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Branson entertainer Michael Grimm pursues dream on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”

Michael Grimm in the lobby of the Starlite Theatre in Branson during interview.

It seems that NBC and Branson, Missouri, “The live music show capital of the world,” both appreciate great musical talent. Michael Grimm, guitar player and vocalist with the “Righteous Brother Bill Medley Show” at the Starlite Theatre in Branson has progressed to the second level of the competition on the NBC prime time hit show “America’s Got Talent (AGT).

Grimm recently appeared on AGT during the Los Angeles Auditions, singing a soulful rendition of “You Don’t Know Me.” In a somewhat unusual occurrence, the comments of all three judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborn and AGT’s newest judge, Howie Mandel were laudatory as they passed him on to the next round of competition in Las Vegas. While he was performing, AGT’s host Nick Cannon said, “That’s a Super Star’s voice right there.”

During a personal interview for the Branson Tourism Center last week, right after the airing of his AGT performance, Grimm said that his June 5th performance with the Bill Medley show would be his last so that he can devote his full efforts to the pursuit of the opportunities his AGT performances might provide. He said that he is under certain obligations with AGT restricting what he can and cannot say about the AGT experience thus far.

What he did say is, “It is a once in a lifetime experience and it’s been quite a ride.” While expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to appear on AGT Grimm said, “I just want to get as far as I can get. It would be an honor if I can make it a couple of rounds, open some doors for my career, and make enough money to build my Grandma a new house.”

Grimm’s relationship with his Grandma, Laura Butters, goes back to about age four when she took over the raising of him and his sister after their parents separated. He unabashedly says that “My grandma is my inspiration” and credits her, not only with his interest in music, but the start of his professional career.

He explained that his interest in music came after hearing his Grandma play the piano. It started at an early age and he remembers that at about age six, he and his sister started singing the great hymns like “Jesus Love Me,” “Amazing Grace” and others in church. That progressed to the point where at age twelve he started singing professionally in “hole in the wall” bars in the Waveland Bay St. Louis area in southern Mississippi. On each appearance his Grandma would chaperone him and sit there drinking “Diet Cokes” all night until he was through.

That was then and “America’s Got Talent” is now. In between Grimm has been trying to develop his career and Grandma Butters has lost her home to “Hurricane Katrina” and is currently living in a trailer in Picayune, MS.

In the last ten years he has worked a lot in Las Vegas at casino lounges such as Caesar’s Palace, New York New York and the Station Casinos. He is also an accomplished song writer; has opened for artists such as the Band Hart, BB King and Peter Green, who used to be with Fleetwood Mack; has recorded and released two CDs “Michael Grimm Live,” recorded live at the Cannery Casino in Las Vegas and “I Am Michael Grimm,” with all original music and is currently working on another unnamed CD with which he is honored to have Bill Medley helping him on a couple of the songs.

Grimm has been working with Bill Medley over the last year on various road trips and his 2010 Branson show. Grimm said that one of his favorite parts of the Branson show is the “unplugged” segment they do during the second half of the show. All the band members unplug their instruments and move down to the front of the stage with McKenna and Bill Medley where they interact with the audience in a more personal manner as they sing and listen to Medley tell stories about his career, rock and roll and the Righteous Brothers.

Although his first visit to Branson wasn’t until the second half of 2009 it has obviously made an impression on him. Grimm said, “My first memory of Branson is the hospitality and friendliness of everybody. This is God’s country out here, this is America and that’s what I love about it.”

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