For Andrea Wallace, aka "SuperDre," it’s very important that you know she’s not just one thing. Because after over 15 years of building her music career, working in tech, and investing in and creating a handful of business ventures, her identity is complex. And she’s okay with that.
For Wallace, this variety of ventures can be broken down into two large categories: musical and professional. “To be honest, most people probably didn’t know I had one or the other,” she says. “I tried to keep the two separate for a really long time.” But when she moved to Detroit in 2014 and soon found a photo of herself DJ’ing a music festival on the front page of the Detroit Free Press, her two worlds had clearly and irrevocably merged, and she embraced it.
How she finds herself back in her home town of Grand Rapids after touring the country for years is a story of personal and professional exploration complete with full-time jobs, side gigs, and a lot of self-taught skills. And for Wallace, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Obviously I’ve been doing music the longest,” she says, remembering picking up her first instruments in elementary school. But it wasn’t until college, when she was studying business with a focus in marketing at Grand Valley State University, that she began to foster the business side of her music life.
“Music was really my first entrepreneurial pursuit,” says Wallace, who had her first breakout concert opening for a few national acts in GR in 2003 before signing with a West Coast management agency. Then, between 2003 and 2012, she DJ’d with groups all over the country, including opening for Bassnectar on a six-month tour. “I was traveling all over the place,” she says.
Wallace at the time also held down a full-time, sometimes remote position with Spectrum Health as a project manager for their software engineering team; a digital consultant for web, mobile, and social media; and most recently a manager for their web team. During this time, she fostered a set of coding and project management skills that piqued her interest in tech.
Then in 2013, she decided it was time for something new. “GR can be hard when you are one of the only people who looks like you doing a certain thing,” says Wallace. “There’s just a lot of pressure here … I had just gotten a little exhausted.”
Moving first to LA and then to Detroit, Wallace tested both the musical and professional waters as she continued to work in tech while also DJ'ing and touring.
“Detroit was an easy move,” says Wallace, who is a born-and-raised Michigander originally from South Haven. It was there, on the state’s east side, that she dipped her toe into the entrepreneurial tech and startup space, and got a taste for investment in innovation. All the while, she planned her return to GR, which she completed in late 2018.
Back in the river city, Wallace continues to maintain a busy schedule that blends her creative pursuits with business and financial ones, stressing that in order to invest in local startups, “You don’t need to know everything about everything. You need to know enough.” For the time being, she continues to DJ, is working to launch a musician's tech platform called Fourtifeye, will co-chair the Midwest UX Grand Rapids in the fall, works full time for healthcare holding company Emergent Holdings, and is co-owner of newly launched spirits company Motu Viget.
“I can do three things very well…more than that starts to get hard,” jokes Wallace, who continues to expand her talents and her interests in multiple directions.
So where will SuperDre’s fans find her next? Maybe as Wallace, behind a desk deciding on her next investment. Or maybe, just maybe, spinning some sick beats at a local music festival.