Being “the positive guy” isn’t easy in music, singer-songwriter Andy Grammer told Billboard in the debut episode of the Behind the Setlist podcast (by Glenn Peoples of Billboard and Jay Gilbert from Label Logic). “The word positive is cheesy. You’re at a loss to begin with. You’re just starting down 20 points.” But, at the same time, “we all need optimism,” he adds. After more than a decade of playing for audiences — first as a street performer, later as a touring artist — Grammer believes he has the key to connecting to people.
“We all need a reason to jump out of bed,” he says. “We all need to go into our soul. It’s just that it comes with so much cynicism that unless you’re doing it at such a high level and so aggressively, it doesn’t get in. But if you do get in, you’ll have fans for life that’ll show up every single time you come through.”
Grammer, who hit the Billboard Hot 100 with such tracks “Keep Your Head Up” and “Honey, I’m Good,” starts a U.S. tour on May 31 in Austin, TX that concludes in Tucson, AZ on Aug. 28. In recent months, he released four new tracks through his own Giant Soul Records imprint through his longtime label S-Curve Records. On Behind the Setlist, Grammer talks about the art of creating a setlist — which includes highs, lows, new tracks, a cover song or two — including one of his pandemic favorites, “Pennies From Heaven” by Louis Prima — and even his own poetry.
“I feel so blessed that [with] this art form it’s expected that you play your repertoire,” he says. “It’s just like not the case with other art forms. If you’re an actor, you do your thing and then you gotta go do another thing. And when you show up to your next set, I imagine you’re almost have to let go of all that because people don’t want to see that guy anymore. You got to get into this new role. And in music they’d be pissed if I don’t play the best stuff that I’ve had over the last 10 years.”