Andy Wright caught his first break in the music industry back in the 1980s, fresh out of university. Landing a job driving equipment to the capitol’s top recording studios, it wasn’t long before he found himself in charge of setting up complex gear for baffled producers and bands.
Already an accomplished keyboard player with fledgling experience producing his own groups, Andy spent hours studying manuals for gear like the Linn Drum Machine and Yamaha DX7, brushing up the finer details, so that when the calls came, he knew what to do…
Riding the rough waves of the 1990s as a keyboard player and programmer, Andy took the risk of setting up his own studio in London’s Primrose Hill. Programming, producing and playing, he was free to bring in projects of his choosing. Around this time he worked on breakthrough hits such as KLF’s What Time Is Love America, and Massive Attack’s seminal album Protection.
In 1995, he took the first steps on a long journey with Simply Red – creating the unique sounds and beats featured on Fairground, Simply Red’s first #1 UK single. Andy’s received production credits on every Simply Red album since.
Other highlights included a co-production credit shared with Alan Moulder and U2 producer Flood on the Tom Jones album The Lead and How to Swing it. Friendship with Alan led to Andy hooking up with Dave Stewart from Eurythmics – an exciting period in Andy’s career followed.
“I still maintain that the 2-3 years I spent working with Dave Stewart was probably the most fun I’ve had in my working life. Dave was unpredictable, always coming up with some idea, project, adventure and often in some far-flung destination – like a songwriting trip down the Amazon river.”
His relationship with Stewart saw him working on hits with Imogen Heap, Jon Bon Jovi and Alisha’s Attic. Soon after, he got the call to get on board with Eurythmics.
“It was a great privilege to be invited by Dave to be involved with the 1999 album Peace, not least because I was a fan. The process was so vibrant, new songs appearing to come from Dave and Annie every day.
Dave surrounds his projects with huge positivity and that’s something I’ve sought to inject into my own production style – it really seems to create an environment that brings out the best in everybody.”
The album was a huge success and included the hits I Saved the World Today, 17 Again as well as the title track, Peace. Subsequently, Andy continued working with Annie on the Album Bare – spending several months helping develop songs, including co-production of 1000 Beautiful Things.
In 2000, an unlikely coming together with guitar legend Jeff Beck led to Andy’s production of the album You Had It Coming. Marrying edgy, unexpected influences with Jeff’s virtuoso playing, produced a ground-breaking album – a Grammy award followed for the track Dirty Mind in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
On a roll, Andy and Jeff collaborated again on Beck’s follow-up, the eponymously titled, Jeff, in 2003. This produced more Grammy glory with the track Plan B also winning Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The next period of Andy’s career saw Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum awards arriving almost annually for his work, with an eclectic range of artists, ranging from Atomic Kitten through to opera legend Pavarotti.
More recently he’s been busy with Scottish rock giants Simple Minds, having successfully co-produced their last album Big Music, released to huge critical acclaim in 2015. He was also instrumental in the success of the recent 30-year anniversary celebrations and album commemorating Simply Red’s glittering career at the top.
Andy’s production career runs the full scope and range of the musical spectrum. But his favourite project?
“Easy. That’s always the one I’m working on…”