By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
Andrew Goldstein is a teenage music machine whose “how I spent my summer” essay will feature the production of his first album: Three Stars in the Sky.
Until June 29, Andrew is hosting a Jewcer.com campaign, hoping to make his dream a reality.
“I love music because it’s my Zen. I pick up my instrument and become happy,” said Andrew, who’s been featured on Jewish Rock Radio. “God is different for everyone as is the way we experience Him. Some pray to become closer to God. For me, music and Judaism are almost the same and music’s my pathway. Doing what I love, while helping others do something they love, is a unique blessing. I’m thankful I’ve found a way to lead, and be led, simultaneously.”
Andrew, 13, who started beat boxing at 7, playing guitar at 9 and wrote his first song — a Mi Chamocha setting — at 10, is the son of Dana and Jonathan and brother of Micah. A Los Angeles native and now McKinney resident, he’s a rising eighth-grader at Imagine International Academy of North Texas.
“As a baby, music calmed Andrew when he fussed and as he’s grown, so has his love for music. I’m amazed by his ability to hear music and then teach himself to play it,” said Dana. “He loves being Jewish and takes pride in all that comes with it. Watching him fills my heart and all I can do is smile.”
Andrew joins his father and Lori Spinhirne as soloists at Adat Chaverim and occasionally at The Legacy Willow Bend. Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, California is Andrew’s “summer home”; he is a third-generation camper. His “happy place,” also where his parents met, was the impetus for the song, called just that — Happy Place.
“Our congregation and our Jewish Community is lucky to have Andrew’s family as active and dedicated as they are. While music is Andrew’s expression, Judaism is his soul,” said Adat Chaverim’s Rabbi Benjamin Sternman. “He’s an absolute joy, always pushing for more. Given the opportunity, post-bar mitzvah, to study Torah with me, rather than in Hebrew class, Andrew does so wanting to learn more about Torah and its meaning.”
Andrew’s father, who’s written settings for prayers including Y’hiyu L’ratzon and Ein K’eloheinu, has set the bar. “I’m inspired by my dad and I want to be like him,” Andrew said. “I love the energy he creates and I’m so glad to have him to sing with, play with and look up to. I don’t know what I’d be or do without him.”
When Jonathan first brought Andrew to Rick Recht’s Songleader Bootcamp (SLBC), the 11-year-old took the stage. “The theater grew intensely quiet and Andrew started playing. There were some flaws in it but it didn’t matter. This amazing holy community saw the future and they erupted when he finished, rewarding his bravery, also seeing into his neshama,” said Jonathan. “We’ve channeled our Judaic passion so that if our kids join, it’s their choice. When Andrew pursues music with Jewish context, it’s special because it’s his choice, he enjoys it and he wants to share his passion with the world.”
Andrew’s musical heroes include Sheldon Low, Mikey Pauker, Recht, Josh Warshowsky, and Dallas’ own Josh Goldberg, whom he chose to produce his album, amazed by his energy and his own path.
“It takes a lot of trust to put your work in another’s hands. I don’t take that lightly. My goal is to bring his beautiful and thoughtful settings to life in a fresh way,” said Goldberg. Following the protégé, impressed by his musicality, songwriting and stage presence, Goldberg invited Andrew to perform at his own Jewcer campaign concert. “He blew everyone away. No one expected that voice to come from this ‘pint-sized kid!’ He’s mature and a mensch. Andrew’s music will inspire and invigorate Jewish communities worldwide and I’m excited to be part of this major milestone so early in his career.”
Donors to the Jewcer campaign, a 501(c)(3), will receive gifts including a Shabbat for Andrew to share his voice, thanks on the CDs liner notes, pre-release access and signed copies of the CD, a digital songbook, updates, photos and videos throughout the project, and, said Andrew, “my eternal gratitude for supporting me.”
Titled Three Stars in the Sky, signaling the end of Shabbat, with hopes of keeping spirits high until it arrives again, the CD includes Shalom Aleichem, Shema, Mi Chamocha, Hashkiveinu, Oseh Shalom and Y’hiyu L’ratzon.
“I’ve always been around music and Judaism,” said Andrew, also talented on the cajón, a Peruvian percussion instrument, piano and drums. “The reason behind my feeling in prayer is the inspiration from artists I respect and the fact that, in everything that I do, I put forth effort. Even though music comes easy to me, I pour my heart and soul because it shows who I am and what I stand for.”
A technology buff when he’s not making music, Andrew appreciates the community’s support of his project — saying that “it’s a huge blessing for everyone who is helping me share my passion.”
To support Three Stars in the Sky, go to jewcer.org/project/andrewgoldstein/. For information about Andrew’s music and more, visit andrewgoldsteinmusic.com/.