Canadian-born musician Donna Grantis is best known as a guitar-slinging member of Prince’s bands 3rdeyegirl and New Power Generation. Well-versed in funk, soul, jazz-fusion, electric blues and hard rock, Grantis traded solos night after night with the Purple One. She joined 3rdeyegirl after a personal invitation from Prince in 2012 and toured the U.K., Europe and North America, as well as playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival and at the White House for the Obama family. She has also led her own band since 2010 and worked on recordings by the Red Light Riot, Shakura S’Aida and Bobby Dean Blackburn, in addition to her own music.
Prince discovered Grantis’s work online and, in late 2012, invited her to Paisley Park to audition for 3rdeyegirl band. Grantis moved to Minneapolis from Toronto and spent four years playing in both 3rdeyegirl and New Power Generation.
Following her collaboration with Prince, Grantis fronted a five-piece electric jazz quintet and released the critically acclaimed debut album Diamonds & Dynamite. On two of the album’s tracks, Grantis collaborated with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.
Last year, Grantis produced Shakura S’Aida’s Hold On to Love, a deeply soulful album which was nominated for contemporary roots album of the year at the 2023 Juno Awards.
Grantis joined us in the Gumbo Kitchen for a conversation.