Andrew W.K.

With unparalleled musicianship and a positive message, Andrew W.K. took upon himself the seemingly absurd character of a party-punk to produce some of the most innovative and captivating music of the 2000s. W.K. was born in California in 1979 but raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his father was a law professor. He began playing piano at age four and continued through his high school years at the alternative Community High School. In 1993 he joined his first band, Slam, and by 1996, "Mr. Surprise," included on the local music compilation  Plant the Flower Seeds, had become his first publically released song. In Michigan, he played with a series of punk and metal bands before forming Ancient Art of Boar. He moved to New York in 1998, disbanded Ancient Art of Boar, and embarked on a solo project. He released a single on Hanson Records, "Room to Breathe," before moving to Florida the following year to form a band with Donald Tardy.

The year 2000 saw the release of his first EP,  Girls Own Juice, which attracted attention immediately for its hedonistic content and sonics that provided proof of the music's intelligent foundations. His first full-length album,  I Get Wet, was released the following year. The album's lead single, "Party Hard," became a radio hit and, with its simple but compelling video, established the basic formula that Andrew W.K. would alter in coming years. He returned to the studio and emerged in 2003 with  The Wolf, on which he played the instruments himself and overdubbed them, as opposed to his debut's live-band style.

The planned 2006 global release of  Close Calls with Brick Walls was delayed due to legal problems surrounding the ownership of his image. Though it was released in Japan that year, it would not see global distribution until 2010. W.K. developed a substantial following in Japan, bolstered by 2008's  The Japan Covers collection of J-pop songs and 2009's Gundam Rock. In 2009, W.K. started his own label, Skyscraper Music Maker, and began releasing albums and mixtapes outside limiting legal constraints. During this period, W.K. developed himself into a motivational speaker, incorporated "happenings" into his stage shows, wrote advice columns for multiple media outlets, and brought his philosophical approach to partying to university campuses and fan conventions across the globe. W.K.'s fifth studio release, 2018's  You're Not Alone, spoke to the amalgam of partying and positive thinking that he has adopted as a primary part of his musical persona.