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Andy Grammer’s New Inspiration

Andy Grammer’s New Inspiration

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Andy Grammer’s enthusiasm is palpable.

In a world where artists often wear their hearts on their sleeves, there are few who exude an infectious joy quite like Grammer. Whether he’s talking about his upcoming album, Behind My Smile, or how he’s excited to turn 40 or what he’s learning in therapy, Grammer is optimism personified.

“If you asked me three years ago how to describe myself, I would give a pretty simple answer,” he said. “I’m just a really happy guy.”

But then the pandemic hit, and Grammer realized there were some things deeper within himself that needed to be explored.

“It’s like, life throws you through the washing machine hard enough to where you have to get a little more realistic and accepting to have a broader understanding of who you are,” Grammer explained. “There’s lots of pieces to who you are. And through the process of therapy, I’ve learned to own the wide spectrum of who I can be as opposed to just carrying the happy flag.”

One of the easiest ways for Grammer to explore these new layers of himself was to dive into his music. Soon enough, his music became a full studio album, Behind the Smile, which releases later this fall.

“This is a really cool, special collection of songs,” he shared. “Throughout the process of writing this album, I was able to actually view myself differently.”

It becomes evident that Behind My Smile is not just another project for Grammer; it is a deeply personal exploration of his own identity and growth as an artist.

For the album, Grammer shed his persona of the never-sad singer to delve into topics you may not expect from him: depression, greed, self-love. And while he still looks for the best in the world, he’s learning that there’s also a beauty to embracing the struggle. 

“I still tend to try to look at the optimistic side of life,” he said. “But I’ve realized that when you go through tests, they are there to help you grow for something greater down the line.”

The pandemic taught Grammer more about community and self-love. As a self-described “super extrovert,” social distancing and isolation left him in an emotional state unlike anything he’d ever experienced.

Initially, he tried to have a positive mindset about the situation, but eventually he had to face reality. That’s when he had a breakthrough.

“It was so hard because I’m the happy guy, but I’m suddenly feeling depressed,” he said. “I had to work on those two seemingly not fitting things together. But it got me to a deeper understanding that I’m much more three-dimensional than I may admit.”

Through both therapy and songwriting, Grammer has continued to wrestle with deeper issues. On Behind My Smile, he explores the battle of self-love — the joy that comes from it and also the struggle to feel it day by day.

“The idea of self-love is something that I was not expecting to have been a cornerstone of this record,” Grammer shared. “I did not see that coming at all.”

Of course, looking back Grammer sees it clearly now. In his therapy sessions, he had to work through feelings of loneliness, comparison and feeling pleased with himself and his work. It was a task much easier said than done.

“It sounds funny to admit out loud, but I realized that self-love was an area I needed to take more seriously,” Grammer admitted. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a dude or what, but I’d hear the phrase ‘self-love’ and just dismiss it. But then it was kind of placed right in front of me and I was told, You cannot look away from this. This is something that you need to deal with.’

“And that’s been some weird, hard, amazing work,” he continued. “But it’s ultimately good. I’m grateful I was able to put in the work.”

Grammer hopes his hard work pays off for more than himself, too. On the album, he invites fans to see a whole new side of him not only for the sake of authenticity, but for encouragement.

“Because if the happy guy can be depressed, maybe that will make someone feel less alone,” he said.

Spreading the Love

Grammer delves into other thought-provoking themes on Behind My Smile. He’s spent a lot of time growing increasingly fascinated with society’s relationship with money, examining its value and the potential dangers of becoming consumed by its pursuit.

To Grammer, society’s love of money is tangled up with the complicated relationship between society and love.

“In a way, it all ties back into self-love,” he explained. “Americans are looking for value in their lives. And where we should be turning to self-love, we’re turning to money.

“Truthfully, I can’t say that I haven’t done that either,” he shared, “so I really am talking about all of us. But I wanted to dig deeper.”

“Love is the New Money” is the culmination of Grammer’s exploration. The song, inspired by a poem Grammer wrote years ago, digs into the value Americans place on money over, well, just about everything.

“I know we need money and it’s what makes the world run, but I think it’s worth asking ourselves what is the actual value of it,” Grammer said. “We need to parse it out and figure out the place it holds in our lives.”

Grammer shared he’s still figuring out not only what place money holds in his life, but also the power it has over all of his decisions. 

“I’ve started asking myself, what’s underneath the thing I want?” Grammer said. “Because I think that money is often seen as the thing that will get you what you want. I’ve come to realize the pursuit of money is simply a slippery slope. If I focus too much time on it, I can feel myself getting unhappier.

“Now, I don’t want to downplay anyone’s struggle,” he continued. “I’m not delusional enough to think that love is going to pay your bills. Money is a necessity, but we have to check ourselves and not put too much emphasis on gaining productivity or economic wins.”

These days, Grammer is trying to focus on the bigger picture, the things that matter to him.

“I don’t want to be 85 thinking about how I missed out on making a few more bucks,” he joked, “but I do want to make sure my decision, my energy and my time are focused on the stuff that really matters.”

So, what exactly are the things that matter to Grammer?

“Creating spaces for love is the thing that makes me the happiest,” he said earnestly. “I’m fully aware I operate in this space, but it’s just true! In my life, when I think about where am I going to be able to receive and give love and how do I take steps to actually create spaces for that? That’s when I’m vibrating at my highest.”

Grammer created Behind My Smile in part to process his newfound emotions and experiences, but also to create a space for people to be reminded of the love of the world. It’s a message that he thinks the world can’t hear enough of.

“It’s harder to find spaces to just connect with each other and share love than maybe it’s ever been in the past,” Grammer said. “We are really siloed in algorithms and in our devices. When you add all that up, there’s less connection occurring at the moment when connection is the thing we need the most right now.”

Grammer is constantly thinking of different ways to break down walls and create genuine connection. Music is a big bridge-builder for him, not only as a personal outlet for his thoughts but also a means to connect with others through shared ideas. He believes the power of music can be used to create spaces for love and deepening relationships.

He has a tradition with his band while out on tour. Each night, one of the seven band members sits in a chair in the middle of the circle while everyone else shares what they love about the person.

“Everyone cries — it’s a whole thing,” he laughed.

Grammer is relying on his optimism to create a space for love in this world, one person at a time.

“There is a river of love that is happening under all of us and we just need a little more space to share it,” he said. “My real mission currently is to figure out how to create more and more of those spaces.”

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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