With a worn backpack and guitar case sitting against the wall behind him, New York native Andy Grammer juggles the task of chewing furiously on his salad while laughing about what artists he would compare himself to.
“It would be if John Legend, One Republic and Jason Mraz had a little baby,” Grammer said. “I would be that… some weird artificial insemination creature.
That would be me.” Grammer might currently be an unfamiliar name as a singer/ songwriter, but he is slowly emerging
as a known talent. “Everywhere you go these days people are waiting for me to play, which is better than not that,” Grammer said.
Grammer has been living off music for about three years, and he started as a street performer in L.A. “It’s just crazy cause like a year ago I was at the street,” Grammer said with eyes unfocused, like he was reminiscing about old adventures. “I started performing on the street at Santa Monica and I would pay my rent by slinging CDs on the street. Now I’m coming from L.A. where I just did a show at the Roxy and there were like 400 people there. It’s just so awesome and so lucky, I feel very blessed.”
He describes his genre of music as credible pop because he writes the songs and lyrics and that his songs convey happiness.
“I think what’s hard to pull off when you’re trying to be real is happiness,” Grammer said as he talked through a smile. “There are many times in life where you are just genuinely just happy, but when you try to put happiness into a song, it’s so cheesy.”
He recently caught a whiff of fame after he released his music video for the single “Keep Your Head Up,” which is an interactive music video where viewers can actually choose what they want Grammer to do in the video.
“It’s pretty cool…to start seeing myself pop up,” Grammer said. “Like this video just got some serious press, so there’s an article in the Wall Street Journal…and it got written up in Variety and Billboard.”
His inspiration from music sprouted from his father Red Grammer, who was a popular children’s singer.
“He was in a folk group called the Limelighters when I was growing up,” Grammer said. “I’ve always had the music around me.”
Albums ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill and “Room for Squares” by John Mayer also inspired him to start his music career.
“Those hit me at the same time and I really like both of those a lot,” Grammer said. “Those are kind of my first and from those I kind of moved into some others.”
For now Grammer is traveling, doing a mixture of playing shows and radio stations.
Grammer played an acoustic show in Ornelas Hall at Tyler Junior College, sponsored by the TJC Interfaith Club.
Mathematics/College Preparatory Studies professor and Interfaith Club sponsor Karen Anglin actually met Grammer a few years back and was able to set up the concert.
“It’s not hard to see, once you hear him, how talented he is,” Anglin said. “You know it’s pretty easy to identify that this is somebody who really is going to make it.”
During large shows he normally plays with a five-to-six piece band, but while traveling he just sticks to playing acoustic guitar with his songs.
“[I want] just to connect with millions and millions of people about something very intimate,”Grammer said.”It’s a really special thing. If you’re a musician and you’re singing to a crowd, that has all had a moment in their car where they have gotten to know you artistically, alone driving for a long way going ‘yeah totally I feel that.’ And then when you’re in the shows… and you’re all unified back to something real. That to me is what a concert is, everybody connecting on something worth while.”
His first album, still untitled, is set to come out in January.
“I always knew I wanted to do something to try and impress people,” Grammer said. “Like I was into magic and then I got into, like I wanted to be a clown but like a really good clown, like a stilts walking juggling clown. And then I thought maybe I wanted to be an actor, but the one where you get to say the most, like just be yourself the most and talk from a specific voice, for me seemed to be music.”