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Andrea Szirbik describes her music as "folk with a twist." This Dover-based singer songwriter frolics through country, pop, bluegrass and rock, her lilting vocals offering up naked-hearted, sultry, sometimes downright silly lyrics that reveal with glassy vulnerability her path through life and love. Her original compositions feature Szirbik on vocals with guitar, ukulele, piano or banjo, at times flying solo, but often accompanied by at least one bearded fellow (most likely Matt Young). This beardedness, of course, led to a newer live project. Andrea Szirbik and the Bearded  (including but not limited to Matt Young, Greg Rothwell, Joseph K Murphy and Dan Murphy) has an upbeat folk-rock-americana (yes, danceable!) vibe. Szirbik has released two albums in under two years-- I am here (2011) and who i am (2012)-- and was nominated for two 2011 Spotlight Awards. Chris Hislop of The Spotlight writes "The music infiltrates your brain and you'll want to listen again in the spirit of paying closer attention to the stories she weaves with such grace throughout her songs."
Szirbik has been involved with music in many forms since she was old enough to talk. She holds vivid memories of recording children's songs on a tape recorder to send to her grandmother and in fourth grade she wrote her first full-length song titled "4 Us," which she composed on a small Casio keyboard. (It would, of course, be many years later that she would begin composing regularly, and on full-sized instruments!) During her teenage years her focus would turn toward choirs, choruses and musical theater, including three years in the NH All-State Chorus and leading roles in West Side Story, Oklahoma and Little Shop of Horrors.
Songwriting and recording:
Szirbik began playing the guitar in 2000 and by 2001 was feeling original compositions pulsing through her veins. For Szirbik, songwriting is not a choice but a necessity. Each song is simply a physical expression of overwhelming emotions. "My first songs," Szirbik tells us "were basically a therapy session set to music. I started writing because I was reaching this point where my emotions were really fierce and I wasn't in control of them. My first songs were mostly sad or angry. Once and awhile they are still, but mostly they're happy. I think I have my songwriting therapy to thank for that."
Although she spent years composing and performing her original music in Central NH and on the Seacoast, it was not until 2011 that Szirbik recorded any of it. She had originally set out to record her debut album with her cousin, a fellow songwriter. When her cousin died unexpectedly at the age of 30, Szirbik knew that she needed to complete a project in his honor. She accomplished this by participating in the RPM Challenge, which challenges musicians to record an entire album of original music during the month of February. Szirbik recorded the album during these 28 days, but returned to the project after February to re-mix and master the tracks. Her debut album " I am here" is a collection of eleven original folk-based songs. In response to "I am here," Matt Kanner of The Wire writes "She sings with understated emotion, bestowing her simple, acoustic folk melodies with the power to linger in your psyche for hours."
Much like "I am here," Szirbik's sophomore album "who i am" began as an RPM Challenge album...that didn't stop after 28 days. Recognizing that her style had expanded considerably following the completion of her debut album, Szirbik's goal with "who i am" was to show her range of styles and themes, all the while offering up a complex portrait of self identity. Although Szirbik maintains her simple, folky style on a couple of tunes, particularly the title song, much of the album explores other genres, notably country, bluegrass and rock. The album also showcases two Spanish tracks. Szirbik dedicated her sophomore album to her daughter, Amari, because "everywhere she steps turns to smiles." Chris Hislop writes, "A noticeable difference in her progression as a songwriter is the styles that interchange from track to track. She's letting us know she's far from a one-dimensional folkie...If her music is any indication of what she brings to her day-to-day life — who Andrea Szirbik is, is mighty fine."
Andrea Szirbik has played her original compositions in many Seacoast venues--such as the Barley Pub, the Blue Mermaid, the Press Room and the Music Hall Loft-- and has recently began to venture outside of her comfy NH base to surrounding states. She has played in outdoor music series in Portsmouth and Manchester and also performs regularly at farmers markets and other outdoor events. Previous market performances include Newburyport, MA, Newmarket, Salem, Derry, Bedford, Wentworth Greenhouse, Rye, Nashua and Dover, NH.