Ingrid Andress might have a trio of Grammy nominations under her belt, but she certainly doesn’t act it. She’s just doing her thing. Writing her songs. Like she always has.
“I don’t think I put as much pressure on myself as most artists,” she tells Rolling Stone about making music after earning the nominations, including one for best new artist. “Releasing that first album during a pandemic made me feel like it never happened. I just immediately dove into writing the second one because I was like, ‘There’s nothing else to do.’ “
Yes, she’s the same Colorado girl today, but things have definitely changed for her, at least in how honest she’s being in the music. “We are different,” she says. “I feel like I am a lot more comfortable being authentic and vulnerable with people. I think I’ve found there’s power in being honest and vulnerable.”
Two years after her debut LP Lady Like — which was laced with hyper-specific lyrics about the liquor aisle at Trader Joe’s and dad checking your boyfriend’s tires on “More Hearts Than Mine” — Andress is back with an introspective 12 songs on her album Good Person, out Friday.
The LP meets Andress — whose written for the likes of Charli XCX, Fletcher, and Lauren Jauregui in the past — as she learns to allow herself to tell her own stories, unabashedly. “With the first record, I thought that I hit my max, but I hadn’t,” she says.
Good Person opens sonically darker, with 1975 influences as she sings about getting out of an unhealthy relationship. “I started the pandemic questioning everything in my life,” she says. “It started my ‘Oh, I need to break up with this person’ journey.” And it ends with her entering a new, healthy partnership. On “Feel Like This,” Andress gets out of a “toxic situation” and learns what love is really supposed to feel like: “Homemade cooking, like backyard kissin’,” she sings. What follows are deep love ballads true to her own journey, a step in a different direction for a singer who rarely sang about falling in love. “I feel like being in love is making me realize that there’s like a lot of power in feminine energy,” she says.
After candidly laughing off (and roasting) some influencers too busy networking when she performed at Lone River Ranch Water’s A Taste of Texas event in L.A., Andress caught up with Rolling Stone to break down some of the standouts on her LP.
I feel like this song is an interesting perspective that hasn’t been written about before. As far as marriage goes, there’s such a taboo around getting divorced. I wrote it after observing my parents’ relationship, other people’s parents relationships, too. It’s just really simple production-wise. My favorite lyric is at the end: “The last day they were on the same page was in the yearbook.” I love those lines, because they really get to the point without having to over-explain what you’re talking about. You understand that, “Oh, these people met in high school and have been together for a really long time, but they’re miserable together.”
That was a very emotional day. It was in a moment when I realized that the person I was with, it was just not healthy for me. It was really weighing me down when I should have been thriving. That day was just really difficult. Writing is my therapy so I just let it all out. I’m so authentic when I sing, so most of that vocal for that song was taken from the day I wrote it. Normally, you go back and rerecord the song but I didn’t. Honestly, I wanted to take out the crying part because I don’t like crying in front of people. But I was like, ‘You know what? This album is all about being vulnerable so let’s just go there.’ It’s terrifying to do that because you’re opening up a very, very hidden part of you to the entire world. There would be no other way for me to really get across how painful that moment was without being true to that moment. It’s really scary, but at the same time, it’s more about the art to me. I’m just a vessel. What I am singing about and crying about has happened to so many other people and the goal is to make them feel less alone and more understood.
Feel Like This
It’s a special song in many ways because it was written right at the beginning of when I met somebody that I was really into. It had that fresh ‘falling in love’ feeling because that was actually happening in realtime. And it was also the first day that I had met Julia Michaels. We both have been such huge fans of each other for for a while, but never got to write together. We found out she was coming to Nashville, and I was like, “Cancel all my plans!” That day was just so magical. She knew exactly how I was feeling because she was also in the beginning of a new relationship. It was just fun to have that falling in love feeling together and be able to translate that into a song. Our brains work very similarly. The pace at which we write things is really fast, because we’re like, “Oh, I love that line.” She’s just an angel.
Falling for You
I actually wrote “Falling for You” with my band in mind. Because up to this point, most of my songs are pretty sad and not fun for other band members to play. So I was just like, “I’m in love. I can do a love song. But let’s make it fun for my guys to play.” Because they’ve been roughing it onstage playing really minimal, sad things. So yeah, I basically wrote it for them to be able to have a fun moment live. It’s so throwback with those hits and the drums. That was written when I had been with this new healthy person for a bit, but was still was getting to know them. That one was written truly from me being in the start of the relationship. All those words were me writing them to that person.
How Honest Do You Want Me to Be?
That one was definitely after I was having a conversation with somebody. And they were like, “Just be honest with me.” When people say that, I very rarely think they actually want to know your honest thoughts. They just want like a varied version of it that will make them feel good. In my head that title popped up when they’re like, “Be honest.” And in my head I was like, “How honest do you want me to be though? I can’t actually be straight up with you.” I went into the studio to mess around with how this title goes. I was feeling playful and sarcastic, which is really me. The Lone River Ranch Water event really brought out that side of me. “When you water down whiskey, it gets easier to drink. And a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine sweeter. You say you want the truth, but the truth might sting. So how honest do you want me to be?”