MICHAEL GRIMM

MICHAEL GRIMM

With his soulful voice and earthy Southern charm, Mississippi-bred Michael Grimm charmed millions of viewers as a contestant on Season Five of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, parlaying his substantial singer-songwriter appeal into a first-place finish, a one-million-dollar prize, and the headline spot on the first-ever national “America’s Got Talent Tour,” which visited major cities throughout the U.S. in the fall of 2010.

He also earned himself a devoted fan base eager to hear what he will do when he releases his own album. Grimm has signed to Epic Records, which will release his major-label debut in the spring. “The album will include both original songs I’ve written, as well as covers of classic songs that I love,” Grimm says. “We’re still recording it, but if I had to sum up the direction, I’d have to say ‘soulful Americana.’ That’s exactly where we’re going with it.”

Grimm comes by his rootsy bonafides the authentic way as a true son of the South. From the age of five, he grew up in Waveland, a small Gulf town in Mississippi that sits between New Orleans and Biloxi. “It’s a very humble, charming town. I loved growing up there,” he says. Grimm’s father was in the military and Grimm was born in Colorado on the Fort Carson base. After his father was discharged, the family moved to Slidell, Louisiana. “My dad was not making any money,” Grimm says, “so my mother cleaned churches to try to pay the bills. We lived in a little camper that had holes in the floor. I remember if you looked straight through the hole in my bedroom floor, you could see the ground underneath. The funny thing is, I thought I had everything in the world. Looking back, all I owned were a few hand-me-down toys, but it didn’t bother me at the time.”

When it became too difficult from Grimm’s parents to support him and his younger sister, Grimm’s grandparents took the kids to live with them in Waveland. Grimm’s grandmother played piano in a church and taught Michael and his sister her favorite gospel hymns. “That’s what first inspired me to sing,” Grimm recalls. “My grandmother took a liking to our voices. She said, ‘Both of you kids are very talented, you should sing.’ In a blue-collar family, she wasn’t really looking to me being an attorney. But she loved music and I think a light went off in her head that encouraging us to enjoy music would keep us out of trouble.”

Grimm grew up listening to the country artists his grandmother favored, classics like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, George Jones, and Ray Price. When he was 11, Grimm sang at a wedding. One of the guests heard him and made him an offer. “This guy owned a bar, and he said, ‘I know you’re going on 12, but if you bring a legal guardian and you want to sing a karaoke set here … we can’t pay you anything, but you can put a tip jar down.’” Grimm accepted and wound up performing there for the next several years. At age 15, he began writing songs. Figuring he needed some instrumental accompaniment, he picked up a guitar and taught himself to play. “Just being a singer won’t put bread on the table,” he says. “You’ve got to have something else going. I needed to be a musician.” A few years later, he was hired as a guitarist and back-up vocalist for the live celebrity impersonation show “Legends in Concert” in Biloxi.

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MICHAEL GRIMM with Richard Mann and the Union Drifters, 13 To Midnight

Friday, November 29 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Coach House