With his soulful voice and earthy Southern charm, Mississippi-bred Michael Grimm charmed millions of viewers as a contestant on Season Five of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, parlaying his substantial singer-songwriter appeal into a first-place finish, a one-million-dollar prize, and the headline spot on the first-ever national “America’s Got Talent Tour,” which visited major cities throughout the U.S. in the fall of 2010.
Grimm comes by his rootsy bonafides the authentic way as a true son of the South. From the age of five, he grew up in Waveland, a small Gulf town in Mississippi that sits between New Orleans and Biloxi. “It’s a very humble, charming town. I loved growing up there,” he says. When it became too difficult from Grimm’s parents to support him and his younger sister, Grimm’s grandparents took the kids to live with them in Waveland. Grimm’s grandmother played piano in a church and taught Michael and his sister her favorite gospel hymns. “That’s what first inspired me to sing,” Grimm recalls.
Grimm grew up listening to the country artists his grandmother favored, classics like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, George Jones, and Ray Price. Grimm sang at a wedding when he was 11, which turned into karaoke bar gig for the next several years. At age 15, he began writing songs. Figuring he needed some instrumental accompaniment, he picked up a guitar and taught himself to play. A few years later, he was hired as a guitarist and back-up vocalist for the live celebrity impersonation show “Legends in Concert” in Biloxi.
At age 21, Grimm was offered a job performing at the “Legends in Concert” show in Las Vegas and made the move out west where he has lived for the past decade. In the spring of 2010, Grimm auditioned for the show America’s Got Talent, which debuted in June. Grimm’s obvious talent and genuine emotion resonated with viewers, who voted him the winner after the 31-year-old performed a roof-raising rendition of “When A Man Loves A Woman.” A fedora-wearing star was born.
Grimm worked with Grammy-award winning producer Don Was (The Rolling Stones, Elton John, B.B.King) to bring that sense of tradition to the songs on his debut album for Epic Records.