Andrew Bird is from the North Shore area of Chicago (Lake Forest), and that's where he learned to play the violin. He was a Suzuki student beginning at age four. In 1996, Bird graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in violin performance. He soon began recording, including three albums with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers and three more with his own group, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire. At this point, Bird is well into a successful solo career, with many quirky and intriguing albums to his credit. The latest is Are You Serious, featuring more personal lyrics having to do with his recent marriage and the birth of his son. While Andrew Bird is still serious about his music, the new record comes across as more open and accessible to the listener.