ERNIE ANDREWS was born Christmas Day in Philadelphia, and his early years were spent in his mother’s Baptist Church. In his early teens, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he studied drums at Jefferson High School and continued singing.
He was discovered by songwriter Joe Greene in 1947, when he won an amateur show at the Lincoln Theatre on Central Avenue in Los Angeles. Greene was so impressed that he immediately took Andrews into the studio to record at age 17. With a 300,000-seller hit, “Soothe Me” with “Wrap It Up And Put It Away” on the flip side, Andrews became a singer to be reckoned with. In 1969, Baltimore became home base for Andrews, where he worked the East Coast and the Midwest, again scoring big with his hit record of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” In 1974, he returned to Los Angeles, where he resided with his wife of 50 years, Dolores, who recently passed away. But Ernie continues on, sharing the lives of his five children and grandchildren. Several years ago Andrews returned to the scene of his prime – the Gaiety Club across from the Lincoln Theatre – as his life was being profiled in an award-winning documentary, Ernie Andrews’ Blues on Central Avenue, directed by Lois Shelton.
Ernie continues to play clubs, concerts, and jazz festivals throughout the world, and often performs in Las Vegas. In 1989, he recorded Live at Town Hall NYC (Concord) with Gene Harris and the Philip Morris Superband, and subsequently toured with the band for three months, covering five continents. Engagements followed in 1991 and 1992 with Ray Brown at the Blue Note. In 1993, 1994, and 1996 he performed in concert at club venues all over the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and throughout the United States, Canada, and South America. He performed with his own small group at the WBGO Annual New Year’s Eve, which was broadcast on National Public Radio. After a two-hour stint with his own quartet – featuring Aaron Graves on piano, Frank Wes on bass, and Kenny Washington on drums – Ernie then tore the house apart with a big band including the Heath Brothers, led by Jimmy Heath.
A four-page discography includes 20+ albums, such as This Is Ernie Andrews and Soul Proprietor, Travelin’ Light with arrangements by Benny Carter, Gerald Wiggins, and John Anderson; From The Heart; and his recent releases No Regrets, The Great City, and Girl Talk.