The Reawakening of Reed Grimm
The American Idol Season 11 premiere had the second largest audience of any entertainment program in television history; 21.93 million people watched. Wisconsin native and UW-La Crosse alum, Reed Grimm, was caught directly in the eye of that pop culture storm.
Last month, when I picked Grimm up from the Minneapolis airport on a cold February morning, I noticed he made a friend during his flight from Hawaii. Having known Grimm for years now, I can confirm his personality offstage is the stuff of legend. He has an ability to make deep and personal connections with people in an instant.
It’s important to understand that his 2012 Idol experience sent him on a quest to find his true self, both as a musician and a person. He is honest about how that profoundly bright Hollywood light seemed to burn directly into, and through his soul. Now he is on the verge of a reawakening – a renewed sense of self with a “soul shine” colored not only with Reed Grimm the performer, but as Reed Grimm the friend, lover, explorer, and intellectual.
As we begin to talk, Grimm immediately starts to create. In fact, the first single off his debut solo album out this April is aptly titled, “Creating Now”. He admits the sting of the Minnesota cold, as he returns from his now-annual January through February trip to Hawaii, will take a bit of time to fade. He exudes excitement for the unveiling of his artistically ambitious music video and solo album titled Reminders, and his much-anticipated album release shows in La Crosse and Minneapolis. “I’m filled with energy, so excited to be back, and excited for all that is to come in the next couple months, and even nervous,” he admits. Still manifesting concepts for the video, Grimm shares details that evolve in real-time. Being in the presence of a creative force such as his draws you in, nearly to the point of becoming part of his art. He continues to map details for the video, making decisions in rapid succession. Grimm explains, “The entire video will be shot in a single room. I will be standing by a lamp and turning it on and off. Each time the light comes back on a new scene appears.”
Our next meeting couldn’t be more different than the first. This time it’s in Grimm’s South Minneapolis living room. The artistic communal energy of his abode fit him perfectly. Today our topic is food. Grimm shares that he considers himself to be a conscientious eater. He believes the closer his lifestyle is to the message within his music, the greater connection he can create with people. Along with hot yoga and meditation, he practices healthy eating. He explains that for him his eating habits are about the “why”. “I am trying to stay keen to what the impulse is, before going for something to eat," he says. Our conversation leads to his passion for performing for children, his work with the Minnesota nonprofit Chef Lucas Food, and his love of music and how it connects with people.
On my way to our final meeting at Grimm’s music video shoot in Saint Paul, Minn., I listen to his unreleased solo album. Songs like “I Just Wanna”, “Walk in Love”, “Shift”, and “Exemplify”, seem to mirror his journey like a musical postcard from a man returning from a vision quest of epic proportions. Recorded at the Purple House in Nashville, Tenn., the instrumentation and musicality of his record strike me as shockingly tight, and profoundly moving in message. Reminders is indeed a reminder that Reed Grimm is a musical force to be reckoned with, a powerhouse.
Our time on the set of his video reinforced my knowledge of his connectivity with the people around him. “Thank you so much, everyone, I couldn’t do this without each one of you; it would be impossible,” he proclaims to a room of 30 friends. Impossible strikes me as a word Reed Grimm would rarely use. During the rest of our time together, Grimm focused on the joy he feels as the release of his musical and visual art nears, “My goodness. La Crosse... I am so stoked to bring this music to La Crosse. The Cavalier show will be the first time this music has been performed live by a full band. What better place to unleash these songs than in the city that I found my creative voice in.”
You can witness Reed Grimm’s creative voice first hand in La Crosse, Wis. on March 31 at Pearl Street Brewery, or April 27 at Cavalier Theater, or on April 29 at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
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