Peter Grant - Manchester
Featured Tours

Peter Grant – Manchester

Wednesay 14th March
Ruby Lounge Manchester

Peter Grant
plus Guests

He’s been endorsed by Gary Barlow who called him “one to watch”, likened to Adele thanks to his soulful voice, and is already a firm favourite with Radio 2. Not bad for a 24 year-old from York who recorded most of his new album while sleeping on a floor.

If you think you’ve heard Peter Grant’s name before, it’s probably because you have. So let’s go right back to the beginning of his story and bring you properly up to speed….

Peter started singing at the tender age of seven, taking influence from his father who used to gig in local bars and clubs. “I loved watching my dad perform and I’d sometimes get up on stage and sing a couple of cheesy songs with him. People who were around my dad were singing big standards, Rat Pack and jazzy numbers, and I got hooked. From then on I started spending any money I got on vinyl. Music became everything to me and I decided to learn the piano. By the time I was 12 I was gigging in to old people’s homes, working men’s clubs – you name it.”

Word soon spread across the circuit about Peter’s incredible voice and some local agents picked him up. “By the time I hit my teens I was singing at weddings, funerals, clubs, corporate events – the lot. Then I moved to more credible venues like Jazz clubs. I wanted to get as much experience as possible. School became secondary, but thankfully my parents were really behind me and they could see how hard I was working at the music. I started writing my own songs and I had a mini studio set up at home and I would vibe stuff and try out different sounds. I also made a few extra quid making backing tracks for other artists who played in clubs. I devoted everything to music.”

A couple of years later – having made a name for himself on the club circuit – a 16 year-old Peter was offered several jobs singing on cruise ships. But with school yet to finish, it was a tough choice to make. After weighing up his options he decided to go for it, knowing that music mattered more to him than anything else.

When he returned with a wealth of experience behind him, he was ready to take the next step towards making and releasing an album. So, aged 17, he decided to try out for a pretty well known talent competition. “X Factor was coming to Leeds so I decided to try out. I performed for Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne and got put through, but when I was sent the contract to sign I realised that they would have basically owned me, so I didn’t take it any further. I was really torn because I knew it could have been my big chance, but I had to stay true to myself and trust my gut feeling.”

It was evident he’d made the right decision when he was spotted by Don Readman from Focus Music whilst playing a gig. He was swiftly signed to Universal Music, and two weeks later found himself recording in Abbey Road Studios. “It was mad. I was there with a full orchestra making my first album, which was released when I was 18. I was overwhelmed by all the attention I was getting. Three weeks before I’d been driving 300 miles to go to a gig and sleeping in my car because I couldn’t afford a hotel room, and here I was being put up in The Hilton.”

Peter’s debut album, New Vintage, went top ten and achieved gold status, selling over 200,000 copies. The second album, Traditional, followed soon after. “I wasn’t given the chance to be properly involved with the second album and I didn’t like the way I was styled. The record company were trying to make me something I wasn’t comfortable with it. I think it showed as my heart wasn’t in it.”

When the time came for Peter to record his third album, he had lost even more faith in his deal. So when a covers album was suggested, he knew it was time to walk away. “It was a nightmare and I spent the next six months in a legal battle which left me broke. I found myself at 21 at a total loss as to what I was going to do next. I was literally watching everything fall apart in front of my face.”

After taking some time out to work out his next move, he began working with a producer friend called Andy Wright (Simply Red, Imelda May) at Sphere Studios in Battersea. “Sphere Studios became my home – literally. I was so skint I ended up living in a spare room there. I had a rail for my clothes, my music equipment and a bed on the floor. It was ridiculous, but also the best place I’ve ever lived. I had no money but the local gym let me go there for free, and an amazing guy called Shane Mani owned a restaurant around the corner and would feed me for free every night. For 18 months I got wrecked, made great music and slept in a room with no windows. I learnt an incredible amount and got to play with all of the big boy toys. I started writing songs and making tracks again, and although it was the poorest time of my life, it was the best.”

18 months ago Peter moved into his own flat (complete with windows) and continued working at the studios with the likes of Peter Vitesse, Roachy, Gavin Goldberg and Andy Wright. Then along came the break he’d been waiting for. “I’d been creating my own tracks, but I had no money to put them out. Then through my manager Claire XXXX I got an investor. That money allowed me to make the album and I went to The Dog House in Henley to do some sessions with Mark Hudson (Aerosmith, Ringo Starr, Hanson) and various other writers. We came away with 70 songs, from which we selected 12. I got a band together and we recorded at Sphere, The Dog House and Abbey Road.”

The album, Too Close, is set for release next year, and two tracks have already been selected to feature in Noel Clarke’s latest film The Knot, which hits cinemas on Valentine’s Day. “The album is pop as in its popular music and contemporary. But the songs are still credible with big, dramatic sounds and classic production. My voice is naturally very croony, so it’s also got a jazzy feel to it. There are Arabic influences on there, hip-hop grooves, orchestral sounds – it’s a real mish-mash. I spent a lot of time travelling around India and Egypt and those experiences definitely shaped the album too. I finally feel like I’ve made the album I’ve always wanted to.”

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