. “I never really studied music business in college, in fact I was studying to be a high school football coach at one time. So I didn’t enter into this with any factual information. Most of what I have learned is from observation and talking with other artists.”
Velo has seen a calculable growth process since moving to Nashville in 2012 from his native Georgia. He believes that the time is right for his particular brand of country. “I really step towards more middle-of-the-road country,” he says. “When I started putting all this together, I knew I had to stick to what I’m good at.” Velo has continued to build his fan base from his 2014 self-titled EP, previous singles like “Southern Thing” and a fast-moving, jamming stage show that keeps fans clamoring for more.
“Our live shows are very high energy,” Velo declares, citing Garth Brooks as an influence in that area. “We want to give fans a real experience.” Musically, Velo aims to be true to his blue collar Georgia roots and share that side of him with listeners. “That’s always going to be me,” Velo says. “I think I do represent the blue collar guy. I never want my music to disconnect with who I am. That is a lesson I have learned,” he adds sincerely. “You can be as lyrically coy as you want to be, but if fans don’t feel emotionally connected to your songs, then they’re just words. You really have to be true to yourself.”
As he’s making music, he’ll make sure to keep an eye on those numbers. So far, he’s encouraged by the response to the first releases from “North Georgia Pines.” “I absolutely can get a read on what people are liking,” Velo points out. “I have seen an astronomical growth in our social engagement since the first of the year. It’s encouraging.”
His main goal is a simple one: to get to that all-important “next level” of his career. “We just want to grow as much as possible,” he says with enthusiasm. “And I would like to see us in a different place by the end of the year. I’ll also start writing for the next record. But right now,” he adds brightly, “I’m just so proud of the project we have.”