John Grant (musician)

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John Grant
John Grant 2014.jpg
John Grant performing live at Jena, Kulturarena, July 24th, 2014.
Background information
Birth name John Grant
Born (1967-07-25) 25 July 1967 (age 48)
Origin Parker, Colorado
Genres Folk, alternative rock, indie rock
Instruments Vocals, piano
Labels Bella Union Partisan USA, Sena Iceland
Associated acts The Czars, Midlake

John Grant (born 25 July 1967) is an American singer-songwriter. Formerly associated with the Denver-based alternative rock band The Czars in the 1990s and early 2000s,[1] he launched a career as a solo artist in 2010.


Grant was born in Buchanan, Michigan and raised in Parker, Colorado. He studied languages in Germany and after The Czars split up in 2006, based himself in New York, London, Berlin and Iceland.

Following The Czars Grant took some time off from making music and returned to recording and performing in 2010 with his debut solo album Queen of Denmark. Released on April 6, 2010, it had been recorded in collaboration with the American folk-rock band Midlake and released on Bella Union. Described as a deeply personal album about his past struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and coming to terms with being gay, it was chosen as Best Album of 2010 by the British music magazine Mojo.[1]

Grant is currently living in Reykjavík, Iceland,[2] where he worked throughout 2012 on his second solo album Pale Green Ghosts with Birgir Þórarinsson, a.k.a. Biggi Veira of Iceland's electronic pioneers Gus Gus.[3]

Pale Green Ghosts was released on March 11, 2013. It was the Rough Trade 2013 Album of the Year. Grant was nominated for a Q Award in the category of Q Best Solo Artist.[4][5]He was also nominated as Best International Male Solo Artist at the BRITS 2014 and Attitude Magazine's Man of the Year.

John translated Ásgeir Trausti album Dýrð í dauðaþögn - the English version titled In the Silence was released in October 2013. In 2014, he co-wrote the Icelandic entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, "No Prejudice", performed by Pollapönk.[6]

In 2014, Grant appeared on the 40th Anniversary release of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" covering the song "Sweet Painted Lady". He was a special guest on The Feast of the Broken Heart, an album from Hercules and Love Affair released by Moshi Moshi records.[7]

Personal life[edit]

At a live performance with Hercules and Love Affair at the 2012 Meltdown festival, Grant publicly acknowledged for the first time that he is HIV-positive.[8]

In the album Pale Green Ghosts, John Grant sings about being HIV-positive in the track "Ernest Borgnine",[3] and several other tracks refer to his youth and to a former boyfriend.[9] As of 2015, Grant is in a relationship with an Icelandic graphic designer.[10]

In popular culture[edit]



with The Czars
  • 1996: Moodswing
  • 1997: The La Brea Tar Pits of Routine
  • 2000: Before...But Longer
  • 2001: The Ugly People vs. the Beautiful People
  • 2004: Goodbye
  • 2005: Sorry I Made You Cry


with The Czars
  • 2000: "Val"
  • 2002: "Side Effect"
  • 2002: "X Would Rather Listen"
  • 2004: "Paint the Moon"
  • 2013: 'Pale Green Ghosts", "GMF", "Glacier"


  1. ^ a b "John Grant getting his sad mojo working". Toronto Star, December 3, 2010.
  2. ^ Hull, Robert. "John Grant on Reykjavík". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d LISTEN: John Grant's 'Pale Green Ghosts'. Out, January 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "John Grant Nominated For Q Award". Bella Union. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "THE Q AWARDS 2013 NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT". Record of the Day. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  6. ^ - About Pollapönk
  7. ^ Lanre Bakare. "Hercules and Love Affair: The Feast of the Broken Heart review – more than just floor-fillers | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Hercules & Love Affair – Review". The Guardian, August 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "John Grant: 'I wanted to let some of the anger out'" - Interview by Dorian Lynskey. The Guardian, March 3, 2013.
  10. ^ Nicoll, Ruaridh. "How Icelandic saved John Grant: 'I feel safe here'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 

External links[edit]