Ingrid Andress was poised to have the best year of her life.
Last summer her debut single “More Hearts Than Mine” climbed the Country Airplay Chart, eventually going all the way to No. 1, and even cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 30 — an indication of her appeal far beyond even the confines of country radio. Detailing the impact a potential boyfriend could have on her family when they meet the parents, the song cleverly describes the twin possibilities of heartache and hope every new relationship holds. It’s country in that it holds family dear, but Andress’ sharp storytelling supersedes genre and is reminiscent of other recent crossover country-pop stars like Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, and even Taylor Swift.
Building on the momentum of her initial single, Ingrid’s first album, Lady Like came out this March via Warner Nashville/Atlantic Records, making her one of the few country artists on the storied label’s roster. Poised to spend 2020 as the opener on Dan + Shay’s arena tour, and with scheduled festival appearances at events like California’s own country music bonanza Stagecoach and Michigan’s Faster Horses, obviously all of those plans came to a screeching halt when the pandemic hit. As a young artist on the cusp of embarking on her first tour ever behind a successful, and record-breaking debut album (more on that in a second), Andress found herself suddenly back at home, alone, with plenty of time on her hands and a lot of confusion ahead.
“Not the most ideal situation,” she laughed, when we spoke over the phone recently to discuss her pivot in the aftermath of live event disappearance, part of which includes a deluxe, extended version of Lady Like that came out earlier this month. “I was so busy getting ready for tour and stuff that it kind of just hit all at once,” she continued. “I was in New York when the Dan + Shay tour got canceled, because I‘d just played The Colbert Show. I guess I was his last live performer before quarantine measures began. It was such a whirlwind getting ready for my first big tour, and then having all that stop, it was very weird. Eerie, almost. So it took awhile for me to wrap my mind around it.”
In the meantime, as the rest of the world hunkered down indoors, streams, appreciation, and praise for Lady Like began rushing in. With the title track itself a powerful inversion of society’s expectations for a lady versus Ingrid’s drastically different reality, the record immediately sets itself apart as a modern feminist work in the country music canon. Soon, the album had become the highest streaming country female debut of all time, a record-breaking feat in a genre where it’s notoriously difficult for new female artists to establish themselves. And though Andress joked that her success was only due to people being stuck inside, plenty of other albums released in quarantine timeframe have been skipped right over — Lady Like stands out immediately for its honesty, playfulness, clever phrasing and beautiful melodies.
Born in Michigan and raised in a small town in Colorado, Ingrid wasn’t necessarily songwriting from a “country” point of view as she began her career, studying songwriting and performance at Berklee School of Music and performing in a cappella groups early on. Eventually, her decision to move to Nashville and pursue songwriting in earnest led to getting a deal as a solo artist with Warner Music Nashville and Atlantic Records in mid-2018. So the road to Lady Like has been a long one, and while a canceled tour has elements of heartbreak, Andress has found a new appreciation for the ability to perform music for people at all.
“It’s been making me more grateful for the little things,” she said. “Same with music, when you’re about to go on tour it’s so much about rehearsal, lighting, and ‘what’s the backdrop going to be?’ — instead of really focusing on the fact that it’s for people. To me, I feel like I’m definitely not going to take that for granted ever again. Performing music for people is like being reminded that you’re not the only one who feels the way that you feel, and there’s a really crazy high I get from it. It makes me excited to be a musician.”
With concerts off the table for the time being, and the extra time at home, Andress and her team decided to pursue the other viable route for a year spent indoors: release more music. Given her debut album was on the shorter side with just eight songs, a new deluxe version of Lady Like expands the release out to thirteen. Out October 2nd, this updated project includes three brand new songs, the Beach Boys interpolating “Waste Of Lime” released this summer, a brand new ballad entitled “Feeling Things,” and a cover of the Charli XCX hit “Boys,” that Ingrid co-wrote. Additionally, it includes a reimagined version of her second single “The Stranger,” and a special edition of “More Hearts Than Mine” with special guests Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town lending their signature spine-tingling harmonies.
If the first version of Lady Like was a taste of what this rising star is capable of, then the deluxe album is a whole feast. And with numerous nominations from organizations like CMT, the MusicRow Awards, and placement on several Grammy-contender prediction lists, 2020 might not have been the year Ingrid expected, but it still turned out to be a great one after all. “My album came out at the very beginning of this pandemic, and I’m still really glad we released it then, despite everything. We can all still obviously listen to music, and I’m really proud of how all that came together, with the deluxe as well. I’m working on new music and already stockpiling for the next record, because, why not? And it’s been really fun messing around with different vibes — there’s no boundaries at this point.”
Lady Like (Deluxe) is out now via Atlantic Records. Stream it here.