Donna Grantis Interview – Blues, Jazz & Rock Guitarist for Prince. Interview September 24, 2012.
Donna Grantis Interview
1. What are some of your musical projects right now?
I’m leading an instrumental jazz-rock / fusion trio called the Donna Grantis Electric Band. I also write, record and perform with Shakura S’Aida (Indie’s Blues Artist of the Year), soul-rock songstress Saidah Baba Talibah (described as Living Color meets Erykah Badu) and Hill & The Sky Heroes (an Alien Surf Rock group). I play with Kardinal Offishall, Amanda Marshall and I’m the guitarist and musical director of the annual Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall in Toronto.
2. How was your summer any cool tours?
It was awesome! I had a residency at The Orbit Room during the Toronto Jazz Festival with my Electric Band. I was on tour with Shakura S’AIda for most of July in western Canada. Hill & The Sky Heroes played a sold out record release party at the Drake in support of the band’s debut album, 11:11. Saidah’s been rockin’ it too – with shows from Montreal to Germany. We wrote some new material together this summer for the upcoming album.
3. What are some of your current endorsements?
I endorse D’Addario strings (I play EXL115 Blues / Jazz Rock strings), Planet Waves cables and accessories, Steve Clayton guitar picks (I use teardrop shaped, heavy guage 1.1mm, delrin picks), Traynor Amps and PRS Guitars. My main axe is a PRS CE22 that I’ve been playing since 1998.
4. What’s your take on sex appeal in the music industry?
I think sex appeal comes from owning the stage and really connecting with the audience through your voice or instrument.
5. What are some of the best social media sites you use to promote yourself as a musician?
6. Do you practice your instrument every day to keep up with current styles and genres?
Between rehearsals, writing sessions, gigs, learning new material for upcoming shows and practicing for personal development, I play just about every day.
7. What would be some of your main influences?
Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, John Scofield, Slash, Kenny Burrell, Bill Frisell, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Oz Noy to name just a few!
8. Could you describe what goes on in a day in your life?
Music is a big part of my day – learning new material, rehearsing, gigging, practicing, listening, writing and/or recording. There’s also the business side of things – emails, scheduling, accounting, staying on top of social media sites, designing Electric Band artwork and merch, booking shows, promoting them, creating short and long term plans, etc. I really like to do yoga and work out. Over the past year, I’ve been delving into whole food recipes inspired by vegan athlete Brendan Brazier, so trying out new smoothies, energy bars or plant based meals has become a regular part of my day.
9. Any upcoming tour dates?
Yeah! I’m currently on tour in Europe with the Electric Band…
Sept 29 – Alkmaar Blues Xpress, Cafe De Dtapper
Sept 30 – Almaar Blues Xpress, Cafe Prinsheerlijk
Oct 6 – Hengelo, Jazz Experience Festival
Oct 11 – Apeldoorn, Bluescafe
Oct 13 – Garaasj, Blues Rock Cafe
Oct 17 – Amsterdam, Maloe Mello
Oct 18 – Luxembourg, Neumunster
Oct 19 – Alkmaar, 072
Oct 20 – Terschelling, Sleepy Hunter Blues Club
10. Any advice for musicians that are starting in the music industry?
Clearly define your goals and relentlessly work towards achieving them. Always put your best material forward. Follow your vision. Build a great career on your own. Collaborate with others who strongly believe in your project and who share an unwavering work ethic like yourself. Do what you love and love what you do!
Check out Donna Grantis Online http://donnagrantis.com/