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03 November

John Grant

A Top 10 UK chart entry for his 2021 album Boy From Michigan, which also topped the vinyl charts; across-the-board praise (“One of the great singer-songwriters of our time” … “An expansive and frequently exquisite summation of Grant’s storytelling powers”); 

The last 13 years have been an astonishing era for Grant, since the boy from Michigan released his belated debut solo album Queen Of Denmark after a prolonged exile from the music business. After the album was voted MOJO Magazine’s best of 2010, Grant’s profile has risen through a series of rapturously received and chart-bothering albums that entwined acutely melodic chamber-pop with darkly glittering dance music tropes, centred on synth-pop and disco. Against this brooding and inventive backdrop and channelled through his glorious dulcet baritone, Grant unleashed autobiographical laments and diatribes, as painful and intimate as they were caustic and savagely funny.

Grant had mastered the art of gorgeous, country-flecked melody and gripping narratives, and once he’d embraced sobriety, the exquisitely brooding and rousing soft-rock contours of Queen Of Denmark changed his life. Between that debut and Boy From Michigan are three albums. 2013’s Pale Green Ghosts (recorded in Reykjavik, after which he decided to stay) helped earn him Attitude Magazine’s Man of the Year award, and then the greatest accolade so far, Best International Male Solo Artist nomination at the 2014 BRITS, alongside EminemJustin TimberlakeBruno Mars and Drake. After recording tracks accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for BBC Radio 6 Music (later released as John Grant And The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra: Live In Concert), Grant released Grey TicklesBlack Pressure in 2015, his first Top Five UK album. 2017’s Top 20 album Love Is Magic was his most electronic album yet, co-produced by synthesiser savant Benge, a member of the electronic trio Wrangler, Grant’s collaborators under the collective name of Creep Show for 2018’s dynamic album Mr Dynamite and this year’s upcoming second album Yawning Abyss.

Whilst forging his own records, Grant’s adventures in mood, texture and sound has featured numerous collaborators, including Sinead O’ConnorAlison GoldfrappHercules And Love AffairTracey ThorneElbowKylie MinogueRobbie WilliamsMidlakeSusanne SundførCate Le Bon and Lost Horizons, the roving collective co-founded by Simon Raymonde, whose record label Bella Union has supported Grant since the days of The Czars.

Grant was also one of four vocalists to perform Songs Of Scott Walker (1967-70), part of 2017’s BBC Proms season backed by the BBC Philharmonic at London’s Royal Albert Hall – a venue that Grant had sold out on his own the previous year 2016. There have been soundtrack collaborations too, with Grant’s songs featured in the film drama Weekend, the HBO TV series Looking and Queerama, which documented a century of LGBT+ pride and persecution.

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