About Nate Grant
It’s one thing to dream. It’s another to chase it. It’s one thing further when chasing a dream means living out of your car, taking sink baths in highway rest stops and living on a diet of peanut butter & jelly and Spaghetti O’s. That’s exactly what Nate Grant did. The result: a self titled debut EP that made every second of it worth it.
If there’s a lesson to take from all of this it is never doubt an artist who believes in themselves so much that they’re willing to put it all on the line.
Grant’s story is unlike any other particularly because it starts so late. In fact, some would argue he didn’t choose his dream but his dream chose him. How else would you explain how a man in his mid-30’s with a three bedroom house, corvette in the driveway and his foot on the brink of a career on a NASCAR pit crew ends up criss-crossing the country in a 1997 Lincoln Mark VIII?
Today Grant’s life is different. In addition to his self-titled debut EP, he has resident gigs at two of Austin’s most coveted clubs – Maggie Mae’s and the Voodoo Room. Being able to count on those gigs is a far cry from the road dog days he spent in 2014 chasing shows all over the country.
“I left Chicago in June of ’14 and hit the road,” remembers Grant. “I headed to San Antonio, up to Reno, over to LA, San Diego and up and down the west coast. Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Albuquerque. Club gigs, house gigs, VFW halls, you name it. Anywhere I could book a show, I went.”
Nate’s story really starts at the end of ’05 in the suburbs of Chicago. A career auto mechanic, he was mired in a marriage circling the drain and miserable with his job when an opportunity opened up in Charlotte, NC at a Honda dealership owned by Rick Hendrick of NASCAR fame. A lifelong fan who dreamed of working on a Cup team, Nate made the move. Between working at the dealer and hanging around race shops, Nate was meeting drivers, crew chiefs, anyone and everyone as he tried to get onto a Cup team. He interviewed with driver Kevin Harvick for his Busch team, team owners Richard Childress and Joe Gibbs and many other NASCAR elite who all said the same thing: “…as soon as a spot opens up you should be up here with us.” Problem is openings in the industry are few and far between.
Life continued and Nate stood on the NASCAR doorstep until the economy bottomed out in’08, bottoming him out so bad he lost it all. Within two years his house went into foreclosure, his relationship with a longtime girlfriend dissolved, he lost his corvette and his father committed suicide.
Amidst the misery, one significant uptick took place in ‘10 when he met singer / songwriter Graham Colton. Graham was playing a club in town with Green River Ordinance and Nate not only got there early, he talked his way in to watch sound check when Graham took a seat next to him at the table. The pair got to talking, hung out after the show and stayed in touch after that. When Grant brought up his own music, Colton was interested to hear it. A couple cell phone recordings and Colton became intrigued. The two started talking arrangements until Colton finally told Grant when he was ready to record, he would be interested in producing the record.
Grant went back to Chicago in the summer of ’12 for his little sisters wedding (he walked her down the aisle) and while there decided to move back. He took a job at a small auto repair shop on the condition he cold be off during the weekends. Soon enough Grant and his guitar were gracing the stages of venues like the Abbey Pub and the Elbo Room. By summer 2013 he was also hosting weekly songwriter nights.
This went on until Grant hit the road a year later with a PA system in the trunk, clothes in the backseat and a cooler riding shotgun. Between shows he would find parks he could camp in. For baths he would stop at a rest stop, lock himself in and take a sink bath.
“I had an extra towel I used for the floor and I would stand on that while I stripped down to give myself a bath out of the sink. Food was whatever was the cheapest. PB&J. Spaghetti O’s. Lunchmeat. It was living frugal for the longest time.”
The fruits of that five-month tour, along with the thousands he raised in a Kickstarter campaign afforded Grant the chance to go into the studio in the fall of ’14 to record his self titled EP. As promised, Graham Colton not only produced the project but directed the session players as they laid down their tracks while Grant fulfilled his obligations on the road. By November, everything was recorded and Nate needed only to record his vocal tracks over it.
In the end, the EP is perfect for a debut. Raw yet polished. Emotive and evocative, the songs that make up Nate Grant are what music was intended to be: a mainline to the heart with songs that reach into the listener’s soul.
Citing “Let Me Go” and “Heart Around” as his personal favorites, the EP is already garnering radio interest. Richard Milne from “Local Anesthetic” on WXRT-FM (Chicago) has shown interest and traffic on iTunes Radio, Spotify and all the streaming services are doing well.
“There were times I got nervous. I never considered giving up but there were more than a few times I thought ‘…how will I have enough money or gas to get to the next show’ but by the grace of God something always seemed to come through. This was definitely a leap of faith…but it was worth every second of it.”