Music Review – You Might Have Missed: Andy Grammer

While the majority of the UK Top 40 is matched up fairly equally against the US Top 40, a number of tracks and artists never seem to be able to make that jump across ‘the pond’. If a UK artist can’t break America then they can really struggle to take off in the same way as an international artist. This isn’t always the case, but when it happens it means that a fantastic artist can be completely passed over by a massive audience. You Might Have Missed (YMHM) aims to shout about those forgotten treasures, famous and successful in their own rights, but not the kind of artist that you will see headlining Glastonbury or Download festivals.

First up is Andy Grammer, signed to S-Curve Records in 2010, he has made a big splash in the US but hasn’t ever touched on the UK charts. His first album, titled Andy Grammer, peaked at #105 in the US album charts, but reached #1 in the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, as a rising star. His first single from that album, ‘Keep Your Head Up’, peaked at #53 in the Billboard Top 100, but in the US Top Adult Pop songs reached #5. It was featured in the hit film, Pitch Perfect where it is sung over by the cast in an outdoor party, representing a sort of anthem for the unsigned.

Mix 105.1 FM
Mix 105.1 FM

Grammer wrote this single while busking for a living, using a car battery to power his guitar amp to be heard over the other acts that were also trying to make a living from street performing. Grammer references a number of these acts and the time he spent busking in another track from the first album, ‘Biggest Man in Los Angeles’. He writes positively about his time busking and ‘Keep Your Head Up’ demonstrates the kind of positivity that he carries, being able to shrug off any problems and move forward.

Andy Grammer has said in interviews that he takes influence from three different sources. Firstly he references guitar-types, naming Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and John Mayer – maybe he has a thing for J’s. He then suggests that he separates ‘piano-types’ like Coldplay, The Fray and OneRepublic as another string of influence. Finally an element that really comes through in a number of his tracks is his interest in hip-hop artists. Artists such as Common, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z and Kanye West are first mentioned as driving the lyrical complexity of some of his songs, rather than converging to the tendency for pop songs to be ‘easy’ to sing-along to, rather than well thought out.

In 2014 Grammer released his second album, Magazines or Novels, which holds a greater variety of tracks than his first album and seems to have more of an influence from the ‘piano-types’ feeling very much like any of his tracks could work with OneRepublic and perhaps with their label and marketing power could have placed higher in the charts.

‘Back Home’ and ‘Honey, I’m Good’ have been released as singles from this album, to less success than some of his previous tracks but in my opinion they are equally as good. Grammer is a talented writer and a skilful performer but he seems to just miss the curve in terms of chart-toppers. His OneRepublic style tracks on this latest album are about a year too late and aren’t breaking through the ranks of current favourites Sam Smith, Sia, Avicii and Taylor Swift.

If you fancy something a bit different to the arguably over-produced chart music that you are used to hearing, then give Andy Grammer a listen. He is an artist that has the power to uplift you from a slump with big hitters like ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘Fine by Me’, then he can sustain that with new favourite ‘Honey, I’m Good’. Grammer is consistent without ever feeling ‘samey’ and has real breadth in his writing, so check him out now for some great tunes and an awesome listening experience.


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