Not quite a song, but a description of myself:
Hello, everybody … my name is Andrin Albrecht, I’m 23 years old, and I like art … (or some other equally awkward introduction. I think introductions have to be awkward by their very nature, so you can experience a new acquaintance at their very worst before you decide if you want to spend time with them).
There are a lot of things that I would like to be, but hardly any that I’ve managed to become yet – writer, musician, composer, painter, academic scholar, professional day dreamer, all of these are pretty dreams that keep me going, but I wouldn’t dare to call myself any of them yet. For now, I’m just some guy from Zurich, Switzerland, who has way too much creative drive for the little time that he gets to express it.
I was born in 1995 in a what in international terms would be called a tiny town in the mountains of Switzerland. It was small enough to be safe yet big enough to be inspiring to the boy I was, it had lovely teachers, enough shops to fulfill my every need, good train connections to the more interesting parts of the country and plenty of quiet spots to read in. If you went looking hard enough, you could even find lizards or the footprints of a badger, and what more could a child ask from his home town?
A lot of my childhood was thus spent exploring (reluctantly), learning (over-eagerly), playing with friends (occasionally) and reading (with a vengeance). I would take guitar lessons and, at about age 16, become actually serious about them, learned French and English at school as well as historical facts that usually bored the hell out of me because I already knew everything about them from books I had read, and spend a lot of time dreaming about what else life could have to offer that cannot be found in a Swiss mountainside town. I know that sounds abundantly normal, but when it comes to childhoods, I strongly believe that “normal” is a good thing.
Later on, I discarded my aspirations of studying electric guitar (it would’ve been bound to turn a hobby I enjoyed into remorseless competition), medicine (would’ve been bound to make me subordinate all the hobbies I enjoyed to remorseless competition) and mathematics (I can’t really explain why, maybe because of the image that would’ve propagated) and took to studying history, English literature and linguistics at the University of Zurich instead.
By that point I had already spent several weeks at host families in Edinburgh and Dublin, but my writing (and the majority of my thoughts, for that matter) were still exclusively in German. My English was decent, I felt, but it didn’t offer me the same kind of control over words that my mother language did, where I was familiar with pretty much every connotation, collocation and implication in existence. That only started to change when I spent half a year in Grand Junction, Colorado, as part of my Bachelor’s degree, and did not only immerse myself in a foreign language as entirely as I never had before, but also took a number of creative writing classes that showed me that I might in fact be able to express what my imagination came up with in another tongue than German.
Self-exploration, market calculation and probably a little bit of cultural appropriation, something like that … Use it as a chapter title for the past few years, if you like. There could be worse.
I am an admirer of a great many things, and if something caught my interest, I have always been thoroughly absorbed by it. It started off with Harry Potter novels, trading card games (of which I invented and designed dozens during my childhood), expanded over the entire fantasy genre, 80s melodic rock and the history of modern politics all the way to the current array: post-modernism and the theories of Julia Kristeeva, film scores, progressive rock and 20th centuries political ideologies, backpacking, modern art, fashion, the Vlogbrothers, cooking, Greek mythology, chaos theory and the exceptional storytelling of Christopher Nolan – to only name a few.