Michael Grimm, the winner of “America’s Got Talent,” will be opening tonight for Stevie Nicks at Chastain.
He surprisingly beat out Jackie Evancho, the heralded 11-year-old opera singer who recently sold out Woodruff Arts Center. In many ways, Grimm was the Kris Allen to Jackie’s Adam Lambert. The bluesy singer-songwriter slid in there with low-key confidence and likability, getting more votes than his more theatrical counterpart in the end.
“I spoke with Jackie’s father a few days ago,” he said in an interview last week. “I’d love to do a song with her. She’s an outstanding vocalist.”
He thinks maybe 10 percent of the Nicks’ audience might know who he is. “That’s why I’m there,” he said. “To try to get more fans. People do say, ‘Hey! You’re that guy from ‘America’s Got Talent’ Some think it’s ‘American Idol’! The way I see it, in due time, if I’m blessed to get my songs out there, get another record album, people will get to know me aside from the show.”
Then again, AGT drew 12 to 15 million viewers a week. He said it opened doors for him he wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. And he pocketed a cool $1 million, much of which went to giving his grandma a home. “It’s almost finished,” he said. “I just had hte garage door put in.”
The record label Epic also helped hook him up with Don Was, the producer behind a raft of huge albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones and the B-52s. “He heard of me through Rodney Crowell,” he said. “He’s a one -of-a-kind characdter. I never met someone like him before. He always has that big round hat, that big beard and dreadlocks. He’s very at peace, has very positive energy. Everyone enjoys working with him.”
“This is the best thing I’ve ever recorded,” he added. “I’m very proud of it. He let me do what I do.”
He opened for Heart for a few dates before ‘Got Talent,” though at that time, he did an acoustic set. Now he can afford a full band. And he got Ann Wilson to sing a song with him on his album. He also did a duet with Georgia native Travis Tritt.
He actually has a Nicks story. He met her before a Fleetwood Mac gig six years ago. She actually had heard of him and he invited Nicks to a showcase concert in a couple of months. Much to his shock, she showed up. He was so nervous, he said his throat tightened up. Afterwards, she offered him her vocal coach’s number.
Grimm said over the years, he struggled to get a label deal. He played lounges in Vegas. He decided to try out for AGT just to get some exposure. He ended up winning. “It feels like I’ve entered some sort of alternative reality. In the end, it doesn’t seem real.”
Stevie Nicks with opener Michael Grimm
Chastain Park Amphitheatre
8 p.m. August 17
$57 to $94.40
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog