April is National Poetry Month, and the Storytellers Spotlight is shining a light on Emmy Award winner and acclaimed multi-platinum singer/songwriter Andy Grammer, who has been incorporating poetry into his sets over the past two years. Grammar, who just recently announced his upcoming "The New Money Tour," kicking off in Asheville, NC on July 11, sat down with ABC's On The Red Carpet to talk about his journey as a storyteller.
"I got into music from a very young age, without even really knowing it just because my dad and my mom wrote songs together," Grammer told ABC. "My dad is a Grammy-nominated children's singer. And so around the dinner table, they'd be talking about, like, the hook and 'is this bridge working' and 'how are you using words' and 'how are they fitting together' and 'how are they actually impacting people?'"
Growing up with that foundation molded Grammer into the artist that fans all know and love for his energizing, uplifting, and honest pop albums.
"I've spent my career trying to make music that is uplifting and positive and grounded in reality. And a lot of times the way that actually works is when it's grounded in pain," he said. "One of my first singles that went pretty big was a song called 'Keep Your Head Up,' and on its surface, 'Keep Your Head Up' could go cheesy, but I wrote it because my mom had just died. And I was trying to figure my life out."
Through his evolution as a songwriter and producer, Grammer discovered his love for poetry, which he drew from people who inspired him while growing up.
One source of inspiration for Grammer was Lauryn Hill.
"I remember being in my mom's minivan, and 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' came on. And I was, I was just so blown away. I had never heard integrity sound, so, like, banging and cool. Before ever being like, 'Oh, it's gonna sound very different. We don't, we don't sound the same, it's gonna sound different,' but like she's doing something that I really, really want to do and I would love to try my take on," he said.
Years later, Grammer started incorporated full spoken-word poems into his performances, which have proven to become a hit with his fans. Like his songs, Grammer's spoken-word poems also highlight issues that he struggles with, which is how he created his new spoken word song "I Need A New Money," which was released in honor of National Poetry Month.
"I think that I have really struggled with the purpose of money in my life," Grammer said. "You grow up in America, you just go like, 'Make as much as you can! Go for it! If you can get the most, this is the game and then you win.' And that just has not seemed to be the case in my life. So I'm constantly searching for what the right balance is, with money, and the way that we work for it, and the way that it affects us."
Fans who are looking forward to experiencing Grammer's signature uplifting headlining shows during the "I Need A New Money Tour" this summer, can purchase tickets on his website.
"I am so excited to get back on the road this summer," Grammer said. "I have spent a lot of time over the past year writing and recording new music and can't wait to perform those songs and all the favorites for the amazing fans across the country."
Andy Grammer Tour Dates:
May 7 - Memphis, TN / Beale Street Music Festival
July 9 - Hampton, GA / Atlanta Motor Speedway
July 11 - Asheville, NC / Salvage Station
July 12 - Durham, NC / The Carolina Theatre of Durham
July 14 - Waterloo, NY / del Lago Resort & Casino
July 15 - Buffalo, NY / Cobblestone Live Music & Arts Festival
July 16 - Lowell, MA / Lowell Summer Music Series
July 18 - Morristown, NJ / Mayo Performing Arts Center
July 19 - Virginia Beach, VA / Oceanfront Concert Series at 17th Street Stage
July 21 - Indianapolis, IN / Rock The Ruins at Holliday Park
July 22 - Lancaster, OH / Lancaster Festival
July 23 - Grand Rapids, MI / *venue to be announced
July 25 - St. Louis, MO / The Pageant
July 27 - Tulsa, OK / Osage Casino
July 28 - Decatur, IL / The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater
July 29 - Plymouth, MN / Live at the Hilde Concert Series
July 30 - Omaha, NE / The Admiral
August 1 - Denver, CO / Denver Botanic Gardens
August 3 - Salt Lake City, UT / *venue to be announced
November 4 - Ivins, UT / Tuacahn Amphitheatre