Nestor AnDress is a bit of a firecracker. “No thanks – I’ll start doing backflips,” he tells our server during our conversation in Nashville this August, when asked if he’d like a refill on the coffee he’s drinking. Fervor isn’t something the Texas native is lacking – it pervades his speech, whether he’s talking about his family, growing up playing football, connecting with people even just with a smile, or the passion he has for making music.
“Too many things that were happening so beautifully and so naturally that if I neglect this I’m a damn fool,” AnDress says. The football star’s first taste of musical performance came in 8th grade, when he sang Tim McGraw’s “Please Remember Me” at a school talent show. At the time, music wasn’t a consideration – singing the song was just a part of his school experience and leaving a legacy. Music took a more active role for AnDress during high school – his mother gave him a guitar, which he learned to play, and would jam on with people living in his dorm. Together they played a couple bars, performances that prompted the manager to invite them back.
At AnDress’ last show before the end of the semester, an older man – “gray, handlebar mustache, cowboy looking dude” – approached him after his performance of Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon” to share his story, tears in his eyes. It was a moment that stuck with AnDress – witnessing that connection that his performance of music could bring people. One night, he was out dancing and asked the band if he could jump in and sing one; upon the conclusion of his performance, the band asked him if he’d like to join permanently as their lead singer.
“I fell in love and things just started happening in such a beautiful way that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do it,” AnDress says.
Though music came after football for the artist, he’d had been writing poetry since middle school, and his poems began to take shape as songs. “Honestly, all of my songs are poetry to me,” AnDress says. “All of my songs so far [except for one] have been something that I wrote down as a short poem and I took it into a writing session.”
“I love being able to take someone into my mind,” he continues, “into my feelings and my emotions and my tone of what I was feeling. There’s been a lot of times growing up, especially being a hopeless romantic as a kid up till now – it evolves and I understand it more – but younger, there were a lot of songs where it helped me see things in a way that I otherwise couldn’t have by myself, or when I was nervous to talk to a girl that really just captivated me it helped me put words together that I otherwise couldn’t have come up with on my own. I really want to incorporate into that music too.” He mentions producer Matt Geroux, with whom he worked on his debut EP Falling In Love. “I don’t know a damn thing about that,” he says of the technical side of production, “but I know how it feels.”
Being a hopeless romantic is something that heavily guides AnDress’ EP – from the title track to “Drunk At A Bar,” a song about retaining passion in relationships, to “I Want To,” which discusses falling hard, love is at the forefront of much of the music.
“I wanted to write an album about love,” he says. “And falling in love not just with a person or an individual but falling in love with a memory, with a song, with a moment.”
The result is an ode to those moments. “Nothing But The Good Times” is a living-it-up anthem, which incorporates the troubadour’s friends’ night-out motto akin to the Friday Night Lights beer-raiser “Texas Forever” – “you, me, us, we. Texas.” The current Nashville dweller, whose off-time hobbies include night fishing, sounds solidly country, with a bombastic sound that connects live.
“Nothing gets me going like the sound of a steel guitar,” AnDress says. “I’m a two stepping son of a gun from Texas. I love my country music.”
Grab AnDress’ debut EP Falling In Love on iTunes and listen below.