Dr. Ronald Grant, Sr.: Unsung
By Patricia Baldwin
“I Love You Lord and I lift my voice to worship You. Oh, my soul, rejoice! Take joy, My King, in what You hear and let it be a sweet, sweet Sound in Your ear.”
Did he have recordings? Not on his own. Did he have Stellars or Grammys? No again. Dr. Ronald Grant. Sr. was more than the front man of gospel music; he was the push that everyone needs to become who they are. He was known as the King of Open Mic (especially in Manhattan/Harlem) and some would say this is where he finished strong. However, Ron Grant invested decades of his life into making sure people discovered, challenged, and reached their full vocal potential. He was the world’s best vocal trainer if you could get him, and you had to be referred. He lent his abilities to singers like Mariah Carey, Faith Evans, Usher, Carl Thomas, and Mary Mary among others.
Grants’ musical history began at Fountain Christian Church (now Fountain Christian Center, Inc.) in Brooklyn, NY as a children’s choir participant, then musician’s assistant, and eventually musical director. Soon his career took him to stage plays as an original cast member of Vy Higginsen’s Mama I Want to Sing and Let The Music Play-Gospel. Afterward, he returned to his home church, which was always important to Ronald, because he knew he had an obligation to God and a responsibility for his commitment.
Ron eventually became a senior A&R executive for Sony Music under the leadership of Tommy Mottola and nurtured top-selling gospel and secular hit makers as well. Working with Sony he headlined showcases, touring Thailand (where he is famously loved), Japan, and the UK. Grant closed every performance singing “I Love You Lord” as his prayer, giving the glory back to God no matter where he was.
Ronald believed you can create an atmosphere with your voice. He explained, “God created this world with the sound of His voice; your tones, pitches, and volume can command an audience to pay attention to you… We are to be like Christ and anyone who hears me will know I’m an heir of God.”
The proof was evident in the various trips Ronald made. Not only did he arrive safely, but he made it home in time for Sunday’s service to continue his calling, as Head Musical Director of FCC Dr. Ronald Grant, Sr. It’s true, only what you do for Christ will last and your legacy will be remembered forever.
Thank you, Ron — for loving me, pushing me, seeing greatness in me as a little girl, talking, yelling, and teaching me, listening to me, showing me, and making me your assistant. I am humbled and forever grateful that you were a part of my life. I pray you are proud. Rest Easy