Badass. That’s all I have to say. Actually, there is more to reveal, because Donna Grantis didn’t just fall out of the sky. She made the semi-finals in the North American Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition at 16 years old, and played “Red House” in front of Jimi’s dad, Al. Not bad for her debut performance in public. Then, she got a scholarship and a jazz performance degree from McGill University in Montreal - a very long road from first teaching herself Zeppelin and AC/DC tunes on her brother’s acoustic guitar when she was a child. After graduation, she moved to Toronto to become an in-demand session musician, tour the world with various acts, and front the extremely heavy Donna Grantis Electric Band (the group’s debut album, Suites, was released in 2012).
Then, came Prince. Well, not exactly. Prince had delegated the search for a new guitarist to drummer Hannah Welton and her husband. The duo found Grantis on the web, loved her look and playing, and, soon, she was invited to join 3RDEYEGIRL along with Welton, the Purple One himself, and bassist Ida Nielsen. But that isn’t all that happened inside Prince’s Paisley Park complex. Grantis also got dragged into the mammoth big band that is the New Power Generation. She continues to perform with Prince in two of the sexiest, funkiest, and most exciting bands in the world.
So, back to the first word. It’s probably nice to pursue a bit of Grantis’ biography, but all you really need to know is that she is a badass. Her tones, attack, phrasing, melodic ideas, improvs, grooves, and solos are as terrifyingly on point as a laser-guided drone, and everything is delivered with the unselfconscious swagger that identifies a musician truly in the moment. Too much? Well, consider this: Prince chose Grantis as his co-guitarist, and that man is also one hell of a badass.