Andrew Alford, a 21-year-old now living in Hartselle, grew up in Talladega until 1995 and attended Southside Baptist Church with his parents, Duane and Shonda Alford. His interest in music began at an early age.
“As long as I can remember I've had a connection to music,” Alford said. “I took vocal lessons at age 8 and started singing at church then. I never thought it would come this far though.”
Three years later, Alford began learning to play the acoustic guitar. Though the acoustic is his preferred instrument, he said he can also play the electric guitar.
At the age of 17, Alford started pursuing the idea of ministering through his music.
“I knew God was leading me into some type of ministry and soon after realized it was music,” he said. “I want to reach as many people as possible for the Kingdom and music is my avenue to do that. I try to write music that deals with everyday things that we go through in life.”
A graduate of Hope Christian School in Pelham, Alford started his musical endeavors as a solo artist and released his first solo album in December 2012. In June 2013, he linked up with future band members Patrick Jackson, Brandon Jackson, Kevin Breedlove and Austin Jones to form RANSOMED.
“The name RANSOMED comes from the (English Standard Version translation of) 1 Peter 1: 18-19, "We are all ransomed by the precious blood of Jesus,’” Alford said. “This is our message as a band. Our goal is to share the message of 1 Peter 1:18-19, being ransomed from the sins of this world through Jesus’ precious blood at Calvary. It has always been about the message with me. Music is just an outlet for us to get in front of teenagers and others to share with them our faith. It's all about Jesus.”
The band recently performed at Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta Fest, capitalizing on two large opportunities to spread God’s message.
“These were the first festivals for us (because) we primarily sang at churches and coffee shops,” Alford said. “When we first found out we were performing at Riverbend, I was excited beyond belief. But soon after, when it really set in that we were doing the event, a little fear crept in. As soon as we walked on the stage God took the fear away and we had a blast.
“Riverbend usually has around 30,000 for the main acts, but when you are one of the opening acts, the numbers are much smaller,” Alford said. “There were probably 1,500 walking around at Riverbend when we performed and maybe 200 at Atlanta. We have been blessed to perform for some great people and the encouragement we received keeps us going. I think everyone sees that we are sincere about what we are doing.”
The show of support from Alford’s family helps play a role in his cause as they attend all his events and his sister, Allyson, serves as the band’s photographer.
“We have spent many hours helping them line up events, studio time and designing his website, www.theransomed.com,” Duane Alford said. “We handle most of the business end of the band while Andrew focuses on the writing and the music. It's a blessing for us to be a part of his ministry. You can go to his website and see all about the band and his events. They are a great group of guys.
“It's been amazing to see how God has worked in his life and we are very proud of what he has accomplished through his music,” he added. “I believe that too much of today's Christian music sounds like secular music. But you will never get that from Andrew's music. It is always Christ-centered. God continues to bless in his ministry, opening up doors every step of the way.”
One of the doors opened might include a recording contract.
“I am currently working on my second release that should be available in November 2013,” Alford said. “The record label Tate Music Group in Mustang, Okla., wants me to sign a record deal with them now. We are praying about it and most likely will sign this week unless God has other plans.”
Alford currently attends church at Central Baptist Church in Decatur. He’s been active there for more than three years.
“I currently lead the worship music for the Genesis Service at 6 p.m. on Sundays,” he said. “It's a 20s to 30s age group service. Rob Jackson is the pastor at Central, and it's been a great blessing learning and growing as a Christian under his ministry. (The church) has been very supportive of my efforts, and I am very blessed to be a part of a church that is growing and alive. As an artist, it helps me stay grounded in my faith and keeps me focused on the goal at hand — ministry.”
Even as the eyes of the audience look on at the talent his band puts on display every time they set foot on a stage, Alford always remembers to give credit where he said he believes it to be due.
“I always try to make sure that we keep the focus on God and not us,” he said. “We want God to get all the Glory — we are just the humble messenger. At the end of the day, it's really all about reaching people.”
To listen to his music, visit www.reverbnation.com/andrewalford. follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/andrew.alford.121 or like the band’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Ransomed/200596853409064.