IF YOU GO
■ What: Moc Madness 2014 featuring Andy Grammer and The Ready Set.
■ When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 21.
■ Where: McKenzie Arena, 720 E. Fourth St.
■ Admission: $10-$20.
■ Phone: 423-266-6627.
■ Website: utc.edu/CAB.
Musician Andy Grammer likens his in-the-works sophomore CD to meeting someone for the second time. It's often during the second meeting that you go a little deeper and learn a little bit more about the person, he says.
It can also be a little nerve-wracking, especially if the first meeting went really well.
By most accounts, Grammer's self-titled debut was a stellar introduction. It produced two hit singles, "Keep Your Head Up" and "Fine by Me." The former, Grammer's radio debut, was honored by Broadcast Music Inc. as one of the year's Top 50 most-performed pop songs across all formats, making it one of BMI's Pop Music Award winners of 2012. A third, "Miss Me," reached No. 15 on the Adult Pop Radio charts.
Grammer will perform Friday, March 21, at McKenzie Arena along with The Ready Set. The show is being presented by the UTC Campus Activities Board as part of Moc Madness. The Campus Activities Board is the primary student-run programming organization at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"We are excited to finally provide what many UTC students have been asking for for years," says Bria Woods, junior communications major and CAB's large-concerts chairperson. "We are hoping to create a similar tradition as our friends at many other colleges and universities.'"
Grammer spent several years busking on the streets of Los Angeles. The experience was both educational and profitable, he says.
"What it will do is give you the hard-knocks treatment," he says. "Your job is to show up and do something that will make people stop and listen. It's different than playing for mom or friends who all say you are great and you should be on 'American Idol.'"
It also allowed him to get paid for playing music, bringing in $150 on a good day.
"The truth is, if you have something of value, they will buy your CD," he says.
These days, Grammer is playing in front of much larger crowds, which is changing the way he has approached writing the songs for the second CD.
"The first album I wrote without any conception of who I would be playing for," he says. "It was just me and a guitar. Now, having been out playing in big places, I'm writing the opposite way with this big sound and then finding how to play it on guitar. The key is finding something that is comfortable."
He admits to feeling a good deal of pressure, and he was hearing from a lot of people on how to proceed.
"The second one is the tricky one," he says. "There is a little bit of fear. I'm really proud, and I think it will be better than the first one. It's a little more honest and a little more deep."
He also discovered a new philosophy that will be the key for him here on out.
"The only time to release a record is when you get to a place where you say, 'I don't care what anybody else thinks.'"
Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6354.