Biography - ANDY MADADIAN “ANDY”
Andy Madadian’s immense musical talent, humanitarian efforts and diverse background have culminated in a remarkable entertainment career spanning 30 years, during which he has become a beloved icon around the world. Nicknamed the “Persian Bono” and “Iranian Elvis,” the Iranian-Armenian American musician has toured extensively around the globe many times over playing some of the world’s most prestigious venues, theatres, and stadiums and has sold millions of albums in the process.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Andy’s family came from humble beginnings. He grew up with nine people living in a small one-room house. But their house was filled with love, laughter, and most importantly for Andy, music.
As Andy was beginning to explore his musical roots, his native land entered into a turbulent period that led to a civil war. He made the decision to leave Iran, and moved to California with a student visa to play soccer for Cal State University LA. Despite starting from zero with no support network or place to live, Andy managed to make a life for himself in Los Angeles. He attended classes during the day and found work playing guitar at local clubs at night. From college, he auditioned for an American band, and went on tour with them around the US. Andy then formed the musical duo Andy and Kouros with fellow musician Kouros Shamiri. The duo released four albums together before embarking on their respective solo careers.
Andy is credited for creating a new fusion of sound that combines the music of his Iranian-Armenian heritage with African rhythms, Spanish flamenco guitar licks, and Western dance music. His global, exotic sound reflects his international roots and experiences which have allowed him to connect with millions of people around the world. Besides Farsi and Armenian, his two native languages, he also sings in English and Spanish, among others. Andy’s music is banned in his own country of Iran, but his albums sell in the millions. However, all sales are bootlegged and done through underground channels. Consequently, the music’s popularity does not result in financial profit.
Andy has been awarded and recognized not only for his musical contributions to the international community, but for his humanitarian efforts. He recorded the song “Stand by Me” with Jon Bon Jovi to show solidarity and bring awareness for the people of Iran, garnering over 8 million hits on YouTube. In addition to high profile musical collaborations with Jon Bon Jovi, La Toya Jackson, and others, he has contributed musically and as an actor to films including The House of Sand and Fog, The Keeper, and Guardian Angel, as well as indie films.
Whether Andy is performing and producing music or acting, he is a trailblazer forging a new path that redefines traditional musical borders. He continues to play to sold-out venues all over the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Russia and the Middle East. His touring schedule regularly includes countries that American based artists rarely (if ever) perform in, including Armenia, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, and cities such as Tashkent, Samarghand among others, all the while spreading his universal message of love and joy.
In the United States, he has played for the last ten years to critical acclaim at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, as well as the prestigious Dolby (Kodak) Theatre in Hollywood and large scale venues in Las Vegas. He has won several awards over the course of his 30 year career, including the Icon Award and Best Duet with La Toya Jackson from the Big Apple Music Awards, the Concord Award from Moscow in 2014, The Voice of America (Persian News Program) award for Best Artist of the Year, the FOG (Festival of Globe) Award for Legendary Artist and Excellence in Music in San Jose, CA, and several awards from AMFA. He is the first Iranian/Armenian singer that was invited to the White House.
A true humanitarian, Andy has contributed to many international charitable causes during the span of his career. He is an Officer of Voices Out, a (pending) 501(c)3 non profit organization founded by his wife, Shani Rigsbee, a fellow singer/songwriter and film producer. Voices Out’s mission is to provide a voice and aid children and animals in neglectful, abusive and abandoned conditions both in the US and abroad. He was recognized twice by the mayor and City of LA for his continued efforts to contribute his time and talent for the overall welfare of the city. He helped organize “We Hear Your Voice,” a humanitarian song and video that promotes world peace and unity, with proceeds benefiting international children’s charities (produced by his wife Shani). He has donated countless hours and performances for fundraisers to help build medical clinics and to support medical facilities around the world. Due to his international popularity and philanthropic reputation, Andy was invited to perform at the One World Peace Concert with Hjs Holiness the Dalai Lama and other musical artists in 2012. The concert was a celebration of music, peace, and common ground.
Today, Andy is the living proof of the American dream. A long time resident of Los Angeles, the city’s diversity and rich culture have helped to continue to fuel his unique sound that has catapulted him to international superstardom. Andy’s songs may be a break from tradition, but young and old alike, from east to west, continue to pack his concerts and buy his albums.
-The first Iranian/Armenian singer invited to the White House
-2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from NECO (National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations)
List of Contributions to the Community and Civic Oriented Participation:
A true humanitarian, Andy has appeared and contributed to many international charitable causes during the span of his career, including:
-Andy is an Officer of Voices Out, a (pending) 501(c)3 non profit organization founded by his wife. Voices Out’s mission is to provide a voice and aid children and animals in neglectful, abusive and abandoned conditions both in the US and abroad. He has traveled to Armenia to assist rescue missions for animal sanctuaries and spends time in LA helping dogs find their forever homes. The organization also financially helps Syrian refugees in Armenia.
-He has performed countless concerts gratis for the City of Los Angeles for various fundraisers with the goal of unifying people of various religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds including the Jewish community, Armenian community, the LAPD, etc. His continued efforts to contribute his time and talent for the overall welfare of the city were recognized and awarded twice by Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles.
-He recorded the song “Stand by Me” with Jon Bon Jovi to show solidarity and bring awareness for the people of Iran, garnering over 8 million hits on YouTube.
-He helped organize “We Hear Your Voice”, a humanitarian song and video that promotes world peace and unity, with proceeds benefiting international children’s charities (produced by his wife Shani Rigsbee). “We Hear Your Voice” included the participation of 11 notable musician superstars from 11 different countries who all came together with the goal of spreading hope and love throughout the world.
-He performed at the One World Peace Concert with the Dalai Lama and other high profile musical artists in 2012 to promote international peace.
-He recorded a humanitarian song, “Bi Sabah El Alf El Talet,” with Lebanese singer Mayssa Karaa and performed at the historical MasterPeace Concert in Amsterdam.
-He has visited the UCLA cancer ward, using his talent, warmth, and love to bring happiness to those in need.
-He has traveled to the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston,Texas to visit children with cancer.
-He has donated countless hours and performances for fundraisers to help build medical clinics and to support medical facilities around the world, including in Afghanistan, for those without access to quality medical care.
-A vegetarian for 20 years, he has been an active advocate for animal welfare and health.