“I want to be the Steve Jobs of electronic music,” says Kristopher Grant, a first-year student in SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program. Grant, a military veteran who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, has prodigious dreams and ambition to match. Photography, graphic design, sound engineering, and production are only a few of the disciplines in which he has developed a vivid articulation. The term “Renaissance man” is not unfitting for this student of art and life.
While Grant aims to be a revolutionary in the music world, it is easy to see how his life could have taken a different track. Born in San Diego, California, he quickly started moving around the country with his family to the East Coast and Midwest United States, which he sees as valuable life experience. “You don’t get set in a mindset,” he remarks. “You don’t get stuck in one way of thinking. I’ve lived in low-income areas, I’ve lived in middle income areas, I’ve been around your posh suburbanites … I’ve lived everywhere in between.”
When he was a teenager, both his parents passed away and he found himself enrolling at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago upon graduation from high school. His own need for artistic expression “was a way to cope” with their deaths, and he soon capitalized on opportunities in all manner of art, from modeling to music production.
After seeing a recruiting advertisement for the military, Grant began to think about his life choices. “I had no intention [before that] of being in the military,” he says. “I was sitting in my friend’s room and we were watching TV and the commercial came on. So, I called the recruiter and took some tests.” Before he knew it, he was on his way to begin his first tour of duty in Afghanistan as a member of the United States Air Force. Grant not only flew over 300 combat missions during his time in the military, he also served as an airborne linguist, interpreting Russian in the war zones in which he was deployed.
The one thread that seemed to continue popping up throughout his life’s amazing trajectory has been his love of music production and sound design. Grant even cut his first full album while deployed in Afghanistan. (“Desert-themed” he says.)
After his discharge, he started seriously considering going back to school for music, and he is now pursuing his love of composition and production while exploring the seemingly countless options for creativity in SFCM’s TAC labs. “I feel like with the exposure here and the facilities that are available, I can only become better. I can only make better music with the tutelage, with the pianists we work with, with instrumentalists … if things are going good now, after this, it’s only going to be exponentially better.”
This optimistic, enterprising attitude permeates Grant’s being. Even through the ups and downs of his childhood, he remained determined. Now he says it is only those who don’t take advantage of what is front of them who give him pause.
“You’re the barrier to your own greatness. I don’t get why more people don’t do great things. What’s standing in your way? You.”