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Dusty Grant rises again with 'Sinking Further'

Spencer Peck

Wichita musician Dusty Grant is back with a new single and video. The singer-songwriter says that this time out he was inspired by holding himself accountable for not being his best.

Wichita's Dusty Grant has emerged with another song dealing with issues of self-empowerment and self-knowledge via his latest single, "Sinking Further," which is also accompanied by a new video.

Co-written with Jason Catlett, the song has all the hallmarks of a Grant classic: A driving hook, verses that offer some truth about the human condition, and a sense that what we're hearing is the singer laying his soul bare.

Grant recently spoke with KMUW about the inspiration behind the song.

Interview Highlights

What is it about this song, "Sinking Further," than songs that you've recorded and released in the past?

I wrote it about myself a little bit. It was like me talking to myself when I was a crappier version of myself, when I was not facing up to the things that I was doing that were causing me the problems that I was having. I own those things. As I started doing that, I started noting how other people were afraid to face the things that were making them how they are. Bitter people. People that are really nasty to you. I wrote [this song] about that and how people that are afraid to face those demons usually project their misery on other people and try to cut other people down. It's deep, but that's what I wrote this one about.

You mentioned talking to your past self about when you weren't at your best. I think that's a necessary process in growth. We have to acknowledge it before we can move on.

First, you have to allow yourself some grace. You have to say, "Hey, you did have a run of a few things there that spiraled you downward but you stayed down because you weren't dealing with the symptoms that were causing the problems that you had." Anybody would be downtrodden during that time. However, there are certain things that you can do in your lifestyle, there are certain actions you can take to not let your traumas define you. Once I took a deep look at that accepted that [there were] some of these behaviors that I [was] doing that [were] contributing to why I feel how I feel.

Ironically, once I started doing that, I started feeling better. It's not an easy process; it's very humbling and it makes you ashamed of the way you are sometimes. "Man, I really let myself go." But the good thing is, you've got tomorrow; you can wake up tomorrow and do better.

All that said, there is that fine line between holding ourselves accountable and beating ourselves up.

There is. There's a definite fine line. I think the secret is grace. You do have to have some grace and you have to have people around you that you can rely on. [To say], "How did it go today?" "Man, it was terrible. I'm the worst. I'm never going to get this." My wife will say, "Come on now. Get back down to earth. Get up tomorrow and do it again. Get it. I know you'll get it. You'll keep working at it." It's really hard for me personally not to be super hard on myself when I make a mistake. When I'm not properly prepared. When I'm not taking the best care of myself. When I miss out on something. If I'm wasting one second of any day, it drives me crazy but I'm getting better [at saying], "It's OK for you to sit for an hour and watch TV and recharge. It's OK for you to take a couple weeks to yourself to rest. It's OK to acknowledge that you do need a break."

One thing that really strikes me when I listen to the new single is that you are really good at writing hooks. I'm curious where that starts for you. How do you craft a hook for a tune?

Typically, for me, it's the melody. Especially with these songs that I've written with Jason Catlett. He'll send me a couple riffs; he'll send me a one-minute section of a song. I'll just start thinking of melodies. I'll hear something that I think might be hooky and then I try to take some sort of a concept — whether it's grief, whether it's you not being the best version of yourself — and then I try to come up with a concept and then I try to write words around that.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.