People who think pop music is nothing more than candy for the ears—sweet but lacking in substance—have never listened to Andy Grammer’s music. An authentic artist who writes and sings from the heart, Grammer strives to compose honest songs that resonate with listeners all over the world. East Enders will have the chance to experience this pop phenomenon on June 29 at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC).
When asked about the origin of his passion for performing, Grammer responds, “My parents said I was a ham from the very beginning.” As the young son of children’s artist Robert “Red” Grammer, he would jump on stage during his father’s shows and steal the spotlight. Growing up in New York, he developed a strong connection to musical storytellers, such as Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and The Beatles, and became inspired to write his own stories to music.
Today, he could be considered a music novelist, writing upwards of 70 songs per album before combing through and finding the ones that will hold the most value for listeners. About three quarters of the album-making process involves Grammer digging through memories and feelings, writing one song after another, but fans will never hear the vast majority of these songs.
Part of the selection process involves the flow of live shows. Grammer never wants there to be a low point in his concerts and he aims to keep his audience engaged with relatable lyrics and catchy instrumentation all the way to the encore. Ultimately, everything he does as a musician is for his adoring fans, and he takes a moment before each show to remind himself of that. “When you do a show every night, you can forget how lucky you are that fans actually fly in from other countries to see you,” he says. After each show, he humbly analyzes his performance and determines what he can do to better connect with audience members and evoke an emotional reaction from them.
One of the most memorable moments he’s shared with his fans occurred during a show at The Grove in Los Angeles. All of the power went out and threatened to ruin the entire show, but the audience lent their voices to Grammer for an a cappella rendition of “Keep Your Head Up.”
There’s one song in particular that has resonated with millions of listeners, the triple-platinum hit “Honey, I’m Good.” With so many pop songs about sex and lust at first sight, it came as a shock when Grammer’s song reached number nine on the Billboard Top 100 with the message: Yeah, I see your butt, but I’m in a committed relationship, so I’m good. Grammer can’t say for certain why the song took off the way it did, but he does believe that “it rings true to a lot of people in the world, because it’s about choosing the things that are more important.”
While Grammer respects these edgier, more explicit artists, he can say without a doubt, “I’m just not that dark.” He believes that artists can only write what they know, and while risqué subjects may be authentic for his contemporaries, they wouldn’t be genuine coming from him. Not all of his music is upbeat and cheery though; his newest album, The Good Parts, offers a much more complex look into his life and struggles.
Grammer is excited to be performing at WHBPAC and sharing his truth with the East End. He hasn’t had the chance to vacation in the Hamptons yet, but he has greatly enjoyed the time he’s spent on the island. “I love the vibe of Long Island…and the accent.”
Andy Grammer performs at WHBPAC on Friday, June 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $110–$160 and can be purchased at whbpac.org.