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Donna Grantis Rocks Prince, 3rdEyeGirl, and the New Power Generation

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Monday June 23, 2014

From Guitar Player Magazine

Donna Grantis Rocks Prince, 3rdEyeGirl, and the New Power Generation
By: Michael Molenda

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 17 years old, and played ‘Red House’ in front of Jimi’s dad, Al. Not bad for her debut performance out 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, Suites, was released in 2012).

[…] It’s probably nice to peruse 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 choose Grantis as his co-guitarist, and that man is also one hell of a badass.

Does the band employ preplanned improvisational sections, or does Prince just look at you and say, ‘Go for it’?

It’s a little bit of both. There are parts of the set arrangements that we know are areas where we can really open things up and improvise. But, then again, Prince can call a drum solo, a bass solo, or a guitar solo at any moment. Sometimes, he’ll just hand his solo off to me in mid performance, and I have to take it over. That’s what’s really exciting about Prince as a bandleader-he’s always challenging us, and we have to be ready.

Obviously, being tossed into the unknown doesn’t bother you, or affect your performance.

Improvising is one of my favorite things to do. It’s like, ‘This is what I’ve been waiting for, now jump in and go for it!’ It keeps things fun playing songs in different ways each night. I also think the audience picks up on that, and it’s exciting for them, as well. I certainly know that we’re up there onstage wondering what’s going to happen next! But it’s that sort of intensity and energy that creates really magical musical moments.

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