Publication: URB Magazine

Article: The Next 100 Mark Grant

Author: George Masek

Reference: No. 58 / March-April 1998 / Page 57



Success has its price. Part of being successful seems to be having less and less time to work with. Four local residencies a week would keep any individual more than occupied. Add to that nationwide bookings, studio production and remixing other artists' work, and you have the makings of an overachiever.


But Mark Grant keeps things in perspective. A predetermined "to do" list maps a similar pattern for each day of the week. When you're in demand, scheduling is tough and follow-through tends to be even more difficult. "In reality, other things always get thrown into the mix which throws my day out of whack," he says.


Heavy schedule and all, Grant has managed to find ample time to arise as one of the up-and-coming forces in Chicago house music. His recently released mix CD, A Taste Of Cajual (Cajual), provides a delectable taste of his flawless mixing skills, which mesh tranquil, relaxed, jazz-infested rhythms with a solemn blend of house beats.


Although he's performed in places like Mexico City and San Francisco, your best chance for catching him is in his hometown of Chicago. The aforementioned residencies include gigs at Red Dog, Mad Bar and Buddha Lounge. His prior achievements would satisfy many DJs, but Grant would like to build from where he's at. Keeping a local fan base is important, but the occasional shortsighted audience frustrates Grant. "I like to play in Chicago but sometimes the crowd can become narrow-minded. That makes my job less fulfilling and more like a job."


A DJ gig at a high-school function with Steve "Silk" Hurley earmarked the starting point of his career over 10 years ago. From there, he continued mixing locally until he decided to pursue a marketing degree. Soon afterwards, he found that what made him truly unique, his instinctive love for music, brought him back to where he belonged. "Being a musician and DJ allows me to express myself through my art to other people who have knowledge about house music and people who don't. It forces me to learn what other people think, how they think and why."


Grant is in the position to redefine house music's current state and future in the city that gave birth to it. A recent conversation with label boss Cajmere may have confirmed it. "I remember Cajmere joking around saying, 'You see, now I'm a legend. You're an up-and-coming legend.' So, I would like to lay the groundwork to become a living, working legend."


Grant's style is forward-thinking. The music industry has taught him many things; most importantly not to divert from a successful path once you're on it. "I've learned to never get comfortable. Nothing is secure. It's only secure when you keep moving ahead."