Andrew Neil, a reclusive and talented musician, has an inspiring story to tell. Born in Colorado Springs, he had a bright future as a recruited high school athlete who earned an appointment to West Point. However, his life took a turn after a car accident left him with a traumatic head injury and serious mental health issues. Despite the challenges, he discovered his passion for music and began writing songs to channel his innermost feelings.
Andrew taught himself how to play the keyboard and guitar by writing his own songs, never playing a cover song. He has written over 400 songs since then and has released six albums. He is considered an “Outsider music artist,” similar to Daniel Johnston, with a unique and percussive guitar style reminiscent of Nirvana’s unplugged concert.
In May 2017, after being discharged from the hospital, Andrew had the desire to share his music and story with others. He chose to release an album titled “Code Purple” that features 11 songs recorded in his hospital room. This album holds a unique distinction as it is one of the only albums ever produced where all the songs were written and recorded in a state psychiatric hospital. Andrew Neil shares this distinction with the great Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators fame, who also was a long-term patient in a mental hospital where he wrote and recorded songs. After “Code Purple” was released, Andrew was recognized and added to Rankers list of the best outsider music artists.
In 2018, he met music producer Andy Waldeck, who helped him record and release his first studio album “Merry Go Round,” which received excellent reviews and was played on college radio stations across the country.
Despite facing a difficult challenge in 2019 when he was diagnosed with aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer, Andrew persevered and finished recording his second studio album, “Freak.” He continued to release more albums and even formed a band to share his music on bigger stages.
On top of all his achievements in the field of music, Andrew also puts such emphasis on creating amazing cover art. He sees music and cover art as two halves of a whole, both equally crucial in crafting a standout album. For “Code Purple” and “Freak,” he teamed up with his abstract artist brother Kyle Scott Maternick – who he had a harrowing experience with in 2013 but has since reconciled. Meanwhile, Daniel Benayun lent his artistic touch to the covers of “Merry Go Round,” “Sunny Side,” and “Alien.”
Andrew’s albums are available as limited-edition CDs and vinyl, each one more exclusive than the last. The 300 pressings of “Code Purple,” “Merry Go Round,” and “Freak” stand in stark contrast to the 100 copies of “Sunny Side” and 200 copies of “Alien.” This scarcity adds to the value of Andrew’s musical offerings.
Furthermore, a book about Andrew’s journey through mental illness, cancer, and the role of music in his life, “Kind of Hurt,” is in the works. The publication date is yet to be announced, but readers can expect a moving, in-depth look at Andrew’s life and the power of music.
Andrew’s journey is a testament to the power of music as a source of healing and hope. Despite facing serious mental health issues and a life-threatening illness, he never gave up on his passion for music and continues to share his talent with the world. He proves that anything is possible when you have the courage to chase your dreams. To learn more about Andrew Neil and his music, visit his Linktree page.