John Grant: ‘I’m sensitive. I spent a lot of time trying to destroy that’

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John Grant: ‘I’m sensitive. I spent a lot of time trying to destroy that’

The rollercoaster-loving, Chris-Morris-worshipping songwriter is back with more mordantly funny and exquisitely painful songs about nationalism, Chelsea Manning and love

John Grant was born in 1968 in Michigan and raised in Colorado, in a Methodist household that disapproved of his homosexuality. His mother, who died of lung cancer in 1995, called him a “disappointment”. He was a drug addict, the frontman of the Czars and a waiter before releasing three acclaimed solo albums of heartfelt melancholy and exquisitely raw lyrics that resulted in a Brit award nomination in 2014 for best international male solo artist. He says his new album, Love Is Magic, is “more of an amalgamation of who I am” and captures “the absurdity and beauty of life”.

On Love Is Magic, you collaborate with the electronic artist Benge [Ben Edwards, who plays in Wrangler with the former Cabaret Voltaire man Stephen Mallinder]. How did that come about?
I had an amazing time doing the Creep Show album with them last year and we clicked. I felt he could help me realise my vision. When Wrangler opened for me at the Royal Albert Hall, I went on stage to remind everybody that they were seeing British royalty. I wasn’t talking about myself!

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