Flashback to March 2020, when most of the world was trying to adapt to life in lockdown, checking the news ferociously or maybe even stress-baking, for rising country artist Ingrid Andress this time coincided with the release of her highly anticipated debut album ‘Lady Like’. The 29-year-old was supposed to go on different tours with country-pop duo Dan+Shay, Thomas Rett and country legend Tim McGraw but instead was stuck at home with her variety of plants. For a while, Andress speaks out that it felt as if nothing was happening and that it only started to pick up as a life-changing moment when she started seeing stories from fans. How these songs related to their personal lives and suddenly it wasn’t just “celebrating alone with champagne” anymore but an experience that can only be captivated as a real altering point in someone’s life.
In 2019 the Colorado native shocked her new home Nashville with ‘More Hearts Than Mine’ and they dubbed her into the hottest newcomer. Andress, however, wasn’t new to the scene of writing hit songs. Charli XCX’s ‘Boys’ was co-written by Ingrid Andress and she even performed a softer, more nostalgic rendition of it on her deluxe version of ‘Lady Like’. Andress describes the transition between being a songwriter and an artist as a natural progression. That the process was set in action when she realised that she didn’t want to give a song away. “It is my story and no one else can have it,”, is a feeling that kept creeping up and she quickly realised that you can’t be a songwriter for other people and not give songs away. This seemed to be the most natural choice as Andress also loves to perform and remembers, “It was only a matter of finally finding the voice that I wanted to have.”
This voice promised to be a new wave in country music. With her titular song ‘Lady Like’ Andress didn’t just conform to the idea of what a woman should be but rather enforces the thought that she can be whoever she wants to be. The track mentions “haven’t brushed my hair in days”, “controversial, so outspoken”, “I don’t even own a dress” and reinforces the feministic momentum Nashville is going through at the moment with Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Good Ol’ Boys Club’ and Little Big Town’s ‘Daughters’. ‘Lady Like’ had been a work in progress, a tale made up of instances throughout her life until the time she finally got fed up and a creative boost followed. The line “Sometimes I forget not to talk ‘bout politics when I’m in the middle of me getting hit on”, was inspired by a time when she was in a bar hitting it off with a guy, thinking that she was “killing it” whilst expressing her political beliefs but soon realised that he was anything but interested when he said that he didn‘t really keep up with politics nor that he cared about it.
Although a concept not often talked about in the country music spheres, politics and feminism are at the forefront of her mind. “I know that there will always be people that write about trucks and beer but you know it takes all types of types to tell a story,”, Andress mentions before going on to say that she thinks that country is going to need to follow and talk about politics considering everything that is happening to the world, patiently hoping that the genre will rise to the occasion. Unlike many artists Ingrid Andress can’t hide between a façade of being a star through her unique honesty and inability to be anything else than herself, if she could however she would love to be a bit more like Beyoncé.
One of the instances where her extreme honesty brought an excellent understanding of not just her but also the experience of mature love and everything that comes along with it, is her breakout single ‘More Hearts Than Mine’. The track entails the story about whether to bring home a new partner for the holidays and introduce them to the most fragile part of your life or take a step back and see if they belong in the family dynamic. It’s a song that Andress never expected to gather as much attention, as it was written from such a personal point of view. The 29-year-old comes from a family of seven and they are all very close. So close that they love everyone she brings home to meet them. She quickly tells a story of her family still asking about a boyfriend she was with at university. An ex she no longer wishes to talk about. “Yeah, he hates me now, I broke his heart, so stop asking about it,”, so whilst she was writing the song it was a remembrance of what could happen if she would introduce her new partner to them, that inspired the now-famous song. A single so vulnerable that it even got a rendition with Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town on her deluxe album.
Andress calls that one of her “fangirl moments” and remembers the organic connection the three women created through mutual respect and appreciation. This is definitely not the last collab she is going to do as she would love to team up with someone that has a strong, powerful voice such as Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi or the elusive Ed Sheeran. Sheeran she says would be country if he didn’t have an accent. “All of his topics are right where Nashville is like “oh yeah that is country” and then he comes in with his British accent and suddenly it is not,”, Andress explains. She is the biggest fan of his storytelling and anybody with a good and unique voice.
The three things that Andress likes the most in a musician are those that she possesses. As self-aware as she is, she recognises that making music for her is a way of processing everything, in a way that could almost be deemed as therapeutic, which translates to the listener with her continuation of sad songs and oddly catchy tales of independence. “My music and my artistry feel like the only way to express myself fully without feeling like I need to fit into some societal interaction,”, is the way Andress describes her music. It shows a real sense of who she is and therefore the listener is able to get lost in thought and apply it to their own life.
it was only a matter of finding the voice that i wanted to have
“Do any of us have plans for the future?” Andress ponders whilst talking about the upcoming year. Even during a time when live music has been a rare commodity, the world has seen her perform with her powerful performance at the CMA’s (Country Music Awards) and most recently she has been nominated for three major Grammy nominations. As Ingrid Andress and the entire world are still battling life during an ongoing pandemic, whilst yet again going in lockdown, there are now ways to look at the positives. After all, not only did she gravitate a new type of fan towards her and country music, she also prospered in