Andy Grammer Opens Up About the Rapid Success of “Honey, I’m Good”0 Comments

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Posted on 29 Jun 2015 at 1:06pm

It’s almost noon on a Wednesday in Los Angeles, and the waitress at Los Angeles hotspot Toast has approached our table no less than eight times asking, “Are you good?” Normally this wouldn’t be noteworthy, except our brunch date is recording artist Andy Grammer, 31, best known right now as the guy behind this year’s catchy single, “Honey, I’m Good.” Half-expecting (and wanting) Grammer to answer the waitress with a, “Yes, honey, I’m good,” he admits that while that would be funny, it’s not in his nature.

Unassuming yet confident, Grammer has worked tirelessly to get to the point where fans know all the words to his lyrics. From street-performances on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to The Today Show‘s Summer Concert Series (July 24), Grammer has come a long way, but he’s no one-hit wonder. With past hits like “Fine By Me” and “Keep Your Head Up,” his second studio album, Magazines or Novels, is climbing the charts, and as of this morning, “Honey, I’m Good” is sitting nicely at number 6 on iTunes.

So, fresh off a concert in San Diego the night before, the engaging singer/songwriter sat down with us to talk about his seemingly rapid success, the story behind his Dancing With the Stars appearances, and falling in love with his wife.

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Our breakfast spread at Toast in Los Angeles.

Glamour: You had written about 50 songs for this album and were told that you still didn’t have a hit single in that mix. How did you find it within yourself to keep writing instead of throwing in the towel?
Andy Grammer: I think that you just understand as any creative person that there’s a beast that you have to beat, and it never goes away. I’ve resigned myself to that, and it’s kind of what keeps you going. Writing is the worst and the best. You’re never really done, so when my manager, who I trust, says, “We don’t have it yet,” I understand. In this case, I had written 50 songs, and when I listened to them back, they sounded really bad. They didn’t sound bad—they were actually catchy and good—but it felt like I was chasing [a hit]. A lot of what I was doing was being so freaked out by the fact that I had some success and trying to get another hit. So we started again.
Glamour: How’d you do that?
Andy: By being as brutally honest as possible. There’s a song on there about how I was a virgin until I was married. Oh my God, writing that one out was super scary, but it’s just my story. Being that brutally honest was the door that got me out and back into my space. So the next 50 songs I wrote were all closer. It’s like a bullseye.

Glamour: “Honey, I’m Good” was written after you started over again. How did you know that was your hit single?
Andy: Once it started getting played on the radio it would sell like crazy. I never had one that was that reactive. Also, it’s rare in songwriting to touch on a topic that feels fresh. I remember writing the song and thinking, “Oh, this is cool. It makes me a little uncomfortable.” Then you know you’re doing something right.

Glamour: The video for “Honey, I’m Good” features tons of couples that are celebrating their love, including you and your wife of three years, Aijia. I even saw a couple sitting on a couch with an Emmy in front of them.
Andy: Really? With an Emmy?
Glamour: Yes!
Andy: No way! I don’t know about that.
Glamour: Have you watched your video?
Andy: I have. [Laughs] Are you sure it was an Emmy?
Glamour: Yes!
Andy: I gotta go look at it again!
Glamour: On their coffee table, there was an Emmy. I was thinking, “Who is this person?!”
Andy: That’s amazing!
Glamour: Yes, you really should watch your video. You’ll uncover new secrets. [Laughs]

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See, that’s an Emmy!

Glamour: So how did the video come about?
Andy: [Laughs] I started reaching out to all my friends. It took quite a bit of time. Especially the older couples [in the video] who aren’t as well-versed with technology. We had them record it on their phones and send it to us. My aunt and uncle are in it, my godmother’s in it. My manager’s friends are in it. I knew it was going to be cute, but I didn’t expect it to be as lovely as it turned out to be. It was so nice to cheer on these people who have stayed together for almost 70 years.
Glamour: Yes, there was a couple celebrating 69 years of marriage! Who are they?
Andy: They are my guitar player’s wife’s good friends. It was like, “OK, who do you know in your inner circle that has a really long marriage?”

Glamour: The video has over 20 million viewers on YouTube. Does that even register with you, especially after the struggle it took to even get this song made?
Andy: It’s very validating. It’s mostly exciting, but anything that’s successful like that is usually of service to someone. The fact that people put on “Honey, I’m Good” to get their day started…that’s really sweet.

Glamour: You performed “Honey, I’m Good” on Dancing With the Stars with Derek Hough, Nastia Liukin, and Sasha Farber, and it was one of the best in the show’s history.
Andy: Thank you. [I was already booked on the show when] Derek called me to say that he had hurt his ankle. When something unexpected happens and you have to think outside the box, that’s when the best stuff happens. He said, “Man, is there something we can do together [now]?” And I said, “Yes!” It’s always better to do something out of the ordinary.
Glamour: How did the subway production come to fruition?
Andy: Derek is a super pro and had the whole thing worked out. I came in the day of and kind of sang and moved, and it worked. He said, “Just do your thing!”
Glamour: Would you ever compete on Dancing With the Stars?
Andy: I’m definitely not opposed. It sounds like a good time! You love it.
Glamour: I love it.
Andy: It would scare me. [Laughs] I’m not a ballroom dancer, but my mom loved dance. She passed away about six years ago, and she loved dance. So when I was there, it was the first place that I had been to where I…I mean, I’ve gotten to do a lot of noteworthy things, but none of them made me feel the way I did when I was at Dancing With the Stars and thought, “My mom would have loved this. She would have freaking loved it!” On a personal note, to be there and feel that connected to her—if she could tune in from wherever she’s at, she would have enjoyed the heck out of it. You can tell how it makes you so happy.

Glamour: What do you attribute your success to in this industry?
Andy: Street performing. It’s long days. A normal Saturday is you get there at 8 A.M. and leave at 10 P.M. But the amount of time that people actually give a shit to what you’re doing is very little. [Laughs] You’re out there literally screaming to the world, and there’s crickets sometimes. You have to figure out how to stay up and not jump off a bridge. One day as I was walking back to my car, I looked up at the sky and said, “Your move. Because I’m literally doing everything I can do. I’m pretty sure this is what I’m supposed to do.” I didn’t have anything in my bank account, and I was pushing as hard as I could. I remember I went home that night and wrote “Keep Your Head Up.”

Glamour: Have you always been an upbeat guy for the most part?
Andy: I’ve always been really happy, but losing my mom to breast cancer really grounded me. [Up until that point] I didn’t get hit with anything pretty bad. I was just a happy guy, and if you were sad, I didn’t understand why and would try to cheer you up. When I got hit with [my mom’s diagnosis], it was like, “Woah.” It was a year of not being super happy and just being a quiet guy at the table. I think that really helped give me some depth for what my mission is musically. If I was going to sing these types of song, it helped to know [the pain].

Glamour: How did you meet your wife?
Andy: At Cal State Northridge in the music program. She’s an incredible songwriter. I didn’t ask her out at first. We were kind of just acquaintances through music, but what got me is that when my mom passed away, I would do these voice notes called “Kathy Grams.” That was my mom’s name, so when people said, “Hey, I’m going through something. You said you’d write me a song,” I’d write a quick little [song] about how you’re going to be OK, things will work out, etc., and we’d call them “Kathy Grams.” And so then Aijia [pronounced Asia] was looking over someone that was about to pass away, so the day she came over to write a “Kathy Gram,” that’s when we started to connect a bit.
Glamour: What made you know that this was the girl?
Andy: You know how you are when you’re with your really good friends? Totally yourself? That’s it. When you realize you have the relationship that “I am who I am when I’m with you,” there you go. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to grow a lot together. You want to find someone you can change with, but you’re OK to be who you are.

Glamour: You mentioned earlier that you were a virgin until you got married. I love that you were so honest about it. Why was that decision important to you?
Andy: I think we all know inherently what our faults are—like this year I’m trying no sugar. I can OD on sugar. So I inherently know that I’m capable of going way too far in that direction, [so] I’m not going to do that. I think there was something for me about breaking that seal that was like, “I really want to be a good guy, and I’m pretty sure that’s one of my biggest vices, and I don’t want to start that train.” I don’t want to be the dude that sleeps with you and then doesn’t call. The problem is, as an artist, if you’re not connected with who you are or honest with yourself, then your art sucks. That was a hard one for me. Again, it wasn’t like perfect—in the song it’s like, “A little bit of prayer, a little bit of porn.” [Laughs] I was very honest!

Glamour: What’s your most special fan encounter?
Andy: Fans have tattooed lyrics on their body, which is amazing. It just happened yesterday in fact. It was from the song, “Sinner,” so here this person that you don’t know, but you meet for a short meet-and-great action and she has a lyric of mine tattooed.
Glamour: Do you have any tattoos?
Andy: I don’t. I’m toying. There’s a really cool Baha’i quote, and my music company is called Ladder Soul Music. There’s a quote that says, “Music is the ladder to the soul,” and I love that. So the idea of creating music and getting people ladders, I love that idea. So I’d get a cool ladder [tattoo]. I’m just afraid! Maybe I’ll get a flash tattoo first to feel out what’s right. [Laughs]

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Glamour: Lastly, let’s play some rapid fire questions related to “Honey, I’m Good.” What song makes you feel good?
Andy: The alarm on my wife’s phone is “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” so that’s a great way to wake up.
Glamour: What old-school show makes you feel good when it comes on the TV?
Andy: Seinfeld. Love it!
Glamour: The meal you most look forward to eating?
Andy: Two slices of cheese pizza from New York.
Glamour: The sporting event you like attending the most?
Andy: Basketball.
Glamour: Vacation spot that relaxes you the most?
Andy: Lake Tahoe. Get a cabin and chill out. It’s super relaxing.
Glamour: Favorite activity to do with your wife?
Andy: Improv. We like the Upright Citizens Brigade or The Groundlings. It’s nice to enjoy a different art form.
Glamour: Drink of choice?
Andy: Soda water. Perrier.
Glamour: The quality you most love about your wife?
Andy: She really gives her attention to everybody, which I struggle to do. I try! I learn from her. She’ll make a deep, close friendship with the waiter!
Glamour: The quality that you’re most proud of in yourself?
Andy: I think I’m genuinely sincere, and that’s what hopefully makes it work. I take that very seriously when I’m writing.

Andy’s second studio album, Magazines or Novels, is out now. Follow him on Instagram here for all his upcoming TV and concert appearances.

Photos: Jessica Radloff; YouTube; Shervin Lainez

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