Chris Andreucci remembers going on a weekday to watch a friend play at Tate Street Coffee House. There isn’t one particular moment that made the 22-year-old decide to pursue music, but if there was, this would be a contender.
“We’d go down and watch him, drink a lot of coffee, and it was a really, really fun time,” he said. “It inspired me to play my own show while I was in Greensboro.”
The Scottish singer/songwriter is fresh off the release of his EP “What Don’t Kill You” which came out in December 2020. The story of his young music career would be difficult to tell without including the parts from his semester abroad at UNC Greensboro, taking classes at the Bryan School of Business and Economics in early 2019.
“Before (deciding to pursue music full-time) I had an internship in Georgia and I was driven to go into sales of some kind,” he said. “At UNCG I had opportunities to go into selling and sales, that’s something we didn’t get offered back home. (Lecturer John) Chapman came into a sales leadership class and handled the teaching situation differently than anything I’d seen before. He’d experienced it all.”
Andreucci says it didn’t take long for Greensboro to feel like home.
“(Chapman) really inspired me and had a lot of time for me as an international student. He asked me a lot of questions about how it compared to university back home,” he said. “Being a guy from Scotland, we always just kind of pictured college in America as what it’s like in the movies. I was open to any and all opportunities and was ready to really immerse myself in the experience and within a week had friends from all walks of life, countries, and all parts of America.”
Andreucci has since graduated from a university closer to home after spending time studying marketing and international business. But his career has been on a different trajectory ever since watching live music on Tate Street.
“I’ve always been a songwriter, I’d only really started playing gigs back home in Scotland the year before I left. It was nothing serious, just fun to make a little money on the side,” he said. “But I’m a big fan of country music thanks to my dad, and when I went to North Carolina, it really opened my eyes. The first time I saw people line dancing, it inspired me to speak to others at the school who were musicians. Soon enough, I had a group of guys who were bouncing song ideas off each other, playing them in the dorms now and then.”
Andreucci began to think big, particularly after seeing Eric Church, a personal favorite, play in Greensboro.
“I ended up getting to play a three-hour set on a Friday night downtown and it was a lot of fun. I invited all of the international students and some friends and it was a really fun night. From there I had the idea that while I’m in the U.S. I might as well do a bit of a tour,” he said. “I wanted to hop between states and play as many gigs as I could.”
While in America, Andreucci self-funded a tour that brought him from Philadelphia, to Nashville, to Florida, and then out to California to play a show in Santa Monica.
“I was just kind of having fun. I met a lot of people and a lot of friends in different states in America. I went back to Georgia to finish up the internship down there but at that time I got a deal sent through by Century Music Group,” he said. “And it wasn’t until I had a sit down with my family to ask, ‘What’s the right route for me?’ I thought it’d be crazy not to take a chance at this.”
With the global pandemic, Andreucci says he is currently socially distancing at home in Scotland, going through old notes and lyrics. Staying positive, he hopes to get back to Nashville at some point this year and play some shows, and maybe get back into the studio. Despite the uncertainty, he hopes his story gives Bryan School students the confidence to say, “Yes.”
“Never say no to an opportunity,” he said. “Even if you don’t really know how to do it, say yes and work it out. You’ll learn something about yourself, the work you’re doing, and you never know — you might have fun while you’re at it.”
Photos for this story were provided courtesy of Jessica Katzen.