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Alternative and Indie

John Grant

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About

Witty, forcefully honest American singer-songwriter with an Elton John seal of approval

American songwriter John Grant delves into his demons and dark times with a brutal honesty and deadpan wit. Born in Michigan and raised in Colorado by religious parents, Grant’s first struggles were with his family and community’s rejection of his homosexuality. From there, addiction took hold. Grant fled to Germany to study languages and formed the cult band the Czars on his return. Together, the band released five albums of sombre, melancholic indie, seasoned with elements of Americana, jazz, shoegaze and dream pop.

The Czars called it a day in 2004. Grant moved to New York and found kindred spirits in bands such as Midlake and The Flaming Lips. Facing down his addictions and still writing, Grant decided to return to music in 2009, recording his solo debut Queen Of Denmark with members of Midlake. The album was well-received on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Grant decamped to Iceland for his second solo album, a more electronic affair created with Icelandic electro-pop band GusGus and featuring a guest performance from Sinéad O’Connor. Finding a new home in Reykjavik, Grant endeared himself to his adopted countrymen by co-writing their 2014 Eurovision entry.

Once more demonstrating his love of electronic textures and collaboration, Grant teamed up with John Congleton, Tracey Thorne, Amanda Palmer and Budgie (Siouxsie And The Banshees) for his 2015 album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. His idiosyncratic reputation was only furthered when he wrote a song for Robbie Williams before forming the band Creep Show with members of Cabaret Voltaire and Tunng.

Grant’s fourth album, Love Is Magic, found the singer-songwriter delving further into electronica while covering themes from video arcades to Chelsea Manning. He returned in introspective form on 2021’s Boy From Michigan, produced by Welsh producer and singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon.