By Emily Younker
Dressed in shorts, a T-shirt and socks with flip-flops, he didn’t fit the typical image of a rock star.
And shyly staying out of sight of his audience, trying hard to avoid the spotlight, he wasn’t exactly acting like a rock star, either.
But after debuting his music video in front of his classmates Tuesday at Joplin South Middle School, did Grant Landis, 13, actually feel a little bit like a rock star?
“Kinda, I guess,” he said, his face breaking into a genuine grin.
Students at the middle school were treated during an assembly Tuesday morning to the audio recordings of Grant’s “All It Takes Is You” and “It’s All Good” before viewing the premiere of his video for his third song, “In This Moment With You.”
All three songs were co-written and produced by Rich McCready, a Seneca native and country music recording artist, and Brian Maher, an award-winning songwriter from Nashville who has also written songs for musicians such as Taylor Swift. Grant recorded the songs about four months ago in Nashville and shot the video about a month and a half ago with producer Shel Music, of Fort Collins, Colo.
Grant is clearly comfortable with his guitar and voice. Recording a few songs in Nashville? Piece of cake. Shooting the video in front of a camera? No sweat.
“I didn’t have to be scared (during the video shoot) or anything because it wasn’t in front of a bunch of people,” he said Tuesday.
His biggest struggle seemed to be his shyness in front of his peers. As his classmates filed into the auditorium, he hung out in the back against the wall until he was called to the stage by Principal Steve Gilbreth, who organized the assembly.
“I was scared because everybody was looking at me,” Grant said.
But his classmates — the first group of people in the world to see the video — cheered for him, and he acknowledged later that it was a good experience because “everybody clapped and stuff.” Even as he left the auditorium and made a detour through the cafeteria, where his classmates were eating lunch, he was greeted with several shouts of “Grant, you’re awesome” and “Good job, Grant”
“I think it went great, it went awesome,” said Maher, who was in Joplin for the video debut. “I just thoroughly enjoyed coming here to see Grant play, and I really do think the best is yet to come for him.”
McCready, who could not make it to the premiere, said in a phone interview Tuesday that it has been “amazing” to work with Grant.
“It can be really extremely overwhelming, and I think for Grant, it’s happened really fast,” he said. “Music is very important, but I also recognize him as a 13-year-old kid, and that, to me, is the most important thing.”
GRANT LANDIS’ MUSIC VIDEO for “In This Moment With You” will launch online as soon as his three songs are available on iTunes. The songs are already live on a few other platforms, including Spotify.