Life + Arts Music

Q&A: Andy Grammer

Pop artist Andy Grammer is UH bound and will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Cullen Performance Hall. The Daily Cougar caught up with Grammer to ask him a few questions about himself and what lies ahead.

The Daily Cougar: For someone who hasn’t heard your debut album, how would you describe the sound and the overall feel of the music?

Andy Grammer: I would say that it’s one-part acoustic stuff, one-part piano rock and one-part hip-hop. It’s a giant mix of all three.

TDC: So you really are a big fan of hip-hop then?

AG: I love hip-hop. Lauryn Hill, Common and Lupe Fiasco. Those type of guys.

TDC: Any other influences?

AG: For the acoustic guitar stuff I would say John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Jason Miraz and then piano rock One Republic and Coldplay.

TDC: What people should people take away from when they listen to your album?

AG: I try to make music that’s grounded in reality and hopefully there are songs on there that other people can relate to. If they can just listen to my album and just feel it or even if it can make their day better, then pretty much what I want them to take away from it.

TDC: How has the tour been so far?

AG: These college gigs have been tremendously fun. The kids are usually pretty amped and really excited, so there’s ton of energy.

TDC: Out of all the ones you’ve performed at so far, what do you remember most?

AG: I did a glow stick scene for my music video “Miss Me,” so in all the colleges that I’ve been to, all of the students brought glow sticks when the song came on. It looks really awesome.

TDC: Wow. UH should totally follow suit, huh?

AG: Definitely, it’s really fun to do. It’s a lot of fun to see students to do that kind of thing at shows.

TDC: When you first started out, you did a lot of street performances in LA. Were you handing out demo tapes and just playing? What was that whole experience like from the get go?

AG: I would go out on the streets really early so I can get a good spot. When I start seeing a lot of people walk by I open my guitar case, put out a little tip jar and just try to sell all my CD’s while I sang covers and original songs I had written.

TDC: How much did you end up making at that time?

AG: Enough to pay rent. It’s pretty much the best way to do it.

TDC: Did passerbys at the time like your music the same way your millions of fans like your music now?

AG: Well as the time progressed, yeah. I street performed for about three years (before I got signed). The first year was a little slow. The second year it started to pick up and I started to understand how to draw them in better and by the time I got to the third year, I really started to sell a lot of CD’s and I was making about a decent amount of money every day.

TDC: So is that how you got signed? Did someone come along and notice you?

AG: Yeah, I was performing one day and Ben Singer, who’s now my manager, came up and saw me. We started working together and we recorded “Keep Your Head Up” and everything started to pick up from there.

TDC: Your father Red Grammer was also a guitar singer and was in a band called “The Limelighters.” Did he ever pass on any advice to you or taught you anything that has helped you out on your career so far?

AG: I think just growing up around a guy who has made his living out of performing, I kind of started seeing music as a viable option and understanding how everything works. Probably the best advice he gave me was to just watch him on a day to day basis.

TDC: Did you take any pointers from him or anything performance wise that you feel that you could use in your performances?

AG: Well, what I remember most from him is that he did a lot of children songs and he’s was actually Grammy nominated for [Best Musical Recording for Children] so I didn’t really take a whole lot from his stage performance because it was geared towards younger kids. I did take his work ethic and his songwriting because he’s always been writing songs and  just paid more attention to that.

TDC: When was the last time you were in Houston?

AG: I’ve been there in the last three months, for sure. I played at the House of Blues a bunch of times and I think the last time I played there it was with Colbie Caillat and Davin McGraw.

TDC: So you must be really excited about coming back and playing at UH?

AG: Yeah, man. I really hope students can come out and help put on a good show. I’ve been loving this tour so far because performing at colleges is really great.

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