Ingrid Andress cautions fans to get ready to be all up in their feelings as they listen to her debut album, Lady Like 

The 28-year-old pop songwriter-turned-country singer hand-crafted her first major-label studio album from personal life stories, along with those of her friends. The plights of internet dating and the concept of how romance has evolved since Andress’ childhood days watching Disney are among the project's themes.

“It's still real feelings that I've felt,” Andress shares with Taste of Country about the collections of songs she wrote three years ago. “It's really cool to look back and have those stories still be relevant in some way. The emotions are still very real.”

Andress processes heartbreak and tries to understand her emotions across eight tracks, while also serving as a voice for her peers, capturing the learning curves that millennials face in 21st-century dating.

“I feel like modern relationships are a different definition, not everybody is super in love all the time the way that Disney movies made us believe,” she asserts. Andress took matters into her own hands, writing songs that convey love not through rose-colored glasses, but the uncertainty and confusion that comes with modern-day relationships. Songs like “Both” and “We’re Not Friends” address this point, speaking to the fear of commitment and labeling relationships in the world of dating apps. Meanwhile, she delivers a playful candor on “Bad Advice,” adding a layer of humor to her inability to get over an ex through a series of failed remedies, including drowning her sorrows in a bottle of merlot and making out with a stranger in a parking lot.

“I was needing something else in my life to explain my feelings and my friends' feelings. I was like, ‘Let me just write something that I would want to listen to help me get through,’" she explains. 'It was actually pretty easy to formulate this new perspective because I feel like a lot of it came from listening to songs that didn't accurately portray my feelings."

But Andress makes a truly unwavering statement with the title track that closes the album. Coming from rural Colorado, the singer assumed that her western way of life would be similar to that of southern culture when she arrived in Nashville in 2014. But she faced a harsh reality as she was met with disapproval of how she carried herself as a woman in a male-dominated industry. She recalls the "constant commentary" she received from her male friends about cursing or not wearing dresses and other stereotypical feminine outfits when she first moved to town.

“A majority of the people in the music industry, at least in the writing world in Nashville, are men," she notes. “I feel like there was a lot of frustration silently circulating between women in this genre."

"Lady Like" acts as a series of statements counteracting this sexist phrase, with Andress openly admitting that she hasn't brushed her hair in days (her favorite line in the song), yet still possesses the power to leave your heart in a riot.

“I feel like the industry, at least in country music, had the certain label as to what a female artist should be," she continues. "I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I also knew that I did not want to follow any of those rules."

Clinging to her integrity, Andress wrote “Lady Like” out of defiance, making a proclamation of who she is while giving fair warning that she’s not changing for anyone.

“I really hope that people can relate to it and it can empower them to be who they are," she encourages.

The song is a personal declaration that not only encapsulates the album, but Andress' identity outside of the music. She hopes fans have their own self-discovery when they listen to the album, as she did creating it from a place of vulnerability and truth.

"I feel like after one listen, you're like, 'I know who that girl is and what she stands for,'" Andress determines of the project. “A lot of the times, we put on what we think people want to see or how we want to be perceived, but there's something really beautiful about being straightforward with how you feel. I think people will connect to each other a lot more if they're just honest with their feelings.”

Lady Like is available now.

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