For this talented new star, it's been a long time coming.
Before tackling music fulltime, Andrew was raised in Knoxville. Carlton
earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications at the University of
Tennessee. During his time there, Carlton gained music experience
as a Top 40 DJ at the local radio station and leading worship for
UT's chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Carlton also
participated in various entertainment roles with the school's championship
football team. On a national level, Carlton made a name for himself
as the featured vocalist of various swing projects.
Growing up with a father who sang in churches, music
has always been a part of Andrew's life. "I've been singing ever
since I can remember, never the serious outlook that I take on now,
but just enjoying music."
A genuinely original Christian recording artist, Andrew
Carlton celebrated the release of Falling In, his debut project
on Flying Leap Records May 18, 2004.
Known for his soulful voice and passionate stage performances,
Andrew demonstrates he is one of contemporary Christian music's truly
great artists. Having shared the stage with artists such as MercyMe,
Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Jars of Clay, Newsboys, Audio
Adrenaline, and countless others, Andrew Carlton is poised to take
his message of faith to the world.
Not long after his salvation in middle school, Andrew
Carlton recognized that he had a fire inside of him that could not
be quenched except with singing about Christ, the decision he'd made,
and the joy that comes along with that. "I made the conscious
decision to focus my eyes only on God, not on the music industry,
but on pursuing my ministry for Him. God is faithful. I've watched
as He has slowly brought everything together."
When Andrew moved to Nashville after his graduation
to engage in Christian music as a full time endeavor, the audience
listened. Andrew's demo of "Hold Me Up" entered WAY FM's Buzz Cut Competition,
a radio battle between two singles, where the fans vote for the victor
and the champion returns the following night to defend the title.
While Andrew's single went up against new releases from
artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman and Rebecca St. James, "Hold
Me Up" defied the odds and won the contest nine nights in a row. WAY
FM declared the single undefeated and Andrew Carlton joined the short
list of artists who have achieved WAY FM's Buzz Cut Competition "Hall
of Fame," which includes DC Talk, the Newsboys, and Kirk Franklin.
Falling In reveals real-life drama. Facing some sobering
realities in the last three years, such as the divorce of his parents,
the death of two of his grandparents, and the veracity of life on
the road, I've grown closer to God in the last three years than in
any other time in my life, because truly stepping out on faith is
one of the most challenging things to do. And now, I have so many
incredible stories of how God has been faithful to me and drawn me
close to Him. I'm no longer who I was, because I met Christ."
Faith turned out to be the unintentional theme on Falling
In. Webster's Dictionary defines faith as, "(1) belief and trust
in and loyalty to God (2) firm belief in something for which there
is no proof - in faith : without doubt or question."
Andrew found his strength in God. That strength is declared
in the songs on Falling In. Andrew wrote eight of the ten songs included
on the project.
These songs were born from the suffering over the loss
of the stable world that Andrew had known; Andrew is living the words
he's singing on this project.
Andrew Carlton's personal definition of faith
is found in the first single to release to AC/Inspo radio, "This Is
Faith". When asked about the meaning of the song, Andrew said, "Through
the difficult times in the past few years, I thought God wasn't hearing
my prayers. Then, I realized that faith is believing in a Savior that
we can't see, and obeying Him. I tried for so long to understand that
simple statement, and now I am starting to get it. This is faith."
Falling In, the title track and first single to release to CHR radio,
has a similar message: Christ is calling us to place control in His
hands without knowing what's around the corner.
In songs like "I Believe" and "Shaken", Andrew's passion
is evident as they are packed with energy and excitement. Taking On
The World is a fervent rock tune that displays his desire to show
that living out your faith is an amazing adventure.
For Falling In, the creative production team of Danny
Duncan and Dan Needham (Steven Curtis Chapman We Fall Down Wow Worship
2004) worked on tracks such as "This Is Faith", "Falling In" and "God Sends".
Dove-award winning producer Travis Wyrick produced Andrew Carlton
on the other half of the album's songs, such as "Home", "Leave It All
Behind", and "Shaken" (which Wyrick co-wrote).
"The quote that, to me, sums up the entire meaning
of the Gospel is, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light
can do that," by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The biggest challenge
as a Christian artist is to provide entertainment to draw in the people
who need to hear about Christ's love, while presenting the Gospel
in a profoundly simple way. I have to show them that there is a reason
to be joyous. There is a hope Jesus Christ.
You might want to call him the new contender of Christian
pop. An underdog, a challenger, a new face with a great voice, but
does Andrew Carlton have the punch to make the rounds with the Christian
Nashville's WAY FM put that question to the test when,
late last year, they entered a demo version of Carlton's "Hold Me
Up" into their nightly Buzz Cut Competition. The highly respected
radio battle pits two singles against each other, the fans vote for
a victor, and the champion returns the following night to defend the
title against a new buzz-heavy challenger.
Theoretically, the rookie Carlton shouldn't have had
a chance as he went up against new singles from the likes of Steven
Curtis Chapman, Skillet, and Rebecca St. James. Instead, "Hold Me
Up" beat down every single challenger, winning straight nine nights
in a row until the station finally retired the song undefeated.
Carlton joined the short list of artists like DC Talk,
the Newsboys, and Kirk Franklin who earned a spot on WAY FM's undefeated
Hall of Fame. In the wake of his surprising Buzz Cut upset, Andrew
Carlton released his self-titled pop music debut in February of 2000.
Released only in limited numbers, the album was then temporarily discontinued
for a larger re-release this September.
The question, of course, is why the re-release"
Energized by his early knock out hit, the 23-year-old Carlton went
on a writing spree that produced his best songs yet, right as his
self-titled album was preparing to ship to the stores.
Audio X decided to give stores the option to carry the
original version of the album, as Andrew Carlton entered the studio
with label president Brian Hardin to record these new songs and to
update the overall production to reflect the new material. The resulting
new version of his self-titled album proved to be both worth the wait
and worth the effort.
Among the songs doctored, the revised "Hold Me Up" sounds
better than ever. The single is already experiencing considerable
success at radio, even landing heavy rotation in one of the most populated
cities in the world, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The follow-up single, the
brand new "Another Revolution," will likely be the song to take Carlton's
In 1999, Audio X Records took note of this rising star's
talent, and they offered Carlton a platform to present his pop talents
to the world. With his completed self-titled debut, Carlton places
himself in the center of the current Christian pop craze.
He has already been featured in a two page spread of
Release Magazine and on the cover of Christian Retailing. Likewise,
Carlton will be making his largest national outing yet as he joins
Grammy Award winner Rebecca St. James and teen duo Larue on the most
hyped pop-tour packages of the fall. Establishment beware because
there's a new heavy hitter throwing his hat in the music ring. Carlton's
donned the gloves, and he's here to show the world that he knows how
New Flying Leap Records artist, Andrew Carlton, has
been working for about four years on building a grassroots following.
Desiring to pursue music for most of his life, Carlton finally moved
to Nashville after graduating and soon found one of his demo songs
facing off against veteran CCM acts on WAY-FM's Buzz Cut Competition.
Beating the odds, he won nine times in a row against new releases
from folks like Steven Curtis Chapman and Rebecca St. James; his song
was finally retired, undefeated. Falling In is the first chance that
a national audience has to hear the work of this young up-and-coming
Teaming with Danny Duncan and Dan Needham at the production
reigns for half the project and Travis Wyrick on the other, Carlton
comes off like a cross between a young Bob Carlisle, Michael O'Brien,
and the edgier side of Clay Crosse.
Falling In is pretty middle-of-the-road pop/rock for
the most part. "Taking On the World" has a nice opening, incorporating
a bit of scratching into the mix, a la Amy Grant's "Simple Things,"
as well as a nice use of strings, but the typical Christian-against-the-world
lyric fails to support the musical backing it has. "Falling In" shows
a slightly more creative pen, with the line "your love is the refuge
and I'm falling in." For some reason there are a lot of Christian
songs and albums with the word "falling" in the title (Margaret Becker's
Falling Forward and Paul Alan's Falling Awake come to mind) and most
of them tend to be at least half way decent. Shades of Michael O'Brien's
voice creep in here for the first time and will stick around through
most of the remaining tracks.
"This Is Faith" tries to be the big radio ballad but
neither has the lyrical strength nor the musical muscle necessary,
and it is one of the weaker songs on the album - Andrew Carlton works
better here when his songs have an edge. "I Believe" opens to a nice
acoustic guitar riff and though the melody on the verse is slightly
reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys' "As Long As You Love Me," it's
got a good hook and I like it. "Shaken," a song about change from
the inside, closes the album on a strong note. Wyrick's production
here is the strongest on the record and the eclectic mix of instruments,
programming, and guitar parts makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Overall Falling In shows Carlton to be a promising talent.
He's got a lot of room for improvement, but for a freshman project
it's more than decent. He'll probably fly under the radar, due to
his smaller label, but for those who do stumble upon his album they
may find themselves pleasantly surprised.
Andrew Carlton delivers infectious pop/rock on his Flying
Leap Record release Falling In. Try and imagine a more-pop-and-less-folk-influenced
Silers Bald. Urban elements are even present. But it is still not
enough to keep Carlton's sophomore release from sounding like most
acoustic pop/rock flooding the Christian market today. However, the
tunes are catchy enough and the messages clear enough to keep most
pop fans interested
For the many fans of the genre, this is a great release
and a wonderful example of the talent Andrew has to offer.
Andrew Carlton says he never could have imagined the
ways God is using him. But, with his vertical focus, Andrew continues
his enlightened journey as a vocalist and songwriter in Contemporary