The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


September 24, 2012

Joplin teen pursues dream of becoming a musician

JOPLIN, Mo. — Grant Landis is shy initially, standing with his left arm across his back to clutch the right.

But that shyness fades quickly as he picks up a guitar. Sitting in the living room of his Joplin home, he strums intermittently on the guitar, his hands just big enough to jump from chord to chord.

At only 13 years old, Landis has already recorded tracks in Nashville with music producers who say they see a promising path ahead of him in the music industry.

This week Landis is scheduled to meet members of Shel, a band from Fort Collins, Colo., who will produce a video for his song "In This Moment With You."

The music industry is arguably among the most difficult to break into. Thousands of hopefuls chase their dreams of stardom, creating intense competition. But when country music recording artist and music producer Rich McCready, a Seneca native, heard Landis' voice, he knew it was something special.

Landis started singing at church and later performed at a school talent show where he began to discover his talent. In the past year, he has started learning guitar chords and getting a feel for melodies and music.

"It's all coming together now," said his father, Mike Landis.

While browsing the Internet earlier this year, Grant Landis found out that producers of the popular TV series "The X Factor" were holding auditions in Kansas City. The show requires contestants to be at least 12 years old, so he decided to take a shot at it.

His parents thought about it and agreed to let him audition, marking another step into the music world for Grant.

Landis made it through several singing rounds during the summer auditions but didn't make it through the TV rounds, his father said. His family brought him back to Joplin, and he continued to pursue his dream, with the help of McCready.

"I hear so many singers," McCready said. "Producers hear a lot of singers who can sing but don't have a great studio voice. When I heard Grant, as a producer, there was a certain quality there -- this is raw talent."

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