JOHN GRADY

 

John Grady is a 2004 Nebraska Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee in the "Professional Excellence" Category. It would take a short novel to cover the adventures of John Grady and his journey through the music business, from O'neill , Nebraska to the Presidency of Sony Music nashville. A graduate of St. Mary's Schools in O'neill, Nebraska, John made his way through a stint at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, to a bachelor's degree in History and Education from Saint John's University in Minnesota. Upon graduation, John took a distribution job with Pickwick Distribution in Minneapolis, getting his feet wet, before joining Clive Davis and Don Ienner as Regional Director of Promotion for Arista Records in 1982. Over the next 20 years, John Grady would have his creative hand in the marketing, promotion, and sales of dozens of top selling artists, including Whitney Houston, Kenny G, Bonnie Raitt, MC Hammer,and many more. Between 1993 and 2002, John was Senior Vice-president of Sales, Marketing and Promotion for Mercury Records in Nashville, where he helped launch the career of Shania Twain as well as break the multi-million selling movie soundtrack, Oh Brother where Art Thou?. The worldwide success of "Oh Brother", propelled Grady into a partnership in DMZ Records and CBS Records, with movie producers, The Coen Brothers and platinum guitar icon, T-Bone Burnett. In 2002, former boss and mentor, Don Ienner, President of CBS , offered the presidency of Sony Music in Nashville to John Grady. Relates Grady, "The guy who hired me, Don Ienner, taught me how to walk through walls for something I believe in. Oh Brother Where Art Thou? was about belief, when nobody else believed. I think maybe that's what I did better than anybody else, is believe." This belief in the spiritual qualities of music began way back in the sixties, in O'neill, Nebraska, where John lived with his parents and brother, right across from the National Guard Armory. Grady remembers sneaking into dances at the armory. "The Smoke Ring had a big blue bus and an equipment truck they would back into the armory. They let me and my buddies stand in the back room and listen, as long as we helped unload equipment. I guess that was probably my first job in the music business." Mike Semrad, Trustee of the Nebraska Rock n Roll Hall of Fame says Grady's accomplishments reflect well on his upbringing and Nebraska. "John Grady has scaled the musical Mountain in Nashville, and given the music community new hope in this brand new world of music technology. His Nebraska sensibilities and soul are a street level approach to music. He loves the music and the artists he represents, and this caring and sharing have elevated Sony Music in Nashville to a leadership position among record companies. " John Grady has always tempered his love of the music business with his first and foremost love of family. He has been married to Sue since 1976 and has two daughters, Shannon and karina. "I met Sue two weeks before I ever got a job in the music business. Our relationship has stayed focused on family and remained strong outside of the music business. I was John Grady a long time befoe I took this job, and I'm not going to change. I've got a lot of other things I want to do. But whatever I do, wherever I go, whether it's running this record label (Sony) or owning land in Nebraska, I'd like to leave it better than I found it." And as he told Jim Casey, "Damn right, I'm one of the O'neill bunch and I always will be!"