Andy Abad

Adjunct Instructor

  • Program:
    Popular Music
  • Division:
    Contemporary Music
  • Instrument:


Versatile guitarist Andy Abad is best known for his passionate guitar artistry while on tour with Clay Aiken, Marc Anthony and the Backstreet Boys, as well as his equally impressive recording style (with Bonnie Raitt, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin). Yet the coming together of his musical talent, experience, and style, has been many years in the making for this gifted musician who is currently Clay Aiken’s musical director.

Abad plays acoustic, electric, African, Spanish and tres guitars, among others, but his musical training began with the accordion at age 10. At the age of 13, he took up the guitar. He later studied at the prestigious University of Southern California Thornton School of Music where he earned a bachelor’s and masters degrees in music. He even taught at the university while earning his degree.

While still in college, Abad was part of Grammy winning Jazz group Shadowfax. He later played the tres, African, and electric guitars with World Music artists Sam Mangwana and Ricardo Lemvo.

His first big break in terms of International exposure came in 1999 when he was chosen to tour with Anthony. With the artist, Abad played acoustic, electric and tres guitar and was part of his Pop and Salsa bands. In 1999, 2000 and 2002 he toured the U.S. and Latin America with Anthony and performed on numerous television programs, including: Saturday Night Live, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Today Show, Good Morning America, Rosie O’Donnell Show, The View, 2000 Grammy Awards, 2000, 2001, 2002 Latin Billboard Awards, 2000 Blockbuster Awards, “Marc Anthony: The Concert, Live from Madison Square Garden” HBO Special, and the “Marc Anthony I’ve Got You” CBS Concert Special, where he was a featured soloist.

In November of 2000, the guitarist was the musical director for Oscar De La Hoya’s debut singing performance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

In 2001, Abad toured the United States, Canada, Asia, and Latin America with the Backstreet Boys for 11 months. He played with the group in numerous television appearances, including the Today Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View, CBS This Morning, Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards, MTV Concert Special, and a CBS Live Concert Special, where he was a featured soloist.

That same year, Abad took a break from touring to record with one of his heroes, Bonnie Raitt, on an inspiring African tune “Hear Me Lord” for her album Silver Lining. A Billboard magazine review of the album lauded the guitarist’s work on the song, describing it as, “Blazing guitar work by Andy Abad”.

In 2001, he also recorded on two Marc Anthony albums; his Grammy-nominated Salsa album, Libre, and his Pop album, Mended. He had the pleasure of also performing the songs live on Anthony’s 2002 concert and promotional tours.

In 2003, Abad performed with multiplatinum artist Clay Aiken on all his album promotional appearances, including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America, The View, CBS This Morning, the Ellen Show, MTV’s TRL, MTV’s New Year’s Eve special, American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, and Sessions on AOL, among others. He also performed with Jewel on the 2003 Radio Music Awards.

The guitarist spent 2004 touring the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe with JC Chasez, American Idol 2, and Robi (Draco) Rosa. At the end of 2004, he once again toured with Aiken on his Joyful Noise tour. That was followed by Aiken’s 2005 Jukebox tour. By the end of 2005, Abad was asked to be the musical director for Aiken and the Joyful Noise 2 tour. That same year, Andy also served as musical director for R&B artist Frankie J’s album promotion, appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Abad’s recording credits include Bonnie Raitt’s Silver Lining (Capitol), Marc Anthony’s Libre (Columbia/Sony Discos) and Mended (Columbia), Ricky Martin’s Grammy Award winning album Vuelve (Sony Discos); World Music group Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca’s album Sao Salvador (Putumayo); Las Ketchup’s Asereje/Salsa version (Sony Discos); Jazz group Shadowfax’s albums Magic Theatre and Shadowfax Live; and the scores for UPN-TV series Roswell and Adam Sandler’s movie Happy Gilmore. He recorded the music for commercials for Honda Motors, Cuervo Tequila, Kellogg’s, Washington Mutual, Nabisco, and Bank of America, among others. He has also recently composed and produced music for Nickelodeon’s Go Diego Go.