Musician has a calling from God

Tufnell Park singer-songwriter Andy Kyte on music and religion

SINGER-songwriter Andy Kyte has a very different story to your average rock artist – and the clich�s of sex, drugs and rock and roll certainly do not apply.

After leaving his home in Wimbledon at the age of 18, he crossed the Thames and arrived in Tufnell Park.

But the singer and guitarist, now 22, did not travel north to be near the epicentre of indie music that is Camden Town. He was on a mission from God – to help set up a new church.

Andy, who lives in Brecknock Road, Tufnell Park, said: “I grew up in a Christian family but, when I was 13, I really started believing for myself. When I was 18, a friend was going to set up a church and I felt God calling me to help him. I was not planning on going to university and I needed an adventure.”

Andy is now in charge of music at the church, which meets at the London Irish Centre, in Camden Square, Camden Town, and has seen it grow from a congregation of just 13 to about 170.

But he also harbours ambitions of mainstream success, with the likes of American indie stars The Strokes and Mercury Music Prize winners Elbow major influences.

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When he first started taking music seriously, he would gig at acoustic open mic nights with a percussionist, while making a living as a teaching assistant at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School, in Pratt Street, Camden Town.

He decided to go electric and form a band after reaching the final 50 of Channel 4’s Orange Unsigned Act, when he performed on TV to a panel including Blur bassist-turned-farmer Alex James and DJ and presenter Lauren Laverne.

He said: “Alex James said ‘You have got talent but you need a band’ and that spurred me on. A few months later I had the musicians I wanted. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a bland acoustic guitarist. Bands just sound a lot better!”

The group, with its unique instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and electric cello, has honed its sound with gigs across London, including Camden Town venues such as the Dublin Castle, in Parkway, and Proud Camden, in Stables Market. Latest single Your Time Has Come is released on February 7, and Andy hopes it will help them to get signed.

He added: “I gave up working full time to give more to my music. I felt, if I’m serious about it, then I need to put my money where my mouth is. Music is what I have a passion for and it’s what I feel called to do.”

l To hear some of Andy’s tunes visit Your Time Has Come will be released on iTunes on February 7.