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The Hustle

Name: Andē

A rigorous conservatory training in percussion, a passionate voice, and an exciting online presence - Andē Tafelski is combining these elements to create a memorable musical experience. Most people don't know what her instrument is until they see it, and even when they see it, they think it's a big xylophone. Tafelski wants to make sure that you know what the marimba is. Whether it's the marimba, the drum set or just a single drum, Tafelski is at home as long as there's a pair of sticks and something to play them with. She works as hard to promote her work as she does making the music, and she's building a formidable career as an artist from right here in St. Pete.

Years in St. Pete

18

Hustle (job)

Percussionist, singer/songwriter

What do you do?  

I am a classically trained percussionist that utilizes the techniques and methods taught at the music conservatory to put on rock-like performances with a band that explores the aural possibilities of putting percussion in the forefront.

Why do you do it?

I got my first drum set when I was 8, and I haven’t stopped playing since then. I was inspired by drummers like John Bonham and Ringo Starr as a kid, and they drove me to keep trying to find my own sound because they had such unique playing styles. This goal of finding a sound that is uniquely my own, and could be picked out from a pile of music, is what got me started and keeps me going with all I've got.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

The moment that really stands out in my mind the most is when I joined my first band in high school. We got to play so many different venues and for different types of crowds. It was so exhilarating to feel the energy of a crowd and be a part of a performing experience like that with the other band mates on stage. I became fixated on making sure that I was able to do that for the rest of my life. The energy from a good audience is something I just can’t get enough of.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

I’d say that 99 percent of the people that come to a show of mine walk in having no idea what a marimba is. They’ll call it a vibraphone a xylophone or anything but what it actually is. They want to instantly come up and feel the instrument and figure out how this giant eight-foot long piece can produce such a warm and beautiful tone. I love that I get to introduce so many people to the marimba for the first time through my music.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

There are so many challenges but I’d say that moving equipment around to shows is the biggest one right now. Proper mic placement for percussion is very tricky, and it takes about an hour to get all of my equipment broken down and into a car. I’m working hard right now on streamlining everything so that it’s not as time consuming! But ideally I’d have a marimba at every show which is almost impossible at this point.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

You have to spend the same amount of time on social media and promoting as you do on your own music. Coming to terms with this was hard at first, but instilling this advice has been invaluable to my career.

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