For the sixth consecutive year, I covered the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Upper West Side by the talent trailers, starting my morning with a Starbucks hot chocolate on 82 and Columbus and ending with a photo of Santa before returning to my apartment for video editing.
But for the first time, that trip to-and-from my perch involved more than a walk two avenues over. Sure, the commute time from the Financial District to my old hood affected my alarm clock, but it didn’t stop me from feeling the holiday spirit and enjoying the time-honored tradition of the parade.
I love tradition and routine but it was time for a break from both this past weekend: for the first time in recent memory, I took Memorial Day weekend off.
I remember spending Memorial Day weekend in 2010 at a Yankees game and I can’t recall how I spent the holiday in 2011. But I do remember 2012 because Syracuse was in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and I drove to Camden, New Jersey where I interviewed Niall Horan of then a burgeoning pop outfit called One Direction.
In 2013 I attended a wedding but on Memorial Day Monday and every subsequent one until this year, I would host my show in New York at its normal time.
And this year wasn’t a complete departure from work: I woke up early Friday morning and drove down the Shore for 95.5’s Pepsi Summer Kick-Off, chatting with Andy Grammer before driving back and doing my show Friday night.
On Saturday I slept in, grabbed the new Jordan 11’s and met a friend for a drink in midtown. Then my buddy Danny visited for the weekend – we bar-hopped in the hood before hitting the East Village and calling it a late night/early morning.
Then Sunday it was up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees beat the A’s and witness Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam. We followed that up with a celebratory drink at Stan’s and then a trip to hang in Yonkers with John Foxx for dinner and drinks.
The bad news for Monday is that I had to set an alarm for 8 am. The good news was that Danny and I were up early because we were driving to Baltimore to see the Yankees and Orioles face off at Camden Yards. The weather was dreary until we reached the DMV area. First pitch was 75 and sunny. The Yanks lost (although Judge hit another homer; he leads the league) but we linked up with friends old and new in the stadium, across the street at Pickles and across town around the Inner Harbor.
By the way – the people of Baltimore are fantastic. We ate dinner with our buddy Rob at the Oyster House Sunday night. The lobster gnocchi and lobster mac and cheese were out of this world. Everything was super-fresh.
We wrapped up the night with a trip to Horseshoe Casino where I left with a few extra dollars in my pocket and retired to the Hilton by Camden. It was an early-ish night because I had a 10 am train back to New York on Tuesday morning.
And of course, it should come as little surprise that I missed it by about 10 minutes because I accidentally typed in “Penn Street” in to Google Maps as opposed to “Baltimore Penn Station.” But the good news was that 20 minutes later, an Acela departed and dropped me off at New York Penn just before 1.
The timing was perfect: I arrived at the studio with just enough time to interview an old friend… Niall Horan.
Andy Grammer is reading the room. Summertime is here. To some, our nation and the world are in a… let’s just say “precarious” place. And if there is one thing people are seeking, it’s love.
“My mom was an incredible lady and she taught me to basically just give love in every interaction that I had,” the artist recalled of his mother, Kathryn, while talking about his forthcoming single. “I think that with the climate that we’re in right now of the world, maybe sometimes this message would be a little too sweet but I think right now, it actually lands perfectly.”
Grammer immediately followed that assessment with a description of the song’s tempo.
“It’s not too heavy,” he clarified. “It’s ‘up.’ It’s a fun summer thing.”
“Give Love” is the title and that thing will be released June 9. It’s far from the first piece of work that Grammer’s mother has inspired. In 2013, the “Honey I’m Good” singer started the KathyGramm campaign to raise awareness for women who were victims of gender-based violence, a cause that was near to his mom’s heart. And besides the new track, Grammer will have a little more love and to love in his life soon: this past March he and wife Aijia announced that they are expecting their first child.
As for the single, Grammer will celebrate its release on June 10 with a headlining performance at the Belmont Stakes.
“It makes you feel good,” he said of the song. “And we need more of that, for sure.”
For our first day inside Westwood One’s Backstage at the 2016 American Music Awards, we chatted with Andy Grammer on his Thanksgiving plans, Tinashe on working with Britney Spears and We The Kings’ Travis Clark on covering a song from the hit-musical “Hamilton.” Check out the photos, video and audio interviews below!
Friend-of-the-show Marc Scibilia stopped by to talk about the endless tour he’s on with some amazing tourmates, from Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer to Michael Franti and Jon McLaughlin. Scibilia also talked about working with Jacob Whitesides and preparing to record new music later this year.
Andy Grammer needed to figure out how he was going to follow up 2014’s “Magazines or Novels,” his sophomore album which included his biggest hit to date, “Honey I’m Good.” So he decided to try out a new approach.
“Coming off the last two singles (also ‘Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)’) which were both pretty up-tempo, high energy… there was no higher to go,” Grammer explained on my radio show over the phone. “You can’t throw more of the kitchen sink in to a song.
“This one is my first single that I feel like lets the audience come to me a little bit. I’m really excited about it.”
“Fresh Eyes” serves as the first single from Grammer’s forthcoming third studio LP and sonically reflects his west coast home more than his east coast roots. The song is super laid back and Grammer’s voice doesn’t jump many octaves as he sings about a stranger that he is smitten for.
The track is certainly a departure from “Honey” but almost literally a product of it; Grammer’s gift to himself after the success of his second album was baby blue electric guitar.
“It’s my first (single) that I’ve done mostly on electric guitar,” he revealed. “I went in (a store) and picked up every guitar and amp for like, four hours and I left with this baby blue nucleus for my third album.”
If you’re checking out Grammer on tour this year, you’ll get a chance to see the axe in person. He plans on bringing the instrument out for his supporting gig with Train followed by his co-headlining jaunt with Gavin DeGraw. Of course, Train recently covered the “Led Zeppelin II” album, donating proceeds from sales to a charity that benefits kids fighting cancer. So if Grammer were to pick one act to offer the cover treatment to, who would it be?
“I think it would be dope to re-do an old Billy Joel album,” he replied, also noting that he doesn’t know the Piano Man (although his tour mate DeGraw has served as Joel’s opening act on a regular basis. “I guess I’d have to make the album first and then reach out.”
Besides his upcoming tours, Grammer will be spending the rest of the year working on his own project though. The “Keep Your Head Up” singer is bringing an extra tour bus on the road with him so he can continue to create the album. Grammer hopes that the LP drops after the first of the year.
“That’s what’s so fun about this game is that everything just keeps being new,” he said. “When you do one thing that works, like it’s done. Your brain has to come up with something different. That’s the whole artistic thing. It’s been completely fun and reinvigorating on this album to be doing something totally different.”
As Grammer tours the country and continues to work on his new album, he’ll also have the chance to find out if his fans feel the same way.
Andy Grammer stopped by and talked about the amazing 2015 he and his wife have had, capped with his Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance last week. Grammer re-released his album Magazines Or Novels with the new single, “Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah).”
My Thanksgiving tradition: Waking up early, walking a few blocks to Central Park West, chatting with some friends who are performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and snapping a few photos and videos the floats.
A big thanks to Macy’s along with Rachel Platten, Pat Monahan, Brendon Urie, Questlove, Shawn Mendes, Prince Royce, Trey Songz and Spongebob Squarepants.
Andy Grammer is staying busy. The “Keep Your Head Up” singer is playing one-off dates across the globe following the release of an EP, Crazy Beautiful, and an appearance on the ABC reality competition, “The Bachelorette.”
“It was like any first date. It feels like a little bit forced but they were sweet people,” recalled Grammer when I sat down with him last weekend before he played one of those aforementioned dates: a performance on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City for Resorts Casino. “I was their first date, so they came to me on a bridge that was all blocked off and we played just for them. It was cool.”
Grammer married singer-songwriter Aijia Lise Guttman last year. Yet there is one particular first date memory that still haunts him, no pun intended, to this day.
“I love to scare people. It’s a big issue of mine. I’m working on it currently,” prefaced Grammer before diving in to the plot. “This girl, we hadn’t been dating yet, but she flew in. I thought it would be awesome to hide in the trunk for like, a half hour, and then have the guy pull over and tell her to get a CD out of the back of the car. In the middle of Louisiana.”
The singer followed through with his plan. His mark didn’t find it awesome, and that is probably a big understatement.
“She got so scared,” he told me. “We were not friends after I did it. She opened the trunk, and I screamed at her. She lost it for 10 minutes, and it wasn’t cool. We got back in the car, and it was super awkward.”
Don’t expect to hear about it on Grammer’s next single. He confesses that while he enjoys scaring people, he understands it’s relatively mean-spirited.
But, the “Fine By Me” artist is currently working on a full-length album. Grammer divulged that he’s currently “experimenting” with different sounds, and is looking forward to his schedule calming down so that he can get some “quality studio time.” He estimates that his fans could hear a song from the album sometime early next year.