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Enjoy Andy Grammer's SMASH hit "Fine By Me."

Andy Grammer Interview

(SD) 1. Thanks for your time. So you started out as a street performer in Santa Monica, CA. How did you end from singing on the streets to your current success of having a Top 10 single, Gold Record, sold out tours?

(Andy Grammer)

The short answer is I have an amazing manager who got me some amazing opportunities and "Keep Your Head Up” did well. And the long answer is that when you are playing up there I got good enough to be here. It takes a long time to get good enough at your skill; to write songs that are good enough and not wasted; sounds decent when people hear it. So, putting all the time out there; that's what really got me here.


(SD) 2. What valuable lessons did you learn from that time in your life and do you ever have the chance to go back and visit?

(Andy Grammer)

Yeah, I think the way that I would get people's attention is that I would have to do cover songs. By singing so many cover songs over and over and over again; I learned how to write songs; like what was good about a song. So that was probably the most valuable thing; was just the song writing.


(SD) Did you just play random places or street corners with a set list?


Yeah, there is one street where everyone comes to. So, I would basically be out there all day.


(SD) 3. What did you find most rewarding about being fully involved in the creative process of your self-titled debut album?

(Andy Grammer)

You know, I don't know any other way. I always do more like; it was hard for me to get open to co-writing at all. I like to write my own songs; “Keep Your Head Up,” I wrote the whole thing. But it is cool to get with another person and have some things that you would never think of come about in a writing session. It was cool; I am open to it now.


(SD) Do you work with co-writers or write songs yourself?


Mostly written by myself and a couple co-writes.


How about your new single?


The latest one was a co-write. It was great. Sometimes when you get in a room with people there is some magic thing that happens and it just comes out, so that's cool.


(SD) 4. How does this album define you as a writer and an artist?

(Andy Grammer)

It's so funny, I don't know if it does define me. I think that you are consistently redefining yourself, but for now in this time period, right as the new album comes out until now, I think it defines me as; I hope someone who is authentic, that's my goal. Somebody who can write about their life and hopefully it resonates with other people.


(SD) 5. Where would you like to head next, musically speaking with the next record?

(Andy Grammer)

I have, I think refining more of what I love. The first record what my first take at what I want to do; which is, finding a really cool balance between acoustic guitar, piano and then hip hop beats and see if I can find great songs that really bounce. I would like to go even deeper into that; refining it; focusing it, yeah.


(SD) 6. Tell us about your musical bond with your father and what did you learn from him about performing?

(Andy Grammer)

Yeah, I just saw him on stage all the time doing his thing and I saw how comfortable he was and I saw how happy he made people and I saw how hard he worked. So, all that stuff was imbedded in me at a very young age, to see how hard you have to work and then how rewarding it is when you make a group of people really happy and take them somewhere.


ENJOY  PART II of our interview with ANDY GRAMMER;



(SD) 7. When you picked up your father's guitar was that when it all started for you, or were you inspired to play music before then?


(Andy Grammer)

I picked up my dad's guitar, there was also a piano in the house, and I just knew as soon as I saw instruments that I wanted to write songs. So I would pick it up, and before I could strum I was kind of slapping on the guitar writing a song that was the first initial thing that I knew from the get go that I wanted to do. So, I was writing songs before I could really play instruments.



(SD) You grew up on the East Coast?



Yeah, New York, about an hour north of New York City, it was a pretty cool place to grow up.


(SD) You had a band too growing up?



I had a bunch of different bands. I would go play coffee houses. I made like an open mic tour, where I would just run around everywhere and try to play as much as I could.



(SD) 8. Does it ever get difficult for you to try and arrange the various genres of music that you perform all into one song?


(Andy Grammer)

I think you just keep trying, it's like cooking something; you want to make sure it tastes right with all the elements together and when you are producing, the beats are too heavy, you're like, "Man, we are missing the essence of this song," so you pull them out. Then there's not enough, like five going on, so you find different beats and put them in or the piano is missing or it's not organic enough. Finding the delicate balance to make it feel like what you love is a fun process. I think I'm more prepared actually to do it on my next album, I'm excited.



(SD) 9. As a singer/songwriter, what do you enjoy most about singing to a live audience and writing songs?


(Andy Grammer)

I think it's really important, I mean it's different for everybody, but for me to be able to write is one of the most important pieces of this whole thing, to be able to express what it means to be alive through songs. So, I get to go back into my kitchen, create something and then come out and see if anybody likes it or not. That's the process that I really love. I love both equally. I love to go in and be totally solid, be by myself and write songs and go deep, you know, whatever, get really emotional in a room alone, because you are writing a song. Sometimes that song sucks, but just that whole process of it and then to come out and see whether it worked or not, that's a really fun cycle. Then to be on the road and perform in front of all these people and know what I want to write for them when I go back next time. It's like, "You guys need like a chant song or you need this or that." I know what I want to bring now, so I am really excited to go back and write one.



(SD) So these kinds of events inspire what you are going to do?



Yeah, totally!!



(SD) 10. Speaking of touring, what was most challenging about putting together a headlining tour and do you have plans to do another one in the near future?


(Andy Grammer)

I mean, that is by far, that is the most rewarding experience I think any musician can do; is to go on a tour where everyone is coming to see you. When you are opening you play and people are kind of, you know, feeling you out. They might like it they might not like it, except for when you play your hit song, then they freak out, "Oh... I love you." But when you are a headliner, you can just go so much deeper, you know, track eight that the whole world doesn't know, but all people who came to the club that night they know. They spent time with it in their car and they love it and they sing it at the top of their lungs. It's a really special thing. So far, that is the top accomplishment that I've done in my music career; is to have a headlining tour that everybody came across the country.





We are not sure yet, cause we much lucky touring opportunities; we are about to go out with Train and do some college shows. I am about do to that into about October. I've met Pat a couple times and I have opened for them a couple times and they are great; great songwriters.


(SD) What did you learn most from Pat?



Just kind of soaking up and watching. Like being on tour with Gavin DeGraw and Colbie for this tour you just watch and you pick up like, "Oh man, the way you had your lights hit when the kick drum hit and the way your set list and the hook in your song," just studying great. Being around people that are great is just so great.



(SD) 11. What are you doing when you are not on the road and what do you like to do when you are not working?


(Andy Grammer)

You know, I love, it sounds so silly, but I love writing, which is hard to do on the road. So when I'm on the road I can't because I am literally just running through airports or traveling on the bus or hopping up on stage doing radio visits and all that. So, when I go home I like to play basketball a lot and I love to write. Writing to me is a little more down time, its fun, yeah.



(SD) 12. What are some of the career goals that you would like to achieve in the next chapter of your career?


(Andy Grammer)

The goals are just to keep reinventing yourself. I think that's a really hard thing to do, even with this album and the success as it has had people see me as this and anything that you do next to uphold the standard and not only do that but take it a little further and keep reinventing what it is that people love and keep making more and more larger crowds happy. Not even just happy, but take them somewhere; give them a song that really can affect their life or they can use. Give them tools they can go through life with, so if, say for example, it's a summer day and it's a beautiful day you put the top down on your car I want to give you something that enhances that experience. Or if you have a breakup and you need to go through something, hopefully I have given you something that helps you with that process, to experience life; heightened.



Backstage after the interview presenting Andy with his SD cover story at Ravinia Festival:





Check out our video greeting from Andy!

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