Ingrid Andress Walks Through Pain of a Breakup on ‘Good Person’—“Sometimes the Best Path for Us is the One That is the Most Difficult”

Releasing her 2020 debut Lady Like just days after the onset of the pandemic afforded Ingrid Andress the time to write a chronological introspection of her life as it progressed over the next two years, resulting in her second album, Good Person. “It was just a very natural progression of my life during the pandemic,” says Andress, “having the time to really sit with my thoughts, and myself, and go deeper than I was ever planning.”

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Recalibrating her mind around how she perceived others and reflecting on the ways people often misjudge or mistakenly love one another, Andress began breaking down her own relationship, while questioning what it means to be a decent human being and began a dialogue with herself on Good Person, beginning with the emotive title track, pondering all her mistakes and character. 

On “Yearbook,” Andress steps in deeper, evaluating her then-current relationship which ended while she wrote Good Person, and deciphering the reasons why some people stay together long after they’ve parted ways, mentally and physically. “I began questioning what it means to be in a healthy relationship, because there are people that stay together and they’re not happy since there’s often a stigma around divorce, especially in the South,” says Andress. “I realized that I was unhappy in the relationship that I was in, and how unhealthy it was, which led to breaking up with that person, which was painful, but it opened the door for me to find a new relationship that was much healthier.”

Chronicling beyond the exposing stories of Lady Like, Andress has grown as a songwriter and a producer, co-producing Good Person with Sam Ellis and AJ Pruis, and finding a more comfortable space to create her own sound. 

“Sometimes I feel like a lot of people are pressured to have to fit into a box sonically, and I just don’t work well that way,” shares Andress. “I intentionally went into the second album eliminating any boxes or guidelines of what I should be sounding like or what is going to do well on radio and just let myself explore and challenge my own abilities as a producer. Genres are cool, and I love writing country songs, but when it comes to sonics, I don’t want to be bored. I challenged myself, and I discovered new territories with where I can go.”

A first for Andress was writing love songs. Created by a combination of co-writers—Ellis and Pruis, along with Derrick Southerland, Alex Stacey, Tommy Gee, David Fremberg, Mich Hansen, Jesse Frasure, Laura Veltz, Julia Michaels, and Pete Good—the 12 songs of Good Person were written in the order they appear and ripple around self-deprecation and discovery—from the airy stir of “Talk” and slightly pepped up “How Honest Do You Want Me To Be?” to a nearly tearful “No Choice,” written when Andress decided to leave her then-partner and process the end of that relationship. An emerging love seems promising on “Feel Like This” and “Falling For You” through the more pensive “Things That Haven’t Happened Yet.” I’m only 29, but I’ve died a hundred times/ Married way too young / Never found someone to love / I’ve watched my hair turn grey / tossed flowers on both my parents’ graves / and the night’s just halfway over, she sings.

Throughout Good Person, Andress willfully walks through the pain of a breakup because it’s worth it. “Sometimes the best path for us is the one that is the most difficult,” she says. “I was searching for encouragement at that time because we don’t ever talk about those in-between moments. People say, ‘Oh, it’s hard, but it’s gonna be fine.’ No, it’s actually really painful. It’s not always as seamless as storybooks.”

Her revelatory storyline displays how relationships are transformative, whether initially recognized or realized later in retrospect. “What was so interesting about this whole process is realizing how much who you surround yourself with and who you love definitely impacts the decisions you make on a daily basis,” says Andress. “You can be headstrong and be as tough as you want, but you can still end up in a toxic relationship. I always thought, ‘Oh, that’ll never happen to me,’ but it can happen to anybody.”

Now, with each album, Andress says she’s learning to be more vulnerable. “When you start writing, you’re always afraid, thinking, ‘This is too much information about me,’ and I didn’t want to throw everything out there, but I’m hoping that with every album I’m better articulating the complex emotions that I have with things. This album definitely pushed me to be a lot more vulnerable than I was on the first album.”

She adds, “If you were to tell me, when I’ve released Lady Like that I’d be writing about all this stuff now, I would have been like, ‘No way, that’s way too honest,’ but I’m realizing, with time, the more real you can be with people, it’s just more relatable in the end.”

Photo by Olivia Bee

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