The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday September 18th

Self-Taught Musician Promotes Dancing Barefoot

If there's something strangely familiar about Kuncl's name (pronounced Cun-cell. "It's like pencil ... sorta," he explained) it's because you've undoubtedly seen it on countless fliers and posters around town.

"There's definitely a part of me who would love to be famous, but performing is what I love most," he said. "Being able to tour and support myself would be great." Kuncl is at his best while performing -- his peculiar mix of soul, folk, funk and pop result in a unique sound whose catchy hooks have a knack of sticking in your head.

And he seems to have too much energy for one person, as Kuncl's bare feet never stop moving. When playing the guitar, they seem to move independent of his body as his upper half remains comparatively stagnant.

When his arms aren't passionately beating his guitar, he acts as if singing alone is not enough to occupy him. Without a guitar to focus his energy, Kuncl often seems to be simultaneously singing and interpretively dancing. This creates a strange dichotomy of a sultry, soulful sound and an 'NSync-inspired dance number.

Kuncl's one of those people who makes you feel like a slacker regardless of your work ethic. After an Ani DiFranco show his sophomore year at Miami University in Ohio, he promptly taught himself to play the guitar and started performing at open mic nights.

Four years after first picking up a guitar, he has almost single-handedly guided himself to the brink of success by singing, writing, producing, booking and advertising himself. He also did the cover art for his CD.

Though primarily influenced by DiFranco, Kuncl's subject matter is more similar to another one of his influences, Patty Larkin. Though he respects the opportunity the stage allows him for voicing his political ideals, "being political just isn't natural for me. I'm much more comfortable being introspective," he said.

It wasn't long before Kuncl graduated from open mic to opening act. "My first real show was actually opening for Taz Halloween at the Cave while I was on Spring Break or something," he said. Kuncl then headed back to Ohio to finish his degree in geology. When he returned to Chapel Hill, he self-promoted with a vengeance.

"When I came back to town, I just wanted to play as much as I could. Just get my name out there and get name recognition," he said.

It seems to be working. Kuncl has played just about every venue, large or small, in town and is slowly gathering a devout following. Here in Chapel Hill, most of fans discovered him through his live performances, but his evolving sound in the studio suggests that that may change soon.

Though energy is not in short supply, it sounds as if Andy is eager to focus more on the songwriting and arrangement than production.

Though his career is still in its infancy, Kuncl already has at least two idiosyncrasies that set him apart. The first is that he staunchly refuses to wear shoes while performing; the second is that he's a folk singer/songwriter with a Backstreet Boys mentality.

The happy conclusion to both of these unusual characteristics is that Andy is currently talking with and being helped by the manager for O-Town so with any luck, he'll be singing and dancing (barefoot) for years to come.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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