Andy Grammer's new song for his mom and daughter is so sweet—as is the story behind it

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.


Grammer has written about his mom in his music before. But a new song that he wrote for his mom and his 2-year-old daughter, Louie, called "She'd Say," comes with an incredible story. The song is all about what Grammer's mom would say to his daughter if she were alive, and OH MY HEART. First, check out some of the lyrics:

You never got to meet your grandma, did ya?
Every night, I got you kissing on her picture
Cuts me up that you will never listen
To the sweet, sweet sound of her voice
I could tell you she was quite the mixture
Of a mama and a shaman and a fiery pistol
Truth is, she's right there in you
She's a part of you, you don't have a choice

My dear, you will feel her
In your mind, you will hear her
And if she could use words, use words

She'd say "You're beautiful, but don't you overplay that card"
She'd say "You're spiritual, so don't ever forget that part"
She'd say "You are so much stronger than you even think you are
Let your heart, let your heart lead the way"
That's what she'd say

Then grab a tissue, watch the video, and read what Andy wrote about how the song came about.


"I know I might lose some people with this story but sometimes life is unexplainable. This song is by far the strangest most mystical artistic experience I have EVER had. My wife got me a phone call with a medium as a gift. Quickly into the call he said "your mother is coming through and she wants you to write a song to your daughter, she wants it to be from her about everything she'd say but can't be there to say." Honestly whether I'm fully in on this or not that's just a great idea. Also my mom was a huge Paul Simon fan, especially the Graceland album he did with the South African male choir LadySmith Black Mambazo. So when I heard they just happened to be performing in Los Angeles the week I wrote the song it started to get downright eerie. I chased them down, blew up her photo, put it up in the studio, and tearfully explained myself to the choir. They huddled together and just started singing "I miss my mom" in ZULU, it was otherworldly. For the rest of my daughters life she will have this love letter from her grandma that she never got to meet. If my mom were here, this is definitely what She'd Say."


Related: A ridiculous dad transformed Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' into a 3-minute long musical dad joke

Chills, right?

If you loved that (I mean, how could you not?) you'll also love this poem Grammer wrote for his dad called "My Father Does Not Care." He performed the spoken word piece onstage between songs on his last tour, and decided to make it into a video as well.

Clearly, Andy Grammer was raised by wonderful parents. In a world of people chasing all the wrong things, it's wonderful to see someone using their talents to spread light and goodness.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

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