Donna Grantis brings 'Diamonds & Dynamite' to The Current studio

Donna Grantis performs 'Trashformer' from her 2019 album 'Diamonds & Dynamite' at The Current. (MPR)
Donna Grantis (Interview + songs)
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| 00:17:42
  • Donna Grantis (Interview + songs) 17:42
  • Donna Grantis - Mr. Majestic 05:04
  • Donna Grantis - Trashformer 05:58

Donna Grantis is the featured player in her new band, and she doesn't even need a mic. Three years after playing guitar with 3RDEYEGIRL and Prince, Grantis has released her debut solo album, Diamonds & Dynamite.

After Prince's death in 2016, Grantis spent time living in New York and Los Angeles before deciding to settle in Minneapolis and focus on her solo career. She found local bandmates to fit the project — Cody McKinney (bass), JT Bates (drums), Bryan Nichols (organ), and Suphala (tabla) — after "hanging out in Minneapolis for a couple months at First Avenue and Icehouse," Grantis says.

For her afternoon session at The Current, Grantis and crew brought their own lighting; they darkened the room, covered the windows, and flipped on blue LED bars. "It feels a little uncomfortable for me to play rock riffs in bright light," Grantis explained to host Mark Wheat with a laugh, later revealing that it was Prince who inspired her to reach beyond music and find ways to get creative with performance.

Grantis and band started with "Mr Majestic," an atmospheric jam peppered with tabla. "That song is just two chords," she says, "but there's something about playing them over and over again that I found really meditative." After playing "Mr Majestic" with Suphala for the first time during a jam session at her house, Grantis decided it "solidified the vibe" of her project.

Between songs, she spoke with Mark Wheat about her time living in Chanhassen while recording and rehearsing "day and night" with Prince — intermittently "giving our ears a break" with a couple of games of ping pong. "At the time I wasn't too familiar with the Minneapolis music scene," Grantis said. "But I'm really glad to be here now, and I'm really glad to be playing with these amazing fellows."

The closing song was named for the cymbal Grantis used to construct her percussion stand. "After I bought it and took it home, I later realized it was called 'Trashformer,' and I thought 'that's gotta be a song.'"

Donna Grantis and her band will perform two live shows at the Dakota on Thursday, March 28.

Songs Performed

"Mr Majestic"

"Mr Majestic" and "Trashformer" appear on Donna Grantis's 2019 album Diamonds & Dynamite, available now via eOne Music.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Matt Lentz
Web feature by Cecilia Johnson and Lydia Moran

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External Links

Donna Grantis - official site