Georgia native Andrew Jannakos was the boy next door who was typically seen playing backyard sports, but behind closed doors, he was establishing his unique sound that has quickly put his name on the map within the country music genre.
During those transformative years, Jannakos pulled inspiration from his grandfather, who played in a bluegrass band, as well as Shania Twain from his mother’s car radio. Although it was country music that lit the burning fire within him, he knew he had to develop a diverse musical palette to stand out among the rest.
While remaining loyal to his traditional country roots, he started to incorporate elements from his vocal influences, such as Eminem and *NSYNC. At the time, music enthusiasts browsing Facebook and YouTube found Jannakos and marked him as a hidden gem. Soon after, a recruiter from NBC’s The Voice recognized his unmatched talents and wanted to provide a larger platform for his music.
Within just a few notes of his chilling rendition of “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs on Season 16 of The Voice, Adam Levine smashed his red button and moments later, the 25-year-old received a chair turn from Kelly Clarkson during the blind auditions.
It was Adam Levine who guided the emerging artist to stardom and shared his insights on how to intertwine his pop sound with his country twang. After leaving the show, Jannakos kept the momentum high and started working alongside gifted songwriters in Music City.
“I’ve grown tremendously as a songwriter, and I have definitely become stronger vocally than what I was on the show. Working with such amazing people here in Nashville allows me to continue to grow artistically,” shares the breakout star during an exclusive Country Now interview.
The release of his radio single “Gone Too Soon” earned him high placement on the Billboard’s Emerging Artist Chart and Hot Country Songs chart. Overnight, the mid-tempo banger saw record-breaking numbers on TikTok, as he generated over five million views and received praise from James Corden from The Late Late Show on CBS.
#duet with @ajannakos love this song Andrew. Had to duet x
The rapid rise to fame scored him a record deal with Sony Music Nashville. With a strong team and loyal fan base behind him, he recently just dropped his debut EP, Gone Too Soon. The chart-topping performer recently told County Now, that he hopes the six-track collection inspires his fans to take advantage of what makes them, them.
“I hope they take away that being different – having different types of songs, a different sound, and even a different style than others – isn’t a bad thing,” says the “Wine Country” singer. “My music is diverse, my listeners are diverse, and I think ‘Different’ is great. I also hope they feel the genuine emotion in all of my songs & that they connect to them in a similar way.”
Jannakos did not just open up about his mind-blowing EP with Country Now, but he revealed what life is like as a new father pursuing a career in music, the power of TikTok, and his big plans to hit the road to perform his fresh music live and in-person.
Read on to find out more about Andrew Jannakos in this exclusive Q&A below…
Who is Andrew Jannakos? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 27-year-old Flowery Branch, GA native now living in Nashville with my wife and 5-year-old son. I started my musical journey on season 16 of The Voice & had a break on TikTok this past year that landed me a record deal with Sony Music Nashville & my first radio single release. Wow, that’s crazy saying it aloud like that.
How is your new EP Gone Too Soon different from anything else you have released in the past?
Well, it’s really my first EP, so I hope it reflects the different types of things I can do with my music. I have songs like “Gone Too Soon” & “Wine Country” that are a little different from traditional country, but this EP also shows my more traditional side on songs like “Like Yesterday.”
Out of all six songs on Gone Too Soon, which one was the hardest to write and why?
Honestly, I wouldn’t say any were too difficult to write. It just depended on the day & the energy of the people in the room. Sometimes a song really can just fall out if the energy is high and we’re all in a rhythm. I wrote a lot of these songs with some close friends, so our energy was great.
What was the inspiration behind your song “Somebody Loves You”?
“Somebody Loves You” is about that friend you have feelings for & keep watching them get hurt in the other relationships they’re in, yet you’re there for them every time. You just want them to realize you’re right in front of their face.
Tell us about the concept behind the accompanying video for “Somebody Loves You.”
We have a puppy starring in the video, and I’m singing “somebody loves you” to the pup. It’s showing that even animals have someone that loves them, and everyone was made for someone. You can’t go wrong with having a puppy as the star of the show!
I love this song. From the day we wrote it we knew it was a great song with an amazing meaning of love. What’s y’all’s favorite lyric?
— Andrew Jannakos (@andrewjannakos) August 5, 2021
Are there any behind-the-scenes secrets for the “Somebody Loves You” music video that might surprise fans?
I don’t think there are any big behind-the-scenes secrets, but something that may surprise fans is that the star puppy in the video was actually a boy dog. His sister was supposed to star in the video, but she was fortunately adopted that same day.
What do you want fans to take away from your EP Gone Too Soon, and how would you like them to feel while listening to it?
I hope they take away that being different – having different types of songs, a different sound, and even a different style than others – isn’t a bad thing. My music is diverse, my listeners are diverse, and I think ‘Different’ is great. I also hope they feel the genuine emotion in all of my songs & that they connect to them in a similar way.
“Wine Country” captured our attention at Country Now. What kind of headspace were you in when writing this mid-tempo track?
I was sitting in a cabin in the middle of Chattanooga, TN, with some of my buddies having a great time, so I was in a pretty positive headspace lol. We had someone jamming on the guitar, and then another just happened to say, “That sounds smooth there… it’s like some wine-drinking type vibe,” and then it all hit us… “Wine Country.” We all went around the room describing what that meant to us, and then we ran with it from there.
Can fans expect to see you perform your new material live and in-person in the near future?
Absolutely! We have some huge shows already lined up, and I’m so stoked to get on the road this year!
In May, you adopted Brenson, your wife’s 5-year-old son – what is one thing you quickly learned about fatherhood?
I’ve learned so much in the past few years being with Bren. Patience is probably the number one thing I’ve learned. I learn more and more from him every day.
Have you found it challenging to balance your full-fledged music career and being a parent? Has becoming a father changed the way you approach songwriting?
I’ve honestly found it a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s been overwhelming, but he’s learning to understand why I have to leave, and we’re getting in a good rhythm as a family.
You appeared on season 16 of NBC’s The Voice. Can you share your experience and most significant takeaways from being on that show?
It was a lot of fun! I met a lot of amazing musicians. I also gained confidence in myself to believe I have what it takes and that still motivates me today.
How would you say you’ve grown as a vocalist since your journey on The Voice?
I’ve grown tremendously as a songwriter, and I have definitely become stronger vocally than what I was on the show. Working with such amazing people here in Nashville allows me to continue to grow artistically.
You created a strong and loyal following on TikTok. So, what advice would you give an aspiring musician trying to make a name for themselves on the platform?
I would tell them to stay grinding, don’t stop. Do things that make YOU happy & stay true to yourself. Also, don’t hesitate to try new things such as social media apps. There’s an audience out there waiting to hear you.
Do you have any projects or collaborations in the pipeline right now that fans should look out for?
No collaborations YET, but I definitely have a lot of things I’m super excited about & I can’t wait to show everyone
Fans can keep up with Andrew Jannakos on Instagram.