Andrew De Leon's Wicked Mind of Darken Thoughts of Mystery and Abyss

Andrew De Leon  you may recognize him as the guy, like many who was featured, on television show America's Got Talent. He was a contestant during its seventh season going through its grueling process being disqualified in the long run. But while that did not stop him from pursuing his goals and passions of creativity as a musician, he headed home doing what he wanted with the music he crafted. Taking his inspiration from a goth opera film and expressing that into other performances and released material. Now that some time has passed he is still going for that dream of expression and showing what he is here to do.  He took some time to discuss the newest material in the works, his influences, and his inspiring spirit to embrace each and every one who is willing to take a listen to what he can do, because we all have a dream and he is living it.

1. Can you introduce yourself, tell me what you do and how long have you been doing this?

Andrew: Hello my name is Andrew De Leon, people know me from America's Got Talent season 7, I was known on there as the goth opera singer. I've been singing for 7-8 years now but publicly for 2 years.

2. Where are you based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Andrew: Well I am based out of Kyle, Texas which is not that far from Austin, Texas where I have lived before but as far as bands I know of MurderFM who are from Houston, Texas, but there are so many bands and artists that I can't keep up with in and around Texas.

3. What bands have influenced you and your sound?

Andrew: A lot of bands that have influenced me are one's that have a larger symphonic sound like, Cradle of Filth or Launca Coil, or even softer stuff like Evanscenese. But I do have a soft spot for a lot of 90's grunge types of acts, listening to a lot of The Cranberries, Garbage, and Nirvana all of these acts are very influential to me.

4. What lyrical theme do you use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Andrew: Well the message in all honestly is freedom of expression with allowing yourself to be bizarre and embrace yourself for it, even if those people who do not care for it or would want to judge you. It's okay and healthy to accept oneself to love yourself, whether it'd be looking like me or someone else it doesn't matter. As long as this message is being spread. A lot of the music has been very anti-bully based content due to me personally experiencing it. Not so much of this on the new album but the old album was filled with extensive amounts. On this album it's more about creativity being inspired about horror films with my previous album it was about me being who I am, this is who I want to be accept it or not. For this one, it depends on what I am writing about, on my previous album it was all reality but this new one it's all horror and fantasy and the very theatrical.

5. How have you been releasing your music taking the DIY approach or are you signed to a label?

Andrew: So far it's all been released independently. I do have and work with a producer with other people who help me write music, having a great group of friends,  people who support me. The great thing about independent music is nobody can't tell you what you can't write. Hopefully in the future I can release music through a label I wouldn't be against it.

6. How old were you when you went in as a contestant on America's Got Talent and how old are you now? Do you think you've changed much since?

Andrew: Absolutely I was 19 on the show and now I am 21 going on 22 in August.  I've definitely changed a lot for the better. I am still the same person and more confident and inspired. I am no longer that shy person, I am more open to meeting people and experiences just having fun and enjoying what I do with my music so other's can enjoy it. So yes I have changed quite a bit actually haha.

7. Your first ever performance overall happened on America's Got Talent in season 7 - why did you want to make this showcase the place to reveal what you could do?

Andrew:  I can't say, I really don't know how it happened. I didn't even know about the audition until the day or a couple of days before. I had been singing to myself at home at the time, when everyone was at work and school and I did not want to tell anyone what I was doing because it was a secret passion of mine. I figured people would have made fun of me. I had seen a preview on television and thought to myself should I go? I never had seen the show but did see clips on YouTube like everyone else probably has seen my clips. I think it's every outsider's dream of having that moment of doing something and everyone loves them for it. Wouldn't it be cool if that had happened to me? How awesome would it be and I could have died happily. So I said fuck it and went ahead and did it. You can't tell from my face but I was shocked by how it turned out. The reason I choose that as my first performance was because I would know from that point if this was going to work out or not and if it didn't well I could do something else. My mentality was different then but now I would promote by encourage someone to go out and pursue your dreams, if that's what you want to do then go do it. If it didn't work out there, a lot more opportunities are available you just have to look and continue to go for it.

8. You then went on to be included in several more segments on America's Got Talent in the end being eliminated from the competition. What was the whole experience like for you?

Andrew: Oh wow. It was exciting. I have never left Texas except for Mexico which is right there but when I got on that plane to go to Vegas, was excited thinking cockily I am going to fly through this performance. Once there and performing my throat stunk, nervously caused me to forget the lyrics of the fucking song causing my elimination. I knew it was over right there, after they sent me home, that flight was the most depressing one. I have been on other flights since but that one was the most depressing experience for me to go through and face. I flew there with a chance and flew home with disappointment. It was like they held gold in front of me and let me touch it for a mere second then took it away for me, then everyone asked me if I would go back if they had a Wild Card episode like they've done before. For some reason I said yes, in most situations most people would say no and with cameras at all times, they want to capture it, a lot of my friends were asked to return and they did not due to the experience and difficult. I think I have a tough skin and I went back. That whole experience was amazing and I proved I had talent and something to show and could entertain people sending a positive message, it's something I will not regret doing it for the most part I am quite pleased with myself.

9. The judges on the show kept ragging on you about your appearance than your talent, what do you think it is about appearances that make people care so much about the looks than the talent?

Andrew: I really that sinks into today's society. It's still about the talent but it's still more about the looks like 10% more importance is put into effect. I remember as a kid that nobody cared what one person looked like, if they could entertain they had it. Now it's all about is he a pretty boy or is she a pretty girl looking like Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande. Which is why I idolize artists or bands who are extremely talented and may not be conventionally beautiful like Lady Gaga, totally weird and beautiful but conventionally she's not sorry for saying it like that, but is extremely talented, huge voice, writes lyrics, plays piano, classically trained, it's all there but I don't understand why her image gets shot down so much.  That's why when the judges pointed out my looks, at first they were praising me for my looks, you look this way and sing this way and sound this way which is great.

Then all of a sudden that all changed to, you look weird, it doesn't match with the music and what you're singing. Plus another thing they praised me for was not being trained but then disliked that I was not trained? In my mind I could understand the training part and always improve yourself learning more, but as far as looks  go if I was an ordinary guy with my hair pulled back in a tux, there would be two things wrong, one it's been done and two I would be unhappy, I like putting on the black clothes, makeup, people think I am hiding but I am not. It's Halloween every fucking day for me and other kids too like a lot of the goth, metal, rock, industrial types would agree, it's just fun. Everyone wants to make a science of this or that like Dr. Phil saying this guy is misunderstood or that or this about this guy or that person. It's double standards within the music industry and that's just stupid.

10. Why did you see music as your escape and a comfort zone for your inner being?

Andrew: I don't know and what's funny at a young age I thought I was going to be a singer and my parents thought so too. But I was only 5 at the time and would only sing along to whatever music my parents had playing. Then gave that up and couldn't do it. Then went into film doing makeup and theater productions but secretly I had grown this obsession with opera and classical music not telling anyone because the one's that did know me, knew me as the guy who would listen to Marilyn Manson and Slayer. It's one of those things where your singing going to a whole another place and your good at it, feeling good about it, then it just happens all the time getting on people's nerves and it feels really good and I like I can make other's feel good like how I feel.

It was an escape because I was a typical angry goth kid so instead of hurting myself anymore than I had, I figured I had something to give to the world than be another goth to kill themselves. I refused to do something everyone knew would be the same thing and I wanted to do something different, doing this as something I wanted to do because it's different and unique. It's the way society looks at me and see's this troubled person who does drugs and gets wasted or is a kill no I am none of those except I did accidentally get wasted once. Music is an escape for everyone even if there not the one singing it but just listening to it. A lot of the people who follow me tell me that I or other artists and bands have saved their lives. It's an escape and a religion music is at this point and time, rather than do this and go to church and be saved, I rather be saved this way through music. I see other people using it as their own escape and for me I have two escapes with performing and listening to music.

11. Why did you think you were an outsider or an outcast, do you still feel this way to this day?

Andrew:  To a certain degree in a different way. Before I was an outcast in my own society as a normal teenager, would be going to parties, getting good grades, playing sports, and having girlfriends all the time, that's what a regular teen would be like but not me, I was nothing like that. I was the kid who world want to stay home watching movies and listening to music, when going to school I would be the kid who had their head down and would get tired of the weird looks. That was that, now I have more confidence  but in a way I still feel like an outsider/outcast as a public figure with everyone of mine out there, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. I am an open book for comments negative and positive but here's why the negative remarks do not bother me, through the years I've heard those same words horrible things, I've heard them all my life and reading them on a computer screen doesn't affect me like it would in person. I don't know who that person is hiding behind that computer screen, it could be a five year old or even a 30 year old who are angry at life but not doing anything. I consider the source of someone being online who want to better their lives by putting people down. It did hurt me and when I read the first comment ever received it hurt me and I locked myself away thinking if I could handle this because this was the start of it. At that point I couldn't let the past affect my future maybe not so much an outsider/outcast just misunderstood.

12. Can you tell me why you wanted to go for the goth appeal what was it about that style that drew you in and said this is for me?

Andrew: I can honestly say without any bullshit I was like an original goth kid without even knowing what it was and thought me as being weird, my mom had brought me up the right way. I remember my mom buying my family our first movie which was Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, a lot of Tim Burton movies, and horror movies at a young age and was horrified of and scared me to death. Eventually I would like the color black which is said to be not a color but it is in my mind. It was also my mom's favorite color but not for the same reasons as my own, I liked it and wore it because I thought it was dark and cool. I didn't know there was such thing as rock n' roll or metal music, I knew my dad listened to Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Pink Floyd, but in my mind I thought of it as just music not a genre. I remember in middle school when I was this girl dressed like a witch I thought so anyway, she had bleached blonde hair, black make-up, lipstick, eye shadow, black dress, she looked like the girls from the movie The Craft.

I was scared of her for a while thinking maybe she was a witch but after getting to know her and her friends we all watched and listened to the same movies and music. They then told me that the music we were listening to was rock n' roll music. Then I discovered Marilyn Manson and to me he was my idol, he was scary, screaming, throwing his middle finger up to society saying I don't need to be beautiful for you it's not my goal and I want to write music and have fun. I fooled around with different looks, the punk rock look, then evolved into goth outfits, big black pants covered in chains, t-shirts, bracelets, fingernails black, eyeliner, then everyone said I would grow out of it. I am now going on 22 and that all started when I was 12-13 so a pretty long phase to not grow out of don't you think? It's not because it's fun or Halloween it's my clothes it's who I am and how I like to dress.

13. Why the contact lenses? How many pairs and styles do you own and like to wear?

Andrew:  I remember having to beg my mom to buy me some she of course asked me why and I said for Halloween that was my lie and knew I would wear them to school and elsewhere. My first pair were those white one's with the black pupil so we went and bought them. We went home and I put them on scaring my sister then would go off wearing them elsewhere. I have this thing for fantasy more so cinematically not so much in literature but do enjoy it, I was a theater kid, loved movies liking movies with that dark fantasy vibe with that idea of transformation if I wanted to look like a Vampire I could dress up like it with nothing wrong with it. That was my first pair and experiences, then my next pair were these baby blue lenses, eventually they became my thing and everyone knew me as the guy with the eyes.  As to why it's simple it just looks cool. My natural eye color is brown if I wanted another color just pop those in. Right now I have 4 different pairs, the white outs where it's pure white and I am unable to see those used for photo shoots, then have a glowing pair that works under a black light, blue one's, gray one's  and the one's I wore during the show performances are all that I own.

14. During your performances on America's Got Talent you had sung “O Mio Babbino Caro”, "Zdes' khorosho" , “Ave Maria”, and a  Spanish operatic version of "Unbreak My Heart." Can you tell me why you wanted to sing these selections of songs?

Andrew: The first one for my audition was one called “O Mio Babbino Caro”, which is an aria from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini which was one of the first aria's I had ever heard and shortest that really caught my attention with its array of notes. That I decided to just go with that one due to me singing it so many times before as practice and favorites. The second one I sang and requesting for release was called "Zdes' khorosho" or "How fair is this spot" by Rachmaninov, I don't know why I choose that one to be honest, I think that was a poor choice because being so demanding, it's very smooth throughout and one part I want to say a high C and I've hit it before in the comfort of my own home not under pressure so when trying that note it sounded awful. I choose it because it was beautiful but fucked it up. Next they gave me a selection of songs choosing from the list or one of my own and one said "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton, I knew that song and jokingly asked why it was on here. They figured I could translate it into Spanish and take it into an operatic style which I did and was involved with creating which was great. The last song was “Ave Maria”, choosing it because I loved it and felt it was returning to what I was doing previously which was a classical operatic piece. I think I did pretty good but strange the critiques were based on my looks and not the song. The only thing that was said was I hit all the notes but what about the song itself? It was more on the looks and the training it seemed.

15. From there you went on to release your first set of singles "Ave Maria", and "My Release". Why did you see these two to be the ones you saw fit to be your leading singles?

Andrew: Those two were from my debut album "Black Lights". We first released "Ave Maria", because it was finished first, we didn't have any idea it was going to be such a big deal and success. The idea of me releasing an album everyone was excited and knew of it. So I had said to my producer we already have this song finished and ready to go, let's release it and have something for the people to listen too. Then what's funny is "My Release", was not going to be the second single it was going to be another song "This Is Me", which was a dance song, it sends a positive message and is fun and we wanted it to be that next single and then we wrote "My Release", for fun and after listening to it sounded raw and emotional having rock and opera mixing it altogether. I told him yes let's make it the next single and what we released.

16. Another song “Regresa A Mi’s” was that song intended to be another single or just another song everyone enjoyed but was never included on a release? Will we be seeing it released later on?

Andrew: What it is, is it is a beautiful song and is great but don't see it fitting anywhere. On top of it, I don't know if I have the rights to do a cover of it. We wanted to do it and put it on the first album but realized the sound of the song would be out of place not having anything to do with what I was saying. That album being what I was dealing with and the BS in-between.  This new album is more rock based and even some metal is in there, so we didn't see it to fit at all. Maybe in the future if I ever would to release a "Best Of" or "Greatest Hits" maybe then but I don't know and have no idea what will happen with that song's existence.

17. "Black Lights" and your holiday EP "Christmas Lights" followed being highly successful, do you feel the pressure is on for your next album?

Andrew: That's a good question but no. I think the pressure came from the first album because it was the one I could show people what I could do and who I was as a whole. When we released and people liked it maybe I do have something. Then everyone wanted a Christmas album but did the EP instead then released my top favorites from that and was fun to do. Now the new album is in the works and no pressure is on but is a different feeling from the first album. If I feel any type of pressure it's due to the context, the sound is different, lyrics are different, the music even my voice and subject matter as well. It's something you wouldn't want a 10-12 year old to listen too it's very intimate and sensational and romance, things a 10-12 year old would not understand. I have a band now and they inspire me and I them, just writing songs and only difference is we're having like 18-20 songs as opposed to the 12 we had on the previous album.  But overall I am not worried or have any pressure for this release.

18. Can you tell me a little about the new album, where are you in the process of it?

Andrew: We have about 6 songs prepared, the instrumentals and lyrics need to be written and recorded, I really wanted to show the darker side of me that people have yet to see. The album is called "Dark Tales" and theme behind it is me taking my childhood nightmares and fears from a youngster to making a bridge of those and fears today of where they connect involving a lot of sexuality and discover me artistically. We will be releasing a single and video to go with this release.  It's Alice In Wonderland meets heavy metal it's great and sounds awesome and I feel more feel making this one than the first time around.

19. Does the album have a title and how many songs will be on it and will there be a concept to go with it?

Andrew: The album will be called "Dark Tales" and will be 18-20 songs on it and It's more expressive and visuals everything I wanted to do will be put into this release and make a short film to go with it as well. Inspiring by horror movies it sounds like Deftones operatic style.

20. When can we expect the album to be released?

Andrew: We don't have a release date for the single or video yet but sometime in the fall or early winter. I am extremely excited about it and so is everyone else.

21. Besides the music, you're also a make-up artist, what made you want to get involved in that aspect? Anything new in the works you'd like to discuss?

Andrew: I was always the nerdy kid who would always look at the special features of a DVD, how they made it, see how the effects and makeup so into it. I bet I could do that too. I went out bought my first makeup kit that came with everything, began practicing on myself scare the shit out of my family too. I then started looking for work, taking jobs doing makeup for various films both big or small. Then the music thing happened and ever since then I have not been hired to do makeup work except for once in a while. The makeup effects will return with posters, artwork, videos, and music it's like my life in an album it's awesome.

22. Do you have any other projects in the works?

Andrew: I will be performing for these Halloween Vampire balls and just working on this album and promoting it, videos, and  getting it's short film titled "A Dark Tales short film" ready as well. Just writing and recording or at home relaxing or experiencing other life experiences to be inspired by and create from if not avoiding stalkers and yes I do have some so surpassing those is always good haha.

23. For those curious are you single?

Andrew: Yes I am very single and it's not because I don't want to date it's fun and I enjoy it, I don't know if I am ready for a commitment and have been in one before but now my main love is music and writing. But you never know. I can say I am engaged to Pretty Reckless singer Taylor Momsen she just does not know it yet.

24. How about for those thinking that you may be gay or bisexual are you?

Andrew: I definitely love women so yes I am straight but I can see people would say or ask that. I know who I am and comfortable with my sexuality and free to express it. I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I have respect for all sexuality if I was gay I would say it but I am not. Most of my friends are gay or bisexuals whatever it is, if something did happen then that's that it doesn't matter.

25. Do you have any plans in terms of playing shows or touring what else do you have in-store for this year?

Andrew: That's what I have been doing is take what I can get. I do plan to tour before this new album's release and try for a Texas tour and if all goes well, we will take it further than that. I know I want to tour and perform every night so we are working on it.

26. What should labels/zines/promoters know about you? Why should they be interested in it?

Andrew: It's a true passion and understanding that those are business' I am thinking about the next thing and dedicate myself to working hard and making sure my goals are reached. I think I am a unique person and having had my debut album sell out on its own is saying something.  Right now a lot of artists and bands are coming out but all sound and look the same way. I am not based on image but more about the music. The music is an expression of how and what I feel and don't think I am such a big risk to take. If they want to sign me or talk or promote me go ahead, I will take it in stride and ride the journey like a bet outa hell.

27. Where can we listen to you and where can we buy your stuff?

Andrew: You can find my debut album on all of the music stores iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon etc. As for merch we cut the connection off and will be running it on my own website with new items and a whole new website overhaul. You can also find me on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

28. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Andrew: I would like for them to remember the experience. I like to think of the music I make as an experience and each song is like a little movie and they each have a message of a experience I have experienced. I think the "it gets better" slogan isn't that because I don't if it will. I can say I have been there and done that and can share my experiences and hope you are strong enough to pull through. If it gets better it does and if it doesn't....  I fought through and made sure my passion and goals all stayed strong and was truly honest with who I am and you shouldn't be ashamed of who you are and what you want to do. Just go for it because I am and others are there for you wanting you to succeed in this thing called life.

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