Andrew Ripp creates music that pushes the boundaries of genre stereotypes, blending the energetic beats of pop music into a soul culture and adding the depth and groove of soul music into a pop culture. Since beginning his career in 2005, Ripp's songs and records have successfully impacted a diverse and growing audience including true music lovers: fans that appreciate the nuances of a well crafted album, and easy listeners: fans who simply want to hear a catchy tune.
Having an awe-inspiring voice is one thing, but knowing how to use that voice to share lyrics and emotion in a way that moves those who hear the songs is quite another. Ripp has grown in this over the years as a respected songwriter with the voice of an artist. Won't Let Go comes on the heels of Andrew Ripp celebrating a #1 album on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart in 2010 with his album "She Remains The Same," which was the follow-up to his debut album in 2008 "Fifty Miles to Chicago." Ripp, who is originally from Palatine, IL and now resides in Nashville, TN, is no stranger to the national music scene beginning his career as a songwriter and co-writing half of Ryan Cabrera's 2005 album "You Stand Watching," including "You Shine On," which landed on Billboard's Hot 100. Ripp has had a hand in writing songs that have been featured on "American Idol," "One Tree Hill," and "Live To Dance."
Since his last release, Andrew spent time writing and writing, not just creating a few songs and depending on his voice to carry the album. "The good ones," Andrew says, speaking of excellent artists, "they leave space in the songs." And over the last two years, Andrew has learned that skill. Having moved to Nashville with his wife at the encouragement of fellow musician and mentor, GRAMMY-nominated artist Dave Barnes, Andrew settled into the songwriting town and began to hone his talents and grow as an artist, musician, and songwriter.
His new album, "Won't Let Go," is full of the picks of the songwriting litter, with songs that resonate with the hearer as well as the creator. Working with award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (Civil Wars, Amy Grant, Holly Williams, Switchfoot) Andrew handed full control to him, allowing the songs to drive the recording process, not trying to turn the songs into something they weren't. You can hear that too -- the wrestling, the release, the emotion, the growth of the songs to a new sound that somehow feels familiar.
The album blends the work of Andrew himself with many other award-winning musicians, songwriters, as well as Peacock and engineer/mixer Richie Biggs, having had a hand in co-writing all 11 tracks. Ripp is deeply proud of what was created, though the price of hard work didn't come without its own challenges and trials. "Won't Let Go" will be the album that reminds us we don't have to figure it all out, just show up. "I did the work," Andrew says, "I gave it everything I have. As I wrote this record, I was writing these songs for me as a way to help me process what I was going through but as the songs came to life, I realized that these stories were for everyone because we all go through hard times and sometimes just knowing you're not the only one can offer a moment of hope."
"Won't Let Go" documents some of the hardest times in Andrew Ripp's personal and professional life but through hardships come hope and love and no one captures those emotions better than he does on this album. Stand out tracks include the single, "Cool Ya (Nobody Loves You Like I Do)," a catchy tune on the idea that no matter where you are, you are loved; the moving ballad "Just Enough" about how we are all given just enough hope along the way to make it through struggles in life; The up-tempo "When You Fall In Love" that depicts the security of a love that feels just right; the title track "Won't Let Go," that has become an anthem of sorts on the road for Ripp about staying strong through all of life's challenges; and the albums close, the poignant "Rescue Me," which features GRAMMY Award winner Vince Gill, and perfectly caps off Ripp's journey of hitting rock bottom but ultimately discovering the inner strength he needed.
"A good analogy I was given is: Our lives are like waves, they are always moving. No matter how good or bad things are, you can guarantee it won't be like that forever," said Andrew. "We embrace the beauty of the sunshine because there was rain. We feel joy because we had pain. I've decided to learn to love the difficult times because there's no escaping them, and that's when we grow." This is a theme that plays throughout "Won't Let Go" and one that many listeners will relate to.
A touring artist as well, Andrew's live performances continue to move the audience in just the right ways. Crowds don't want him to leave the stage when the show is over, and he's not sure he's ready to leave either. He has opened for and toured the country with artists including Jon Foreman, needtobreathe, Will Hoge, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Ripp continues to tour around the country in support of his forthcoming release "Won't Let Go," for the audiences that have supported him throughout the years as well as the new ones he continues to steadily make along the way.
"This album is rooted in the idea of hope and love," Andrew says, "and it is meant to speak life." Audiences can hear the depth of those messages in every lyric; in every note. Great songs deserve a great record and what has been created with "Won't Let Go" is just that- the record that other musicians will respect, fans have waited for, and newcomers will fall in love with.