John Grant

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Mar 6

John Grant’s late career surge gives hope to all who wish to believe the best is yet to come. It wasn’t until he was 26 that the Michigan native decided music, not translation, was the career he sought. Having studied in Germany for six years, Grant returned to America and duly formed The Czars in 1994. After two self-produced and self-released albums that left even the band themselves dissatisfied, the group finally released a professional debut in 2000, Before... But Longer. Four years later The Czars disbanded, leaving behind a catalogue of jazzy, electro-tinged folk and rock records that were critically well received but no sort of commercial breakthrough.

One constant through The Czars’ existence was the praise afforded to Grant’s vocals and lyrics. Frequently saturnine, like Morrissey at his best, Grant manages to write of gloomy topics with a poetry that elevates his words above more average lyricists.

Some six years after Goodbye, The Czar’s final album, Grant released his first solo LP, The Queen of Denmark. By turns dark and witty, the album was a breakthrough for the then 41-years-old Grant and was declared album of the year by British music mag Mojo

Never one to shy away from personal confessions in his music, in 2012 Grant revealed onstage that he was HIV positive. Regardless of the positive headlines generated by Grant’s courageous announcement, it was 2013’s Pale Green Ghosts that cemented his late arrival as an artist of renown. The album earned him a Brit award nomination for best international male solo artist that put him in the same bracket as Eminem, Drake, Justin Timberlake and eventual winner Bruno Mars.

Grant continues to ride the wave of his newfound fame. Last year’s Grey Tickles, Black Pressure received great praise and landed in the top five of the UK albums chart. It’s ample reward for an artist who has battled self-loathing and other demons most of his life. Able to shift effortlessly from an elemental baritone to a fragile falsetto, his voice is wondrous live. If you fail to bag tickets to Bon Iver or Death Cab, Grant is a more than worthy substitute. Douglas Parkes

John Grant Sun Mar 6, Music Zone @ E-Max, KITEC. Tickets: $560 (adv), $650 (door);


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