Here’s How Country’s Ingrid Andress Found Musical Insight Amid 2020’s Turmoil

Ingrid Andress is among only a handful of entertainers who will be able to look back on 2020 as a banner year ― with a few detours, that is. 

Last week, the country singer-songwriter unveiled a deluxe edition of her debut album, “Lady Like.” The new version, however, is a vastly different listening experience than the original record, released in March. In addition to three new songs and alternate takes on singles “More Hearts Than Mine” and “The Stranger,” she’s resequenced the album’s track list. 

Each song is now placed in the order in which it was written, from earliest to most recent ― in other words, this is “Lady Like” exactly as she envisioned it. 

“I think there’s something really powerful about telling a story that way, to show the journey of the emotions,” Andress, who is based in Nashville, Tennessee, told HuffPost in an interview. “[Self-isolation] gave me time to step away and look at the bigger picture of my music.”

And though she’d written the album’s title track as a proclamation of “being strong and loving who I am,” the new sequencing helps relay a broader message. “It’s about embracing yourself, whether you’re male or female,” she said. “It’s something we could all do a little more of.” 

Check out the new lyric video for “Lady Like” below. 

Few new artists have garnered as much buzz in 2020 as Andress, who set a unique precedent last year when “More Hearts Than Mine” became the only debut single released by a female artist to break the Top 20 on country radio in 2019. It fared well on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, too, peaking at No. 30 on the list of the 100 most popular songs in the U.S. in May. 

With its stirring message of self-empowerment, the “Lady Like” album has been compared to the work of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Rosanne Cash, and was featured on Billboard’s list of prospective Grammy contenders for 2021. 

Much of Andress’ success, however, has been offset by the collective hardship facing the music industry at large in 2020. In addition to planned one-off appearances, she was forced to scrap touring engagements with both Thomas Rhett and Tim McGraw due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Tequila keeps me creative,” Andress quipped after noting that her 2020 touring plans fell through due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though devastated by the cancellations, Andress said the unexpected downtime prompted her to shift her focus back to songwriting. In July, she put thoughtful balladry aside for the woozy single “Waste of Lime,” in which she recalled a failed romance while referencing the Beach Boys’ 1988 smash, “Kokomo.” 

The song’s video perfectly encapsulated the pandemic summer that almost wasn’t, showing Andress splashing around in a plastic kiddie pool.  

“I needed some levity in my life, so I was just like, ‘You know what, let’s just do this,’” she said. “It’s summer, we should be enjoying ourselves, not sulking in bed as I was doing. When I focus on all the things that aren’t happening to me, it puts me in a dark headspace.” True to form, she relied on a little liquid courage, too. “Tequila keeps me creative,” she quipped. 

Andress (shown here in 2019) is nominated for two 2020 CMA Awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year. 

Andress (shown here in 2019) is nominated for two 2020 CMA Awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year. 

Turns out, Andress could soon have reason to clink more glasses in celebration. In September, she nabbed two CMA Award nominations for Song of the Year (for “More Hearts than Mine”) and Best New Artist. 

Regardless of whether or not she takes home either award at the Nov. 11 ceremony in Nashville, Andress sees those accolades as an affirmation that country fans “realize that women can stand for many different things, and they’re all valid.” 

“It’s always been a statement of ‘here I am, and I’m not apologizing for it,’” she said. “The fact that I’m owning my shit is what makes it what it is. The sooner people can accept that there’s room for all women [in country music], the better.”