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Speaking With... Andrew Ripp 04.12.13

Andrew Ripp

Andrew Ripp

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♦ 8 p.m. April 13

♦ Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie

♦ (773) 252-6179;

Singer-songwriter Andrew Ripp is taking a journey of love, faith and strength on his upcoming album.

He knows of what he sings.

His life has been filled with moments of deep love, gigantic leaps of faith and the need for incomparable strength. And all of it comes through loud and clear in his often introspective music, which has been featured on “American Idol,” “One Tree Hill” and “Live to Dance.”

Ripp, who grew up in Palatine, graduated from Palatine High School, then moved out to Los Angeles to pursue music, now makes his home in Nashville. The move, he says, represented what he calls his “huge life change” — getting sober and leaving the craziness of L.A. behind him.

Ahead of him is the April 16 release of his latest album, “Won’t Let Go,” produced by Grammy-winner Charlie Peacock, and featuring 11 tracks co-written by Ripp (and featuring Vince Gill on the haunting and hugely biographical track “Rescue Me”). The album’s first single, “Cool Ya (Nobody Loves You Like I Do),” is chalking up plenty of radio buzz.

Ripp is on the bill April 13 at the Logan Square Auditorium for a sold-out show with headliner Andy Grammer and Parachute.

Question: What was the turning point for you in your decision to get sober?

Andrew Ripp: I’ve been sober for five years now. I would not be able to do this music thing if that had not happened. I made some bad decisions during my college years [in L.A.], got myself into a position where I needed to make some huge changes if I wanted my life to mean something. I mean, there was free booze all the time all over the place backstage when we were on the road. I come from an alcoholic family and I see where that leads. I didn’t want that to be me. There was no real turning point. I just made the decision that alcohol was one of the main things I needed to eject from my life. And that’s what I did. I didn’t go through any specific program or rehab. I guess I went through the 12 steps without the program. It worked for me. I can’t speak for anybody else.

Q. How did that change you as a person, once you made that decision, and how did that change your music?

AR: I started to care more for others. It wasn’t all about me anymore. I just basically grew up. Music became my safe haven. I run to music now, not to a drink. It’s my way to medicate. I need to let my emotions out in some way so I use my music now. I’m lucky that it’s able to support me.

Q. What was it like to be an iTunes chart-topper with 2010’s “She Remains the Same”?

AR: I didn’t know what to expect when we released that album. I had moved to Nashville just a few months before that. It was my debut to the Nashville singer-songwriter crowd. I was lucky that Dave Barnes produced that record with me. He introduced me to his fans. That was why the album was so successful. I had someone who believed in me and pushed it out there.

Q. Was it daunting to make that leap from songwriter to the person out front singing the songs as well?

AR: Deep down, I guess I always wanted to be the one singing them. I fell into the songwriting game by a fluke. I had written a bunch of songs for myself. Nobody else was cutting them. It was about 100 songs. So I said I might as well make a record and pursue my own thing. That’s where the first album came out of. Moving to Nashville was like being reborn as an artist. Everything is so much slower there than L.A. and that’s a very good thing. I had to learn to be comfortable with time and just learn to breath and just think. Both me and my wife [whom Ripp met in college in L.A.] had to get used to the new pace here. We moved to Nashville about a week after we got married. It’s taken us two years to get used to it. We love it.

Q. What’s been the biggest difference for you between the Nashville and L.A. music scenes?

AR: In Nashville, if you’re an artist you can be an artist. In L.A. I filled a lot of time with just stuff. There was always a party or an opening or a dinner or whatever. There’s something about being boring now that’s just awesome.

Q. What did you want this new album to say about your music?

AR: I wanted it to speak about life. I’ve written a lot of songs for the sake of writing a song with hooky melody. This time I wanted songs that were life-giving and hopeful. I get to sing for the rest of my life. I don’t want to have to sing the songs I write. I want to be able to sing them, to be encouraged when I sing them.

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