Lady Like

Lady Like

“In my opinion, part of creating a song, it's not just about lyrics, even though those are extremely important to me,” Colorado-bred Nashville newcomer Ingrid Andress tells Apple Music. “It's also sonically setting the right tone for what you want, how you want the listener to feel.” Andress translated her country-pop vision to her full-length debut, Lady Like, through her writing, vocal performances, piano playing, and production ideas alike. She bypassed the familiar arrangement where new artists place their projects in the hands of big-name producers, instead working with collaborative peers like Sam Ellis and applying her years of formal training and genre-spanning professional songwriting experience to the recording process. The results stand out for their sharply articulated vantage points and fresh sonic palette. She’s the sort of singer equally versed in conversational inflections and full-voiced projecting, and she built her tracks around piano more than guitar or beats, using string arrangements to supply added rhythm and motion and bolster hooks. Andress admits to being “really picky about drum sounds” and “obsessed with string quartets,” she says. “I was able to express what I wanted.” Andress talks through each of the songs on her debut below. Bad Advice “Production-wise, it was fun to get creative on it, because I did want to do a nod to Western just because I'm from Colorado and that's kind of the country that I personally enjoy. But then I also wanted to make it modern and relevant to what I'm listening to now. So there's an 808 in there, which I thought was fun. I put it at the top of the album because the strings play like an intro almost. I also wanted to set the tone, as far as just showing a bit of my personality straight out the gate. Sure, the rest of the songs are going to be heartfelt, but at least you know me as a person, [I’m] not taking myself super seriously.” Both “This was actually the only song on the album that started with a melody and not a lyric. Normally, all the other songs start with a concept that I want to write about. [Writer-producer] Jordan Schmidt was playing me tracks that he had premade. And I heard this one and I was like, ‘Wait, that's the one.’ A lot of the songs, we never really went into the studio to cut live instrumentation. This is the only song where we went in and did it properly, quote unquote, where we got a Nashville band and they just went hard on it. And it was pretty cool to be leading a session like that with musicians that are really awesome. And they added their own sauce to it that made the whole process super easy.” We’re Not Friends “I definitely wanted it to be as conversational as possible, which is why I wanted to start it intimate. Actually, when I was writing it, I didn't think I was writing it for me, which definitely freed me up and made the phrasing a little different. Normally I'm more focused on trying to keep something like a classic countryish kind of sound, but for this one I used more pop phrasing. After we got done writing it, I was like, ‘Oh, wait, I think I need to sing this, because this actually happened to me and I feel like I wrote it about me without even realizing it.” The Stranger “It started as just a piano thing. Building this song was really fun because I wanted it to be driving; you could easily get really sad on the piano. The whole point of the song is acknowledging that it's kind of a tragic thing, but there's still hope, because I think love is a choice. Most love songs don't talk about how it does get a little stale if you don't work at your relationship, and that it's a completely normal emotion to feel. Adding all the vocal stuff and the dynamism of it, and having it build and grow, it sounds more like a story that you're moving forward.” Anything But Love “It's a guitar-driven song, and I only know four chords on the guitar; I'm not planning on being a great guitar player anytime soon. Zach Abend was on guitar and taking the musical lead on this one, which was nice because normally I'm at the piano starting things. So this let me fully focus on the lyrics and the phrasing. And I think this song is probably one of the more poetic ones on the album, with the metaphors. I feel I was really able to get into a deeper headspace and not so much think about chords and movement. So it was like a different way of writing for me that I also enjoy.” More Hearts Than Mine “I feel like this song kind of encapsulates why I gravitate towards country music; it's because you do have that time in the song to paint such a vivid picture for people. I feel like this story could not have been told in a catchy pop song. The canvas of country music is very open and allows you to go into that detail. I just wanted to get as specific as possible, drawing from my own life. The song hook is a very traditional way of writing a country song, which is why I wanted the production to not be over-the-top country. I wanted it to be relatable outside the genre as well.” Life of the Party “I wanted it to sound like a party song, but really it's like a sad girl party song, and I love the irony of that. It's hard for me to write a happy, uptempo song, because that's not how I feel. So this is probably as close as I will get, really, to something like that.” Lady Like “The whole concept of ‘Lady Like’ and it being the title track, it's really just the message that I want people to take away from the album. It's a statement that I really think needs to be heard, especially in country music right now. I needed to write about my experience from moving from Colorado to Nashville, because I felt Western and Southern were the same thing, and they're not, it turns out. When I first got to Nashville six years ago, there were mostly male songwriters. I would experience a lot of people telling me that I wasn't very feminine for being a girl, which I thought was so funny, because I didn't realize people were still putting women in a box of what female songwriters should be writing about, or how you should be dressing, or [that you] shouldn't be swearing. So this song really came from feeling that pressure, and then finally just letting it go and being like, ‘I'm blatantly not following your rules on purpose.’ That was my moment of freeing myself from whatever stereotype people felt like I needed to be. I really want people to feel empowered to be who they are, and not have to feel like they fit into any box, which is also kind of what the album represents as well.”

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