Music wasn’t the path Andy Stokes thought his life would take. “Music wasn’t my first choice in life. I was a jock, a football player, and I wanted to play pro football.“ Born in Danville Virigina, Andy’s “all-army jock” family moved between the US and Germany and finally settled in Tacoma Washington. A football scholarship brought him to Oregon where he was a star tailback at Mt. Hood College and the University of Oregon.
Although it wasn’t a focus back then, there was plenty of music in the house. “I always sang. I sang around the house with dad—did my little broomstick thing, standing in front of the hi-fi, pretending that was my band. My Dad had everybody from Percy Sledge to Stevie Wonder and I would just sing—that’s how I got into singing.” Later Andy entertained his college teammates “I would sing on the bus, it was a way to calm our nerves before a big game.”
After football, a chance encounter at a popular nightspot in Portland led to a regular gig, which led to the offer of a position singing lead for a band. It was 1983 and that band was the legendary funk band Cool’R. Cool’R went on to be voted top R&B band with Andy as Top Male Vocalist, by The Skanner Music Awards and in 1989 they were signed, by Herb Alpert, to A&M Records. The single ‘victim’, written by Phil Baker (Pink Martini) and Stokes was released the same year. In 1993 Andy released a solo single entitled ‘Test of Time’, and his first solo CD ‘About Time’ was released in 1995. Followed by ‘Tell me what you like” which was released in 2001 and two live CD’s that were released in 2002 and 2010. Andy was also the voice of the California Raisins.
With this experience and rich musical journey comes honors & awards. Andy’s many awards include Top Male Vocalist, Song of the Year, Top R&B Band, and first place in the Battle of the Bands in Seattle Washington. In 2005 Andy Stokes was awarded a Muddy Award (Named in honor of Muddy Waters) for ‘Performance of the Year’ for a performance with the Ray Charles Tribute Band at the Portland Blues Festival. He has also received an Independent Publishing Award, The Moonbeam Award and the Oregon Book Award for his work as the Lead Vocalist on “One Night in Frogtown”, a children’s musical/book/CD. The City of Portland awarded Andy Stokes for his 30 years of ‘invaluable contribution’ to music in the region and in 2009 Andy was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. Top Male Vocalist and Top R&B Act in 2015, 2016, and 2017 as well as inductee to the Music Hall of Fame at the Muddy Awards, are among his latest accomplishments.
You can also catch Andy Stokes on several episodes of the NBC occult detective drama Grimm and more recently in a recurring role on the TLC fantasy-adventure series The Librarians.