Andy Grammer penned his 2011 breakthrough hit “Keep Your Head Up” to cheer himself up while busking for daily change in Santa Monica, a hardscrabble existence at the time, and he’s been composing ebullient, self-empowering ditties (“Fine By Me,”“Honey, I’m Good,” “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)”) ever since.
But somewhere between his third album, 2017’s “The Good Parts,” and a just-released fourth, “Naive,” he got the blues.
“When you’re feeling your purpose — and I think mine is to regularly remind people how good life can be — you have a lot of energy at your disposal. But it’s never easy, and this time around I found myself really struggling to find the magic,” says Grammer, who plays the Fillmore on Saturday.
He says the new album’s title isn’t self-referential. He’s always viewed life as a glass-is-half-full guy, and as he attempts to cheer up listeners with a positive message in today’s grim political era, he’s often dismissed as being naive, even ignorant: “So to me, trying to bring some light into the darkness is a rebellious thing, and I’ve made it my life’s work. If that makes me stupid, I don’t care; I’m going to continue to do it anyway.”
Things, in fact, had been going well for the Los Angeles native. He competed on the 21st season of “Dancing With the Stars” with his wife Aijia Lise; welcomed a daughter, Louisiana, in 2017; and launched his own podcast “The Good Parts” wherein he and friends and fellow celebrities discuss existential topics such as what happens to people’s consciousness when they die.
So it made perfect sense when his wife gifted him with a phone session with a medium who could channel voices from the other side. Grammer says the clairvoyant told him, “Your late mom is coming through, and she wants you to write a song for your daughter about everything she’d say to her if she was there.” He thought it was a great idea.
It led to “She’d Say,” a haunting but happy track on “Naive” featuring one of his mother’s favorite groups, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The rest — including “Wish You Pain” (based on his belief that suffering leads to growth and wisdom) and “Don’t Give Up On Me,” an ode to his craft itself — fell like dominoes.
Many artists change with the fickle times, Grammer says: “And that’s their downfall. So if you make it to album no. 4 and you still know who you are? That’s a pretty wonderful place to be.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com