From playing the streets of Santa Monica, to selling out venues nationwide, singer songwriter Andy Grammer exploded onto the music scene with a force so powerful it is obvious he is here to stay. A few short years ago, Grammer was busking on the Third Street Promenade near the Santa Monica Pier. Today the talented artist is a platinum-selling musician having sold well over one-million tracks. His massive debut Top 5 hit single “Keep Your Head Up” was recently certified platinum and the follow up single “Fine By Me” was certified gold, selling over half a million copies. The gargantuan success of these releases makes Grammer the first male artist to hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s Adult Pop chart with his first two singles since John Mayer did so in 2002. Grammer has sung on stage with Taylor Swift, appeared on TV a multitude of times (“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “The Talk”, and “LIVE! with Kelly and Michael”), and toured with some of the biggest names in the game. The humble up-and-comer will be in Denver on Thursday, March 28th at Summit Music Hall with special guest Parachute. I got the incredible opportunity to chat with Grammer, who willingly opened up about his rapid rise to success, the way he crafts songs, and the importance of sleep and water.
How do you like performing in Denver? What's something unique/different about the city that sticks out to you?
Denver has been an incredible city for me. I've gotten a lot of radio support and love there. I'm a huge fan of the pianos out on the 16th Street Mall. I wrote the beginning of a song last time I was out there.
Your debut self-titled album is really great. What was the goal for the record?
The goal was make music worth listening to. These days there is so much at everyone's finger tips. My hope was to create something unique enough to earn some ears.
Were there any songs on the record that you were initially wary of releasing, or that have surprised you with their success?
I knew “Fine By Me” was a good one but I didn't anticipate it would be such a huge follow up single. It's really become one of my favorites.
What is the strangest thing to inspire a song?
Nothing is too strange. I am constantly searching every moment of life to find a universal truth and then somehow put it into a song. Doesn't have to be crazy deep, just something true to me. “Biggest Man in LA” is a pretty straight account of street performing for me. That's a pretty weird one.
My favorite song of yours is "Slow". What is the story behind the song? How has it changed over time?
“Slow” was the idea that in our society everyone wants to take relationships slow. Let’s pull back, don't get too committed. But if it’s right, then go faster! Lock the girl up. It has actually turned out to be one of the crowd favorites to play live.
You got your unique start in the music industry by street busking in Santa Monica. What is the biggest lesson you learned and still carry with you from your days on the promenade?
That as a performer you can never be entitled. The ears are to be won. They don't just come to you. Every night you have to do something amazing that makes them want to come back. If you don't, they won't. That was the case out there- if you weren't exceptional you made zero tips.
I don't know if I've had a moment I remember that was like, "And that's the secret to music," but watching them every night is the best advice. For one thing you realize it all revolves around great songs. A great song is the script, the glue, the solid ground on which all of these acts have built their career. All great songwriters, this allows their careers to be long and therefore their shows to be incredibly entertaining. Train had like a gazillion hits. How could that show be bad?
Your vocals are so clear and smooth. What do you do, on the road especially, to preserve your pristine vocal chords?
Try to get as much sleep as you can and lots of water. I wish there was a miracle drug for the vocals but I've found those two are really what I need the most.
If you could have anyone in the world as the #1 fan of your band who would it be and why?
Someone who needed to hear it. I would be honored if one of my fans was a famous songwriter I admired, but equally as cool is the person in the car who needed “Keep Your Head Up” in traffic on that random Wednesday morning.
Don't miss Grammer at Summit Music Hall on Thursday, March 28. Doors for the all ages show open at 7:00pm. Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 at the door. Parachute and Andrew Ripp are the opening acts.