Interview: Andy Grammer
Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:39:48
"Touring is an exciting way to live," says Andy Grammer. "It's the best feeling when I get on stage and people want to sing my lyrics back to me. I still can't believe it."
Grammer is going to be experiencing a lot more of that in the future. When it comes to creating hooks, he's got songwriting down to a science. Sitting somewhere between Matt Kearney's folk-y stomp and Maroon 5's pop mastery, Grammer's self-titled debut is a true gem. He's got an organic fire that's immediate and irresistible and you can feel it on the record or anytime Grammer takes the stage.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Andy Grammer talks storytelling, playing live, movies, and so much more.
Did you approach your debut with one vision or vibe in mind?
You have hopes for how it's going to sound. Then, there's an element of surprise that comes from working with different producers and figuring it all out. It came out the way I wanted it too though. I had an idea of where I wanted to go.
What's the story behind "Biggest Man in Los Angeles"?
It's a true story of all my friends from street performing. I played out on the streets for years so I became friends with each one of those guys. Those are real situations in the song. I'd be out there taking notes on what it was like so I could write a song like this. It's probably one of my favorites. That is my ode to street performing. It was the last song I recorded. I wrote it while we were recording the record, and I wanted to make sure we got it on there.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
I've heard from a lot of different artists that you should write what you know. If I write what it is that I understand, it usually comes across pretty clear.
Where did "Fine By Me" come from?
It's about getting your heart stolen right from under you. A girl took from it me. I didn't really give it to her, and she just jacked it. Eventually, it turned out to be great [Laughs].
How do songs typically start for you?
It can start anywhere. Usually, it's a theme I feel is worth writing about. Then, I'll find chords that fit well with that theme and I'll start writing lyrics and chords. You find a way into what's great.
What's it like for you to listen back to ANDY GRAMMER–LIVE FROM LA?
This show was very satisfying. I think it sounds pretty good! I wanted to give people something cool in between records with a couple of songs that aren't on this album.
Which artists shaped you?
I'm a huge fan of a bunch of different styles. I love all of the acoustic stuff. There was that big boom of acoustic guitar music when I was growing up like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and Jason Mraz. Then, I got into piano rock like Coldplay and OneRepublic. Now, it's been all hip hop like Common, Lupe Fiasco, and K'naan. I love wordplay.
If your album were a movie, what would it be?
That's a cool question! It should be a feel good comedy mixed with a drama [Laughs]. It'd be Ocean's 11 mixed with Good Will Hunting [Laughs].
Have you heard Andy Grammer yet?
Watch the video for "Fine By Me" here!