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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound interviews Andy Grammer about life and music


This year’s fall concert definitely brought a different type of music when compared to the nightclub feel of last year.  Andy Grammer, best known for songs such as “Keep Your Head Up,” “Miss Me,” and “Crazy Beautiful”, brought charm and talent to Reitz last Saturday.  Doing a mix of his original songs form his current album and upcoming album, he also sang several covers including “Thrift Shop” and “Feel So Close To You.”  When someone shouted out it was Emily’s birthday, Grammer serenaded her with “Happy Birthday” and dedicated the next song to her showing what a genuinely nice guy he is along with being a talented performer.


I know you started busking when you were living in Santa Monica; do you still do it sometimes for fun?

No.  [laughs]  It was amazing at the time that I did it.  Because when I was busking, it was just about wanting to be heard.  It’s like a freedom of speech thing.  They can’t tell you not to.  If you get the permit and you walk out and you play, people come by.  You can be heard.  Even if someone stopped and didn’t put any money in, maybe they just gave you a nod like ‘Eh pretty good’, you’re like ‘yes!  That’s just what I need right now.’  Now I’m playing so much, all the time that I don’t really need to get back out there.  But I love that I got my start out there and I love the muscles that you build trying to get people to stop, trying to get people to listen, trying to get attention.  All of these things that I know use on stage.


I read on your website that you started a KathyGramm, an initiative in your mom’s honor to help provide financial assistance to The Tahirh Justice Center.  This center is to help save the lives of women around the world who are abused, neglected, and exploited.

My mom was always into women’s rights and trying to empower women.  The lady who runs it is a god friend of mine.  We are trying to raise money and awareness.  It’s a super cool organization, kind of heavy because of what it does.  It provides pro-bono legal work for women who are trying to flee their country because they have been assaulted and abused.  If they go back, they are a lot of the time dead.  When they get here, their lawyers make sure they get what they need.  It’s big deal and really important.  It’s not a cause that gets a lot of attention always.


Your dad is performer and I read you started on guitar because you grew up watching him on stage.  How has this impacted your music?

He is a children’s performer which is awesome, he’s the best.  Mostly what I got from him was really understanding the writing thing of writing something, then revising it, then writing it again and really always kind of looking for ideas and working it out in the next room.  Kind of as a lifestyle being a songwriter.  But he does more folk songs and more kid stuff but he’s the best.  He’s got a great voice.  He’s got a way better voice than I do.


Speaking of songwriting, do you write mostly solo or do you work with co-writers?

I do a lot of both actually especially on the first album and the second album too.  There was a good amount of co-writing.  I kind of like writing alone better but when I force myself into writing with somebody else, sometimes something clicks amazing.  So I do it because I know I will get something out of it that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.


When you write songs, do you write as the words come to you or do you set aside time to write?

For this album, I have been booking out three days.  Two days to write and then on the third day, I bring in an engineer and we will finish it together, then it will kind of be a demo.


What’s your favorite instrument to play?

You know it’s funny because to me, I’m more of a song guy.  It’s like whatever instrument is facilitating the song that I’m writing.


You last released an album in 2011 and you released two EPs earlier this year.  Any plans in the works for your next album?

I’m getting closer, closer and closer to my second album.  I’ll play a couple songs that I think are going to be on it.  It’s mostly just demos right now, nothing actually recorded.  It’s getting closer and closer to becoming an album.


How is performing at a college different than performing at other venues?

A little different.  I think when you do a college show; it’s a little more general.  The audience is a little more general. Whereas at a club, everybody is coming to definitely see me.  People come to see me tonight but they also come because they are like ‘what is this?’  So it’s a little more of a challenge to make sure you get everybody which I enjoy.  I might throw in a couple more covers because when I play a club show, most people know all the words which is crazy.  Like that that is even real.  But a lot of times they will know the lyrics and at colleges, they do sometimes but not as much.  Everybody usually knows the lyrics to the two songs [“Fine By Me” and “Miss Me”] that have been on the radio but you go deeper down the list, not as much.


I know you were raised in New York but have since moved to Los Angeles.  Do you have a coast preference?

It’s hard.  I have been in New York like three times this last month and I love New York City.  It’s probably the coolest city that we have in the country but LA is a wonderful place to relax.  You’re relaxed but there’s also business there.  I really go by the streets because they are really wide in LA and you can relax but in New York, they are so tight because it’s intense and insane and that’s cool.  But when I come off tours, it’s nice to be where the streets are a little bit wider.


Are there any favorite songs for you to play?

Right now my favorite song is probably the couple new ones for the new albums.  We are trying them out as we play.  Because I am gauging people’s reactions, should I tweak that, where did I lose you?


Do you ever get sick of playing “Keep Your Head Up?”

We usually play the original version and I never get sick of playing it.  It’s different with each crowd.  It’s one of the ones that makes everybody freak out.  Maybe it will.  Maybe like ten years down the line, ‘I’ll be like I’m not playing it anymore, I hate you guys’ but now, I’m still like yeah it’s good.  You have turbos in your set, songs that people know or a cover that’s really amazing or the way that you do something.  I don’t see it like aww I have to play it again.  So I just see it like that, like that’s one that is going to get everybody going.


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The Greyhound interviews Andy Grammer about life and music