Country Music Awards honour Andrew’s caring charity work
Andrew is absolutely deserving of this award given how much joy he has been bringing to the elderly and many others through his music.
“May 7, 2020 was my first ever care home performance,” Andrew told the Newry Reporter. “Back then people were doing Facebook gigs and I just came up with the idea why not just bring a Facebook gig to a care home because there were no regular gigs. We did 66 care homes from May 7 until Christmas Eve.”
Andrew kept up the gigs after lockdown ended, selflessly giving his time and the gift of music performing at care homes and Special Needs Education Residential Homes.
“There's a care home in Banbridge and I was there for the three stages [of Covid]. I was first singing outside it. The second time I was there I was singing behind a screen and the third time I was there I was singing in the room with the people.”
Andrew suffered a horrific setback during this time when he contracted Covid and it triggered a neurological disorder which caused complete speech loss for three months.
“I'm not sure when I actually realised, but I realised that while I couldn't speak, I could still sing. I lost my speech for five days, got it back for six days and then lost it for three months. But within those three months I figured out I could actually sing so I went back to the care homes.”
It was a long road of speech therapy back for Andrew who has loved all genres of music from a very young age.
“I watched the movie 'Billy Elliot' and it left a lasting impression on me. Alongside that was 'Grease'. So I always had an appreciation of music,” said the 23-year-old.
“When I was 11 or 12 I found the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and then it progressed. I took what I liked from those genres and combined them with what I liked about Country.
On the night of the awards Andrew was full of nerves.
“I focussed on doing the song I was performing because I knew if I focussed too much on the award I don't think I could have performed it. It was a very emotional time for me. It's the first time I've been recognised for the things I've been doing and love for so long.”
Andrew would like to than the event organiser Malcolm McDowell, who he said “has raised the roof on Country Music in Northern Ireland this last four years.”
Andrew's wishes to thank promoters like Sean Wallace, Sammy McCauley and Sammy Pollock for including him on shows and concerts. The Barry Doyle Band are bringing Andrew back to Scotland in April after a very successful visit last year. Thanks to Country Harmony and many others that have helped Andrew along the way and to Tux and Tails menswear in Dungannon for sponsoring his outfit on the night. You can follow Andrew and see his performance on Facebook: Andrew McMurdie Music.