About John Grant
John Grant is an American singer-songwriter and former member of the Denver-based alternative rock band the Czars. After recording six studio albums with the Czars, he embarked on a solo career in 2010.
His debut solo album Queen of Denmark was named in 2010 the best album of the year by Mojo. In 2015, his third studio album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure received widespread critical acclaim, and peaked at number 5 in the UK albums chart. His fourth album Love is Magic was released in 2018 and entered into the top 20 in the UK.
Grant has also collaborated with numerous artists including Sinéad O'Connor, Goldfrapp, Tracey Thorn, Elbow, Beth Orton, Conor O'Brien, Damien Dempsey, Hercules & Love Affair, Midlake,Kylie Minogue, Budgie,Robbie Williams and Piano Magic.
Grant was born in Buchanan, Michigan, but later raised in Parker, Colorado by his engineer father and housewife mother. He was brought up in an orthodox Methodist household, at odds with his emerging sexuality. At high school he was, on occasion, bullied both physically and emotionally by his fellow pupils. Grant now sings openly, often with caustic candour, about the landmark experiences that have pained and shaped his complex life to date; it took Grant until his mid-twenties to feel comfortable with his sexuality, having been raised in an environment where it was "clear that those people were going to hell". Grant moved to Germany in 1988 to continue his study of languages and is fluent in German, Russian and Spanish, as well as Icelandic, the language of his newly adopted home. Bands he listened to at that time were "Ministry, Skinny Puppy, poppy stuff like Scritti Politti and Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Cocteau Twins". Prior to his solo music career, Grant worked in various jobs including as a waiter, record store clerk, a translator and as an air steward based in New York City.
After some years in Germany studying and working Grant returned to the US in 1994. Along with Chris Pearson, Andy Moneley, Jeff Linsenmaier and Roger Green he formed the alternative, Denver-based rock band The Czars. They enjoyed critical success, releasing six studio albums, but commercial recognition proved elusive. These were troubling years for Grant as he battled with drug and alcohol addictions. On top of this he struggled with severe anxiety, a condition that has stalked him throughout his adult life. While still with The Czars, Grant, who had always been a huge fan of the Cocteau Twins, met with Simon Raymonde. Raymonde had recently started the record label Bella Union and although not particularly looking for new acts at that time he sensed the potential. He agreed to produce two Czars albums. Unfortunately the alcohol and substance abuse continued for Grant and after releasing Sorry I Made You Cry in 2004 the band split. Following the demise of the band, Grant moved to New York and "returned to mainstream society", as he put it at the time. He worked for a while as a waiter before taking up work as a medical interpreter for Russian in a city hospital. He felt compelled to continue writing music during this time. It was also during this time that Grant began the process of confronting the addictions that had been so destructive during his time with the Czars.Best Of was released in December 2014 on the Bella Union label.
While still working and writing in New York, it was the Texan folk rock group Midlake who eventually persuaded Grant to return to the recording studio. They joined him to record and produce what would be his first solo album; Queen of Denmark. It was released on the Bella Union label in April 2010. Described as a "deeply personal album" it explores Grant's struggles with alcohol and drug addiction as well as his personal struggle to reconcile his sexuality. "Brothers" was how Grant described Midlake when interviewed at a later date for the publication MusicOhm.
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