Warner Music Nashville
Release Date: October 2nd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Feeling Things
- The Stranger (Reimagined)
- Anything But Love
- We’re Not Friends
- More Hearts Than Mine
- Lady Like
- Bad Advice
- Waste Of Lime
- Life Of the Party
- The Stranger
- More Hearts Than Mine (with Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town)
Pop/country up and coming artist Ingrid Andress surprised me late last year. I think it was on my day off, but I was perusing the internet, finding a new artist to listen to- simply because I wanted to be inspired, and I wanted to discover new artists that were underrated. It’s just one of those things you do during COVID-19… anyway, I stumbled across one of country music reviewer Grady Smith’s videos (and I do watch them often!), and I was intrigued about Ingrid’s music, given that Grady praised her voice, her style and her storytelling lyrical ability. from then on, I quickly found Ingrid’s debut album Lady Like and I was just simply captivated. Normally I’m not that speechless or enamoured with an album… but with Ingrid’s debut album, I can safely say that this project is one of the most vulnerable of the year- and given it’s a debut project, that makes it all the more remarkable. So as we dive in deep into Ingrid’s music… let me say that you are all in for a treat! Ingrid is one of today’s rising stars, and I hope that you all are inspired and moved by Lady Like as I have been!
To me, it all comes down to the song. For someone who learned how to write in Nashville, there’s something beautiful about listening to a story without all the bells and whistles around it. Those can be fun, too. I enjoy co-producing and turning a song into a wall of sound. But I’m also a sucker for just focusing on the words.
It’s just one of those things that happened very naturally. Because I have written in both genres [pop and country] for so long, they started morphing together without me even realizing it. I think that was why people at first were like, ‘Oh, we don’t know how to categorize this – this is scary!’ But I kept writing that way anyway and now we can put out those scary genre-combining songs. It’s just an expression of who I am.
Vocally similar to pop stars Rachel Platten, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ellie Goulding, yet with a vulnerable lyrical similarity to Maddie & Tae, Lauren Alaina and Maren Morris; Ingrid is a mystery. Living in the space between country and pop music, Lady Like doesn’t sound like country, nor pop… but has it’s own kind of ‘genre’ if you will. With this album having been nominated for a Grammy Award for best country album, best country song (“More Hearts Than Mine”) and with Ingrid being nominated for a Grammy herself (best new artist)– with all of these awards being pending until the awards show later on in 2021; it’s a no brainer to check out an listen to Lady Like, am I right? Opening track “Feeling Things”, similar to Kelsea Ballerini’s “club”, is an introspective and reflective piano pop tune, whereby Ingrid emphatically stresses her introversion and homebody personality, yet also declares that she misses ‘feeling things’, in an allusion to the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine that we all have been facing for some time. The fact that this song has no answer to this dichotomy of how to interact with people during this time, Ingrid wrestles with her emotions, and it is a vulnerable track- so it’s ten points for effort here, even though the song is brief and is perhaps too inward looking, if that’s possible.
With Ingrid also recording two versions of her hit single “The Stranger”, this track takes the concept of two people in a holding pattern, not feeling much and feeling out of sync, and flips it on its head; as Ingrid sings about the two people reigniting a spark if they pretended that they were strangers, and ‘started over’ in a sense. It’s a concept that is weird, but this slower-paced ballad reminds us that in relationships, we cannot just go through the motions, and we must make an active change in our lives and in the relationship, else things do turn dull and monotonous. “The Stranger” is a clever way for us to realise that relationships can turn the corner… but in the long run, perhaps addressing deep-seated issues would be the way to go, and working through them as a couple? “Anything But Love”, a breezy pop song, reminds us that moving on from a significant relationship can be hard, and works in different stages and different time frames for different people (with the persona wishing she could move on while the ex has already!); while “We’re Not Friends” has Ingrid continuing to travel super deep lyrically, calling out toxic relationships, and reminding us all that co-existing with people who bring us down in every way, isn’t healthy at all for us.
“Both”, a guitar led mid-tempo ballad, has Ingrid declaring that she needs to be loved and not strung out- the person she’s with needs to decide if they’re serious about her or not; while the heartfelt country ballad “More Hearts Than Mine” (the album’s first single, and also released as a duet with Kimberly and Karen from Little Big Town) dives deep into the reality that a break up breaks more hearts than the people involved- it actually impacts the families as well, as ‘…if we break up, I’ll be fine, but you’ll be breaking more hearts than mine…’– it’s songs like these which are vulnerable in their own right that remind me of Ingrid’s song writing ability, and have me marvelling at the fact that Lady Like is actually a debut album. For single guys like myself though, who can’t fully relate to these songs; Lady Like still is a compelling and emphatic project, ads these songs give me food for thought and advice, for what I do enter into a relationship someday down the track. “Lady Like”, the title track, is another confronting and thought-provoking song, as Ingrid powerfully breaks down stereotypes of how woman should look and act, and reminds us all that we’re all free to act and look like however we feel and choose, as long as we’re being open and honest to our friends and family and as long as we’re comfortable in our own skin; and this song is a reminder that we’re all special because of our uniqueness- and we all do not have to conform to the patterns of this world in order to enjoy living in it.
“Boys”, a pop song through and through, is probably the only track off this project that I didn’t connect with, as Ingrid covers Charli XCX, and delivers a song that sings about the superficiality about relationships in general; while “Bad Advice” has Ingrid channelling in her inner Sheryl Crow and lets us know that sometimes we receive bad advice from our friends and family, out of good intentions. Doesn’t mean they don’t love us; but means that they are human just like us. “Waste Of Lime”, a self-empowering break up song (but in a revitalised and reenergised sense!), has Ingrid sampling The Beach Boys’ “Kokomo”, and reminds us all that it’s ok to break up with someone early on if it’s not for us (perhaps it’d be better, than actually stringing someone along!); while Lady Like ends with the party song, the piano pop and strings led “Life Of the Party”. A pop song through a through, and reminder that perhaps Ingrid belongs more with Ellie Goulding and Carly Rae Jepsen than with Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride; we are met with a seemingly fun song, but in reality, a song that declares way too much that ‘I’m the life of the party’, in order to mask the true feelings of worthlessness and shame. It’s a vulnerable and honest melody that we all can relate to- feelings of isolation and negative emotions- yet “Life Of The Party” is also therapeutic, as we remember that we all need to rely on someone for help in order to help us through life. We all need friends, we all need accountability partners, and we all need to be open enough to let them see the real us- and if that’s the only thing we learn about Lady Like– that we all need people and we all need to be open and honest… well then that’s a job well done, don’t you think?
I love that there is a song out there for everyone. Even if you are best friends with somebody, you can also have a different favorite song. There’s something really refreshing about that. It’s a nice reminder that we’re all very similar and very different at the same time and that’s okay. There’s room for everyone.
I feel like [Lady Like] really encapsulates who I am as a person and an artist and what I stand for, and with it being a debut album, I thought that that song really showed, like if you don’t know who I am, you’ll know who I am after listening to that song. I just think it’s a message that needs to be heard right now, just with everything that’s happening as far as like, women in country and what that means. I think it just brings the conversation up a little further, to hopefully empower people, men and women, to be themselves and not have to apologize for it or feel like they need to put themselves in that spot in the way we’ve done for so long.
I draw from a lot of different aspirations. I really listened to pretty much every genre growing up, but you know, I loved and still love the Dixie Chicks. I love their personality and how it shows in their lyrics, and just their music in general. I also love John Denver. His music really spoke to me when I was younger and now. I love that he kind of transcended genres as well and was a singer-songwriter but also could tell good stories in his songs. I mean, Coldplay was a big influence on me as well, as far as, like, their spacey, vibey kind of production. I love that space that they have so I feel like it’s just a combo of a bunch of different vibes put together.
I feel like some of it [my music] is drawn from classic, traditional country influences so I feel like there are a few songs for the avid country listener, but then there are some that really then, sonically, as far as like, you’re not really sure what genre it is, but to me, that is almost intentional because I feel like limiting creativity to a genre is not why I got into music. I feel like I just wanted to express myself the way I was hearing songs in my head and because I was listening to so many different types of music – I just used country as like the foundation as far as like, lyrically, but I feel like it just is what it is. It’s kind of country, and like, kind of something else.
Ingrid Andress’s Lady Like kind of crept up on me during the later part of last year- and even though I’m not in the target demographic of Ingrid’s music (her songs are essentially romantic love songs sung in a pop/country atmosphere!), this album blew me away in the professionalism and the maturity that I would not have expected from a debut album. Will you all resonate with this project though? Probably not. But please check out Lady Like! Yes I’m talking to you guys as well. You may be surprised at how much you resonate with, maybe not all of the album, but some of these songs. So well done Ingrid, I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you next!
3 songs to listen to: More Hearts than Mine, Lady Like, Life Of The Party
RIYL: Rachel Platten, Maren Morris, Ellie Goulding, Gabby Barrett, Tenille Arts, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lauren Alaina, Maddie & Tae