Andrew Ripp

Palatine native Andrew Ripp is up for a Grammy for "Rescue Story," a song he co-wrote for Zach Williams. - Courtesy of Andrew Ripp

Palatine native Andrew Ripp writing for a win at Sunday’s Grammys

Palatine-raised singer-songwriter Andrew Ripp is doing it up big for his first visit to Los Angeles as a Grammy nominee.

“I’ve learned from getting a little older the importance of celebrating these moments, soaking them all in,” he said. “So we’re doing the whole thing: We’re going to walk the red carpet. We’re going to wear the crazy, awesome outfits and take photos and do the interviews. We’re gonna do it all.”

Ripp, a 2000 graduate of Palatine High School now living in Nashville, is hoping to bring home a win Sunday with Zach Williams’ “Rescue Story,” a song he cowrote. It’s nominated for best contemporary Christian music performance/song.

“It’s always been a dream,” Ripp said of his nomination. “But I didn’t think it was going to come true the way that it has.”

Ripp, whose solo career focus has been primarily in the pop singer-songwriter world, didn’t set out to write the song for another performer.

“It was just an idea in my phone, and I brought it up in a writing session thinking it was going to be for me,” he said.

A friend suggested they send the song, inspired by Ripp’s spiritual journey, to Williams, who finished it up and included it on his latest album.

“We got to go into the studio and sing gospel vocals along with the gospel choir, which was awesome,” Ripp said.

“When I write songs, I don’t like to put them in a box. … I don’t really aim at anything. I just kind of write what’s happening in the room. And whatever doors open, I go through them,” he said. “But my heart is rooted in that gospel faith, so when I write songs, they just come out the way they do. When my friend heard ‘Rescue Story,’ it was really my story.”

Ripp is following up this Grammy nomination with the upcoming release of a new single, “God Knows,” due out in February. He has previously written songs for Ryan Cabrera and had songs featured on “American Idol” and “One Tree Hill.”

“We get our head in the game, and we start thinking business when we’re creating art, and that can get in the way of the emotional connection of the song,” he said. “I try to stay out of the way, make the best song that I can in that room that day, and then let go of the results.”

The 2020 Grammy Awards will air at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, on CBS.

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