Actor, writer, producer, and Grammy-nominated musician Tony Grant has become one of the most sought-after, multi-faceted talents in the entertainment industry today. In 2014, Grant can be seen starring as “Phillip” on the OWN Network and Tyler Perry’s original comedy series “Love Thy Neighbor.” The show follows a middle class family and their daily joys, struggles, triumphs, and fumbles. On the film front, Grant recently wrapped production on the independent drama THE LAST PUNCH opposite Keith David, David Banner, and Karon Joseph. Directed by Jesse Vaughan, written by Michael Soccio, and based on true events, THE LAST PUNCH tells the story of James Cornelius [played by Grant], an Atlanta hustler turned boxing promoter who used his street smarts to navigate the shark-infested waters of the 1980’s fight game. On the run from the F.B.I. Cornelius must find a way to make Muhammad Ali’s last fight, The Drama In Bahamas, a reality. Grant will also be returning to music in June 2014, with the release of his full-length album Access Granted through his label, TraFace Music Publishing. After eight years since his last album [Grant Life], Access Granted will showcase Grant’s internationally known powerhouse vocals, passionate lyrics, and original love songs that bring heart and soul back to R&B music. The first single off the album, “Beautiful Woman” is slated to be released spring 2014, while the record will also feature Grant’s holiday song “I’m Coming Home” which was released digitally in December 2013.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in North Carolina, Grant grew up in a musically inclined family, however his dream as a child was to fly jets in the Air Force or play ball. When he was thirteen years old he began playing drums for his church while his mother would sing, and his love for music was established. Although singing and music were inherently a part of his nature, it was not his first passion. Grant always excelled at sports, and his love for the game combined with undeniable athleticism helped him secure a scholarship to play college football. While in school, Grant was talked into performing in a talent competition. This win, along with a string of others that followed, served as a catalyst to his career in the entertainment industry.
Grant’s love and passion for theater started in 1991 when he was cast as the lead in the hit stage play A Good Man is Hard to Find, in which he toured with for four years. Soon after, he landed his first record deal. Grant achieved his initial fame as the lead vocalist of the internationally acclaimed, Grammy-nominated group Az Yet [LaFace Records]. It was Grant’s smooth tenor voice that held audiences enthralled on hit songs including: “Last Night” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” He went on to perform and record with an array of accomplished artists including Brian McKnight, Dr. Dre, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, James Brown, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, and Harry Connick Jr., to name a few.
By the year 2000, Grant had been in the music industry for over a decade and wanted to go back to theater, one of his first passions in the business. He went on to star in a handful of productions for Tyler Perry, including: Why Did I Get Married, The Marriage Counselor, A Madea’s Christmas, Madea Gets a Job, and Behind Closed Doors. Grant notes, “Tyler Perry took theater to another level, advancing it from a production for 2,000 people per venue, to 10,000 people per venue. When I started working with Tyler in 2000, thats when I started to take acting seriously. I also was used to traveling and being on the road with my band, so it was a natural progression to go from music, to traveling with other actors and bringing plays to life on stage.” While Grant was working in theater, he was still active in music, flying out of the country on tour with his group and then flying back to the states on the weekends to work on plays. Some of Grant’s off-Broadway credits include: Raisin In The Sun, Jesus Christ Super Star, If This Hat Could Talk, The Dorothy Height Story, and Kim Field’s Barefoot in the Park.
In 2006, Grant made his debut in the film world, with a supporting role in WHY DID I GET MARRIED for The Tyler Perry Company. Additional film and television credits include: THE CLEAN UP WOMAN, THE MARRIAGE CHRONICLES, A MADEA CHRISTMAS, MADEA GETS A JOB, THE MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, “She’s Not Our Sister,” and “She’s Still Not Our Sister.”
Grant continues to flourish gaining critical acclaim and increasing popularity for his work in film, television, theater, and music. His writing skills are also an intricate part of his talent arsenal, he has penned a collection of theatrical productions, movies, and music - not only for himself, but for a host of accomplished actors and singers.