Vince Grant’s story is familiar to many musicians: he left his hometown of Chicago to pursue his musical dreams in the City of Angels, only to spend years busking on Venice Beach. Eventually, he jumped between LA and New York, trying to establish himself, but finding the rungs of the industry ladder more than a little greasy. His bright moments were consistent gigs, even a slot at SXSW; his dark spots, however, were the demons that his brethren will be familiar with. “Drugs, alcohol, depression — they took me out,” explains Grant.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, however, Grant bounced back and channeled his experience into his newest album, My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me, and an accompanying pair of videos. Judging by the title alone, it’s unsurprising that the most ready and obvious comparison is between Grant and notorious troubled geniuses like Elliot Smith. Lead single “Melancholia” embraces the era of Grant’s predecessors, not so far removed from those classic ’80s anthems and the sound of bands like REM. Meanwhile, “Edge of the World” ruminates on the bigger picture with soaring and complex instrumental backing, and “How Many Times You” provides a bit of upbeat levity.
The closing track, “Sweet Addiction,” however, underscores the intensely personal journey that Grant shares with his listeners; one that is, no doubt, difficult to revisit at times. Truly, the entire album is raw and emotional, but wholly human and intense. Lyrics like, “And I can’t stop / because it hurts / sweet addiction” capture the intimate pain of struggle, and reveal Grant baring his soul, no matter the result.
Perhaps he’s not asking for forgiveness, or even a resolution to his own personal journey. “I write songs to cope,” Grant says. “I’d like to say I write songs to heal, but that may be asking too much.”