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Nashville Singer-Songwriter Ingrid Andress Sounds Like the Future

"I don't believe in dumbing things down just to be liked," she says

ingrid andress interview
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    “A lot of times, it’s easy as songwriters to get caught up with asking, ‘Will it be good on radio?’ My brain never thinks that way,” explains Ingrid Andress. “I don’t think my brain will ever think that way.”

    Andress has been working as both a songwriter and artist for nine years in Nashville, which is notoriously referred to as a “ten-year town.” The phrase refers to all the behind-the-scenes work that tends to go into a career that, to an outsider, could make someone look like an overnight success. Music City is an intensely collaborative place where, after a certain amount of time, everyone sort of knows each other — every co-writer or sound engineer or lighting tech eventually ends up being a friend of a friend, an old classmate, or an ex.

    Andress has plenty to show for the work she’s put into her craft as she approaches that decade benchmark. Her debut album, Lady Like, was nominated for Best Country Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards, where she also competed for Best Country Song (“More Hearts Than Mine”) and Best New Artist.

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    But, like many singer-songwriters that came before her, and many that will follow, these weren’t milestones reached overnight. In the clever “Seeing Someone Else,” Andress mentions a gig waiting tables off West End; “Bricktops,” she tells Consequence over the phone. “I almost got fired so many times.”

    In many ways, Andress doesn’t fit the country mold. Country music is one of few genres where radio still holds an enormous amount of power, making the idea of “writing for radio” an unfortunately prevalent one in the songwriting houses up and down music row. To that end, Andress has never been able to concern herself with having a radio-friendly hit as her end goal.

    “I think people underestimate what listeners will be into,” she explains. “I hold humanity to a higher standard — I don’t believe in dumbing things down just to be liked.”

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    Good Person, which was released on August 26th, is technically Andress’ sophomore effort — but to her, it feels like the proper debut she never had. “I’m one of those people who put out their debut album in the middle of a pandemic,” she says with a laugh, referring to Lady Like‘s release date in March of 2020. She never got to see people learn the lyrics, or hear them sung back to her — she didn’t get to roll out the album in anything that even resembled a traditional launch. She started writing the songs that would form Good Person the very next day.

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