DT: January 4, 2012
ANDY GRAMMER TALKS ABOUT HIS BREAKTHROUGH YEAR
1. 2011 was a breakthrough year for you and 2012 seems to be launching full speed ahead. You’re selling out your headlining tour dates months in advance. Explain your journey so far, from a busker in Santa Monica to gold-selling status for “Keep Your Head Up” and headline performer?
“I am just too excited for words. You strive and strive to get to a place where what you have created has momentum. I remember my mother telling me it was like a snowball; you start small with your little half ice/half snow peanut and begin rolling it. Gold records and sold-out shows… even just responding to that question feels like, ‘you talking about me?’ The best part is the opportunities I get with momentum. That I even get to play a sold-out show where people know the words, and I’m singing about things I’m connected to is such blessing. It’s the equivalent of a nine-year-old saying ‘I want to be an astronaut when I grow up’ and then getting to go to the moon. This year I’ve been to the moon, and it’s awesome.
2. What can fans expect from your headlining tour? What changes have you incorporated since the Natasha Bedingfield show?
“I think for starters it’s a whole different mentality. It’s the difference between an appetizer and the meal. An opener is like the preview when you sit down at the movies. This tour is like, ‘and now…for our feature presentation…’ The lights turn off and everyone is ready. It’s different. I will play a longer set; I’m also bringing out a keyboard/guitar player with my band this time and taking more chances musically. On headlining shows I think people are more willing to go on a musical journey with you. If you play a slow intense personal song as an opener, it can be a super downer. That same slow song in a headlining set might be the pinnacle of the show. I’m really ready to take a stab at that sort of pressure as well as the rewards that come with it.”
3. “Fine By Me” is the follow-up to your hugely successful gold single “Keep Your Head Up.” It’s already climbing the radio charts well before the impact date. Can you talk about what inspired this song?
“’Fine By Me’ is about having my heart stolen. It’s a story about a girl who came into my life and just robbed it right from under me. In my experience love is an all-or-nothing emotion. We are all really protective of ourselves because we know that if we fall in love we’ll fall hard. So we kind of dance around the edges with our tippy toes in the water playing it cool. I went from playing it SO cool to falling SO hard in about four days. That’s what ‘Fine By Me’s’ about.”
4. Various musicians do covers of your music–Hunter Hayes for example. Do you have a favorite cover to perform?
“When I performed on the street, I really developed a love for playing covers. Some people are cover snobs and only play original material but I LOVE covers, especially if you can flip them and make them your own. I love to cover a beat-boxing version of ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol, ‘Apologize’ by One Republic, ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Anything to keep people guessing or bringing something new to the song that wasn’t there. Whether that is taking a piano song and rocking it on the guitar, or taking a rap song and adding a melody to the words, I like to add something to it.”
5. You recently performed at a Billboard event in NYC and paid tribute to Taylor Swift with an acoustic version of her hit “Mine” and dedicated “Keep Your Head Up” to Nicki Minaj and the rest of the honorees. What do you feel artistically about Swift and Minaj?
“Artistically they are both really on top of their games right now. What really stands out is that their songs are incredible. Both of them have the ability to get into the core of the listener and have them relate with their vulnerability on such a consistent basis–it’s uncanny. It’s like a quarterback winning Super Bowl after Super Bowl–it’s amazing. I also really admire the relationship they have with their fans. Having performed with Taylor, I saw how much fans love what she gives to them, and as I was leaving the Billboard event, there was a huge group of Nicki fans cheering and screaming when she came out. They scream because Nicki and Taylor gave them something they can’t get anywhere else–a vital piece of their day. I am in awe of that relationship between fan and singer–and both of those ladies are masters of that.”