Steve Grand has been writing music since the age of eleven, and dreaming about recording and performing for as long as he can remember. Yet, only recently, did he decide that he was “ready” to take his shot at building a career as an artist. And was he ever!
The release of his first original song and music video, “All-American Boy” on YouTube on July 2, 2013, was an overnight success, accumulating more than 1.5 million views in the first two weeks, and more than 2 million today. The song, set against a familiar backdrop of country roads, an American flag and friends around a campfire, struck a chord because it simply, beautifully tells the story of unrequited love between two men.
Within days, Steve found himself on “Good Morning America,” CNN and in other national media, hailed as one of America’s “first openly gay country stars.” Recently, Steve released his second single, “Stay.”
Born in Chicago and raised in Lemont, Illinois, Steve struggled for many years to accept himself as a gay person. Always feeling like an “outsider,” he turned to music for comfort and strength, taking piano lessons and teaching himself to play guitar and flute. In high school, Steve participated in show choir, and marching band, as well as singing or playing in multiple bands with other music-oriented peers. As a senior, he was an Illinois Music Educators Association Finalist in voice. With his father and brother, Steve enjoyed scouting, ultimately attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
Steve completed his Freshman year of college in the music business program at Belmont University in Nashville, before returning to Chicago to attend community college and the University of Illinois at Chicago. With a deep sense that music is the only thing he could ever do in life, Steve put his college career “on hold” in 2011 to focus on writing and recording original music. In the two years since, he has produced a substantial catalog of compositions and recordings, some of which he plans to release shortly—most likely in the form of an independently produced EP. Until recently, he made his living by performing weekly at Chicago music venue The Joynt, and as a music leader at four Catholic churches in the Chicago area.