No, it is not capitalized. So who is this enigma that has over 800K subscribers on YouTube and an even larger following out in the real world? Jordan Edward Benjamin, known professionally as grandson, is a Canadian-American singer, songwriter, and musician born in New Jersey in 1993. His family moved to Toronto, Ontario when he was just a toddler and so he holds dual citizenship. He taught himself how to play guitar and piano and then got into beat-boxing and rap. After high school, he studied education with the intention of becoming a teacher. But he also spent a lot of time DJing in the Montreal area while attending university. He dropped out and moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue his music career.
Benjamin as grandson has been climbing the ladders ever since. He is into alternative rock, rap rock, trap, EDM, and Alternative hip-hop and is currently signed to Fueled by Ramen and RCA Records. His gritty lyrics take on modern-day social and political issues without apology. I first came across grandson, while he was being streamed by my own teenage son, and soon, the song “Apologize” wound up on my own playlist.
Style & Influence
Born to a musical family, he grew up with influences in classic rock, dance, and hip-hop among others. Listening to grandson takes you on a full journey of musical styles and influences. I’d say his lyrics revolve around the difficulties of everyday life as well as social issues that we should be overcoming, while his sounds go anywhere from trap/rock to the blues-inspired instrumentalism and then can leap into full-rock rage.
Alexandra Molloy, who wrote an article about grandson in 2018, said it perfectly, “grandson speaks to what we’re all thinking but afraid to say aloud.”
Take the lyrics of the chorus (actually all of the lyrics) from “Blood // Water” –
We’ll never get free
Lamb to the slaughter
What you gonna do when there’s blood in the water
The price of your greed is your sons and your daughters
What you gonna do when there’s blood in the water…
I am the people
I am the storm
I am the riot
I am the swarm
When the last tree has fallen the animal can’t hide
Money won’t solve it
What’s your alibi
What’s your alibi
What’s your alibi
Whatcha gonna do when there’s blood in the blood in the water
When there’s blood in the water
grandson has always mixed music and activism and promoted other creatives. His songs often are anthems against the wrongs people face in these times. He confronts social issues through his music but also has taken a practical stand through partnering with nonprofits.
To that end, he is using his success to fund and continue the XXRESISTANCE organization. As the official website says, “XX RESISTANCE is a movement founded by grandson that serves to empower youth and connect passionate people with ways to get involved in the progressive causes they care about. Through events, collaborations with charities and organizations across the world, and brand partnerships, XX RESISTANCE will empower people to participate in the fight for social good.”
Within a year of moving to Los Angeles, he was releasing music under the moniker “grandson” and by 2016 he released several singles that gathered millions of streams. In 2017 he was signed to RCA Records, continued releasing singles, and hit the festival circuit.
In 2018 he announced that he had signed with Fueled by Ramen record label. That’s when he released his more critical singles:
“Blood // Water” – a song about political corruption that would go on to appear on multiple Billboard charts
“Thoughts & Prayers” – which offered a critique of American gun laws
“6:00” – a song that discussed police brutality.
In February 2019, he released a new single, “Apologize”, and announced his second EP, A Modern Tragedy Vol. 2, which was released on 22 February 2019.
Also in June 2018, grandson was featured on Mike Shinoda’s song “Running from My Shadow”.
In June 2019, he won the SOCAN Songwriting Prize for his song “Blood // Water”. Then, in September 2019 the singer released A Modern Tragedy Vol. 3, the final installment of the Modern Tragedy trilogy. It features the lead single “Rock Bottom”, which peaked at No. 38 on the Canadian Rock Chart.
On September 23, 2020, grandson announced on his Facebook page that his debut full-length album Death of an Optimist would be released on December 4, 2020. The album gained a lot of publicity and recognition through his social media and was released despite the state of the world during the pandemic – on schedule. Of this album, grandson had to say –
“Writing Death of an Optimist was a cathartic, challenging, deeply personal experience.”
So far, the track “Dirty” from that album has charted on Canadian Rock and US Alternative Rock at 13 and 14. It’s still going upward!
He had several collaborations in 2020, one of which charted well on Canadian Billboard – “Zen” by X Ambassadors (feat. K.Flay and grandson).
Collaborations & Connections
Throughout 2018, grandson toured with acts like Hobo Johnson, Joywave, Nothing But Thieves, Smashing Pumpkins, and Young the Giant.
grandson was featured on Mike Shinoda’s song “Running from My Shadow”.
He also appeared on an episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers, performing “Blood // Water”.
He has more recently collaborated with other acts, such as K.Flay, X Ambassadors, Whethan, DREAMERS, KennyHoopla, and Oliver Tree.
He has songs with other artists on the most recent Suicide Squad Movie and as of this article is teasing the release of a new song with Kesha!
- A Modern Tragedy Vol. 1 (2018)
- A Modern Tragedy Vol. 2 (2019)
- A Modern Tragedy Vol. 3 (2019)
- Death of an Optimist (2020)
Since the pandemic, with tours cancelled and time on his hands, he’s not only managed to come out with a new album, videos and all – but he has begun a vlog focused on other artists called XXWHY.
“XXWHY is a conversation piece centered around grandson’s favorite creatives doing divergent work in spaces of music and activism. We hope that through these conversations his audience can gain perspective of what it is like to be in the shoes of his guests, learn about their ups and downs, what goes on behind the scenes and how they found their why. We want to end each segment giving the community the tools to pursue whatever it is that they are truly passionate about.”
You can find these videos through the main website, but I found them on his YouTube channel.
The big news is – “Dirty” hit US Alt Radio TOP 10 while I was writing this article!
He has tours scheduled beginning in the summer of 2021.
Most recently, he uploaded the song “Rain” that he performed with Jessie Reyez for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad in theaters and streaming in August of 2021. Official audio for the song is available everywhere now. Get it now at: https://grandson.lnk.to/rain
Find Out More:
As always, if you want to share more, or feel I’ve missed something, let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCES: All information for this article came from Wikipedia.org, the artist’s own social media and website, and –