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Feb 16, 2012
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Success of ‘Tonight Is The Night’ is Outasight for New York rapper-singer

By Michael Swanger

“Snowstorm Music Tour 2012” featuring T-Pain, Gym Class Heroes, Chris Cab and Outasight (pictured) stops at the Val Air Ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 through Ticketmaster.

New York rapper-singer Richard Andrew, a.k.a. Outasight, has a lot to celebrate when he makes his Iowa debut this week. His new single and video “Tonight Is The Night” has sold more than 250,000 copies while it continues to play on Top 40 stations across the country and climb the iTunes singles charts (as of press time it sits at No. 33), and its video has more than three million views on YouTube. The song’s success has also garnered Outasight a spot on the “Snowstorm Music Tour 2012,” featuring hip-hop artist T-Pain. The tour pulls into the Val Air Ballroom on Wednesday, Feb. 16, one day before Andrew’s 28th birthday, which he will celebrate in Waterloo when the tour stops there.

“I’m definitely excited to play Iowa and celebrate my birthday,” said Andrew via telephone from the Big Apple. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“Tonight Is The Night” has become an anthem for Andrew who is labeled as a hip-hop artist though he also sings and draws upon influences such as classic rock and soul music. Andrew’s career took off in 2009 when he signed with Warner Brothers Records, and his 2010 EP “Further” spawned the hit single and video “Catch Me If You Can.” But things went into overdrive when Pepsi decided to use 2011’s “Tonight Is The Night” for a commercial featuring footage of Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Ray Charles to promote the television show “X Factor.”

“I had the song already done and Pepsi was looking for a new artist to use for its ‘Who’s Next?’ campaign, so my management pitched the song, and Pepsi loved it and asked if I was interested in having it played on the commercial, which I obviously was,” said Andrew. “It was a super fast turnaround. I found out on Friday they were going to use it, and the commercial aired on Wednesday. Sometimes you just gotta open the door when opportunity knocks.”

Andrew’s breakthrough success is the kind of thing he dreamed about as a boy growing up playing his father’s hand-me-down guitar.

“My father was a construction worker, a blue collar guy, who played guitar, so I was always around music. When you’re a kid and you see your parents doing something, you automatically accept it as being cool,” said Andrew, who noted that he also enjoyed playing baseball but ultimately decided that he was a better singer than a shortstop. “He showed me the basics and I’d play it on and off, but I was always into creative writing and wanted to project my voice.”

Years later, Andrew started playing shows at small venues in New York City. After releasing two independent recordings in 2007 and 2008 and having his video for the song “Good Evening (Dream Big)” win the 2008 mtvU Freshmen video contest, he signed with Warner Brothers Records. Last month, he performed “Tonight Is The Night” with one of his favorite bands, The Roots, on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Andrew said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity. It started with the Pepsi commercial, then being able to perform on TV with The Roots who I’ve been a lifelong fan of. For someone who’s putting out music, you want as many fans to hear it as possible, and I’m definitely getting the chance to do that now. It’s been a fun ride so far.”

The fun has begun, but the work is far from over for Andrew who is working on new material for an album he hopes to release this summer.

“I have other singles locked and loaded and ready to go,” he said. “Any time I get the chance, I love to be in the studio. I plan to continue to put out new music and tour and just do what I love. It’s really fun for me.” CV

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