From playing on the streets of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California to performing on Dancing with the Stars, Andy Grammer has a lot to be optimistic about. The “Honey I’m Good” and “Keep Your Head Up” crooner had our hearts in his pocket at first listen and even has Taylor Swift smiling! Andy gave ME the details on his music career and his take on where to find the perfect guy.
ME: When did you figure out you wanted to pursue music?
AG: I wasn’t exactly sure it was music, I just knew I wanted to create and affect people. From a very young age I was learning how to impress people— like by juggling or magic and learning how I can make someone smile. When I found the guitar I was like, “Whoa, I can make you smile!” Once I kind of latched on to that, that was my favorite mode of creating.
ME: So you would go out to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and play your music? Tell ME what that was like?
AG: With music and this rock star kind of ideology in how this works, you can get caught up in a bunch of other things besides, “Do people like me when I play music?” There are all of these other things like, “I have to look at shoes, I think that will help,” or, “If I had a video concept, that will make—” that’s all important too, but when you go out to the Promenade you can just point-blank say: “Alright, I play music. People either like it and they stop and give me 10 bucks for a CD, or they don’t.” It’s the most basic element of, “Do you like what I’m playing,” and you can really start to figure out where you stand with people’s ears. It’s a great, great way to develop if you go out in the street and just have people tell you whether they like you or not.
ME: That’s super scary! How did you get the nerve to put yourself out there like that?
AG: You just gotta take a leap; take the leap in putting yourself out there. You have to be one of those people who is willing to take the burn of having someone come up to you say, “You need to turn down, dude, like we’re just trying to enjoy our food and you’re bothering us.” Handle the lows and you can also get some highs which is like there’s 100 people around you all clapping to a song they didn’t even hear until today, and now they all want to buy a CD. There are highs and lows, and I think that’s the art industry for everybody. ME: People kind of do that through YouTube.
AG: Yeah, exactly YouTube does that too. That’s actually really interesting, and that wasn’t quite as big when I was really in my intense development stage. Now it seems like, oh my God, everyone is doing that!
ME: Speaking of YouTube, I was reading through the comments for your song “The Pocket,” and one guy said you rep the guys who don’t think with their, ummm, let’s say man-parts. Now that we know there are at least two of you out there, where do you think girls can meet more guys like you?
AG: It’s funny, to say I don’t think with my man-parts is like— that’s a little bold. I think you just want to find someone who is at least trying. We all have our demons and the things that aren’t the best about us. Hopefully you’re at least trying to work on them— that’s all I can say that I am. I wrote that song and I mean it, you know, but that’s a good day. What I will say is that I genuinely try to be a good guy, and I think there’s a lot of guys out there like that. I don’t think we’re in short supply.
ME: I believe that. You actually touch on not being the perfect guy all the time in your song “Ladies.”
AG: Yeah I think there is no perfect guy, there is no perfect girl. I think you just want to be awake and at least try to be a better person, that’s the goal.
ME: “Keep Your Head Up” is a big hit for you! What’s the story behind it?
AG: So I was out at the Promenade and I hadn’t sold enough CDs at all. I was paying my rent out there so it would get kind of tense near the end of the month when you have so many days left at the Promenade and you’re like, “I need to make this money.” So one day I didn’t sell any and I went home and wrote myself a little pick-me-up track.
ME: So it really ended up helping you out too!
AG: That’s so funny, the way the world works. Thank God I didn’t sell any CDs that day. If I sold CDs I wouldn’t have written that song that’s helping me get on tour with everybody right now.
ME: It’s a great song for everyone a bunch of situations whether they’re facing graduation or trying to figure out how to follow their dreams.
AG: Yeah that’s the thing: It’s always gonna be hard so you might as well just smile. it’s never going to be completely fine. I don’t think that’s why we’re here.
ME: So how do you keep your head up when times get tough?
AG: That’s a great question. I keep my head up by taking in inspiration from other people. So the band that I’m opening for, I’ll go and watch their sets and just really enjoy what they’ve put into it and how it’s working, or listen to other artists and see what they’re doing. When I’m home, I love to see comedy. I love to be inspired; it always helps me stay excited.
Tell ME: Which Andy Grammer song are you in love with?