Aiden Grimshaw: The Art Of Reality
The last time that anyone saw Aiden Grimshaw, he was exiting the stage that dually made him a well-known name, as well as an awkward but enthralling musical brand recognized in households all across the United Kingdom. But to the dismay of many fans, he was ultimately left rejected by the very show that gave him that fame. The quiet eighteen year old bowed out from “The X Factor,” fading into an obscurity that many thought would envelope any chance he had at obtaining a career in the music industry.
But now, two years later, Aiden Grimshaw has released his first music video “Is This Love?” In a similar fashion to Grimshaw’s re-entrance into the music scene itself, the video’s central lead enters the first shot with rich brown hair obscured beneath the lining of a hoodie, understated Converse trudge along dimming grass, finally breaking from the slow instrumental with a sharply sweet tone. However, in a clear example of art mimicking reality, the video’s central lead isn’t even Grimshaw – the former “X Factor” artist appears only for two seconds, a quick blur and extra also donning a gray hoodie.
Likewise, Grimshaw has spent the last two years keeping a low profile, dodging instead of riding the hype associated with his ninth place finish on the U.K. sensation “X Factor,” in order to work on producing a quality sound apart from the television stint. Thus fans that came to adore his quirky personality while on the show will be pleased to see its return with the melodic and entrancing single “Is This Love?,” soon to be followed by the August 20th release of his album “Misty Eye.”
With his creeping tenor, Grimshaw’s voice equally beats and soothes its way into trip-hop instrumentals. His new single “Is This Love?” was released June 3rd of this year. In it he combines the haunting characteristics of his tone, a vocal tool he can use to pitch to remarkably high notes in his chorus that questions “Is this love / when the sun comes down,” and the fast paced beats that borrow from electronic and experimental house music. This single has a raw sensitivity to it that cannot be found in much of the industry today, a machine that seems to regurgitate for the sake of sales and often ignore artists like Grimshaw that stray from clichés and auto-tune qualities. His use of poetic lyrics, backed by a jarring chorus and electronic beats, are fresh in contrast to much of the cookie-cutter pop circulating the market today. Many critics have come to see this as a welcome and necessary abandonment from the usual music released from former X Factor contestants. Critic Robert Copsey of Digital Spy, one of British entertainment’s top media sites, had this to say about Grimshaw’s pained admissions after listening to what many describe as a breakup song: “[His lyrics are] over a gritty and hectic melody of plinky synths and hardline D&B. For a man with dark problems, he makes this post-X Factor malarkey look remarkably simple.”
But Grimshaw wants to be clear about his album – it isn’t just another compilation of heartbreak songs. He wanted to expand beyond the typical, a feat he has seemed to do in just the mere four weeks it took to write the album. He tells the Huffington Post: “I met Jared the producer in November and I’d broken up with someone and it was something I was thinking about a lot at the time… it’s not a heartbreak album though, it’s more what you think about when that’s happening, not so much the breaking up with someone. I think that’s more interesting.” And that factor that makes him most interesting may have saved him two-fold; in his forced obscurity he was able to cultivate those life experiences he feels were necessary in making the album, while giving time to shed the label of just another reality television star. He has seen this work firsthand for and against his fellow competitors. One Direction, the former “X Factor” band now crossing charts and continents with their pop-rock influences, are an example of the huge success sometimes granted to these artists. However, Matt Cardle, friend and winner of the seventh season of X Factor, has recently been dropped from his label. Grimshaw hopes for better with his own label, RCA Records, and says the scariest part of the experience “was waiting” to step back into the music scene at the right moment.
But Grimshaw is nevertheless excited to do so. He says of his time on “The X Factor:” “I wanted to go out and sing stuff that wasn’t relevant to a half past seven Saturday night audience of mums and kids.” He was able to sing some interesting renditions of a few songs, including Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” and a slowed down version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” But prior to his time on the show, he had done a production of Grease in his junior school (the first time he truly ventured into music and was publicly recognized for his talent), played a few gigs in a band, and performed at weddings.
But now it seems he will truly get that chance to appeal to an audience separate from the one he has had to cater to in the past. If he continues to possess the fresh talent seen both on and off the stage, his debut album’s final song “Curtain Call” will certainly, yet again, not be the last the world sees of Aiden Grimshaw.