How a torn ACL sent Grant Santoscoy down a different path

Student Spotlight: Grant Santoscoy

By Nick Hawks

Grant Santoscoy can’t stop smiling. When talking about Kurt Cobain, he smiles. When talking about being unsure of what the next chapter of his life looks like, he smiles. Even when talking about tearing his ACL at 18, he smiles.

“I’ve never been told that before,” Santoscoy said, his cheeks slightly blushing as he sips on his cup of hot black coffee.  He wore a long sleeve wool brown shirt that matched his brown eyes, with shaggy long hair to go with it. He insisted he wasn’t not too hot, despite the Friday afternoon summer heat, as he brushed back his grungy hair.  

His story begins two years ago, when he tore his ACL playing basketball. 

 Santoscoy’s life changed because of that torn ACL. With nothing but endless hours on the couch ahead of him while he recovered, he needed something to keep his mind busy. So Santoscoy did something that most people leave unchecked on their bucket list — he taught himself how to play the guitar.

Fueled by, as he describes it, an “unhealthy” Nirvana obsession, Santoscoy taught himself the power chords to Nirvana’s music, tweaked them to fit his alternative style, and now, two years later, he’s the front man for the band, Bloodhounds. 

Initially, Santoscoy had a difficult time convincing anybody to let him perform. He called a local club every day for two weeks, leaving voice messages that went unreturned. He messaged people on Facebook. He uploaded a song onto Spotify, “Stare,” that got decent attention with over 3,000 plays. It’s a mellow tune about a girl he had a crush on.

“We talked about weird things, like conspiracy theories,” he said. “Her walls were covered with stuff that people drew on them with markers. One of my lyrics is actually about that. I was having a really tough time at the time.  On the drive home, it was the first time I sang in the car in a long time.”

While things with the girl did not work out, he eventually heard back from the club, being told that as long as brought ten people with him, he could perform. The first time he performed, he was so nervous that it made him sick.  

“I puked in the bathroom before I went on stage,” Santoscoy said. “Twice.” 

Despite being relatively new to performing, Santoscoy has always been a music fanatic. He has long admired bands like Radiohead, Nirvana and The Beatles, which is evident in the way he performs. Singing with a soft voice that he sometimes calls a “mumble,” most of his songs are based on heartbreak.

“I broke up with my girlfriend in a parking lot and instantly walked up to my apartment and wrote a song about it,” Santoscoy said of his song titled, “I Will Always Love You.” 

He can casually recall the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song despite not liking her music, a by-product of what he describes as a musical photographic memory. He’ll often slip in a random musical fact into conversation, such as how when John Lennon recorded “Twist and Shout,” he was sick and shredded up his vocal chords or how Nirvana once went by the name ‘Fecal Matter.’   

In addition to having his own band, Santoscoy majors in psychology at Cleveland State University. He’ll admit to not feeling the type of passion for school that he feels for music. 

“I’ll be sitting in class bored and just randomly look up the history of Slipknot,” Santoscoy said.

Santoscoy realizes the odds of making it big as a musician are slim, but he doesn’t get too stressed out about it.

“I feel like if I don’t make it, it’s just because I didn’t work hard enough,” Santoscoy said. “And if I didn’t work hard enough, I didn’t want it enough.”

Somehow, before the interview is over, the conversation once again switched back to Kurt Cobain and how Cobain suffered from a constant sore throat, to go along with persistent stomach pain. Santoscoy’s face lit up, remembering something he’s been wanting to say.   

“I actually have a copy of his journal at home,” he said, smiling. 

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