Grimm is grand Marshal of Krewe of Nereids; to perform Sunday at Silver Slipper

Published 3:03 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

Michael Grimm is flying into the Gulf Coast from Las Vegas this weekend to be the Grand Marshal of the Krewe of Nereids parade on Sunday, then perform at 7 p.m. at the Silver Slipper Casino.

The 44th annual parade gets underway at 1 p.m. Grimm and his band will perform from the Grand Marshal’s float.

Sunday’s show at Silver Slipper is free and is the second time Grimm has performed at Silver Slipper. In August he performed four shows over two nights with standing-room-only crowds at each show. Those attending the casino performance must be 21.

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The Sunday night performance is expected to be “packed out”, too.

Grimm now is a nationally known celebrity and musician after he burst on to the national scene last summer on the popular NBCTV show “America’s Got Talent.”

Before then he was known to be a highly professional entertainer in small circles in Las Vegas and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but he did not have the national recognition until he hit AGT.

His gripping personal story about being rescued and raised by his grandma in Waveland caught America’s imagination, and a public tired of bad news was looking for something uplifting.

Grimm not only had a touching personal story but also was loaded with talent. Judge Sharon Osbourne, who always ended her comments with “awesome” and “I got goose bumps,” said her husband, Ozzie, had already placed bets that he would win the AGT competition, which he did in mid-September. Judge Pierce Morgan said Grimm was the greatest talent he had ever seen on the show.

Grimm won $1 million, a performance contract with Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and later announced his marriage to Lucie Zolcerova, a Czech, and signed a recording contract with Epic Records.

Currently, he is in the process of recording an album to be released on March 29, followed by a national tour promoting the album. He proposed to Lucie on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

It will be his second national tour in less than a year. After winning the AGT contest, he toured with an AGT promotion in the Fall.

He and Lucie plan a June wedding in Hawaii.

His appearance on AGT developed into an American success story.

His grandmother, Laura Butters, who lives in Pine Grove Community, west of Picayune, where she moved after her Waveland home was destroyed by Katrina, sat breathlessly at home with her husband, Thomas, in their trailer rooting for their grandson.

Grimm told a national audience on the first show on AGT that if he won the $1 million he was going to build his grandmother a new home near Waveland and “get her out of that trailer in Picayune, Miss.”

It was Grandma Butters who rescued little Grimm and his sister when Grimm was four years old, after her daughter’s life and marriage fell apart. She obtained custody of Grimm and his sister from the courts and raised them herself. He attended and later graduated from Hancock North Central.

He told the national audience if it had not been for his grandmother, he and his sister would have been separated and placed in foster homes, or an orphanage.

Grandma Butters introduced Grimm at age five to the piano, and he began singing and performing in church. “He had a talent for performing and singing, and I knew God was going to do something for him later,” said  Butters.

It wasn’t long before Grimm was entertaining, with a little small electrical guitar given to him by Butters, the neighborhood kids on his grandmother’s back porch and was singing in church. When he became a teen-ager, he began singing for engagements and at clubs, accompanied by his grandmother.

When he turned 18, he began singing in Gulf Coast clubs, developed a small following there, and in 2000 was discovered by a talent agent from Vegas and invited out there to development his talent. He had eased from country into blues, and he never compromised his venue.

Some of his fans says his rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman” is better than Percy Sledge’s.

His talent got a buzz on the web and hard-core blues aficionados knew about him, but he was not nationally known. All that changed when he hit AGT. He was a sensation with his soulful renditions.

Grandma Butters said her grandson is doing what he said he was going to do. “He is a good, honest kid with a good heart, and he loves his grandma. We’ve already purchased land for a new home at Diamondhead and construction is planned to get underway soon,” she said from her home in Pine Grove Community.

She plans to be in the parade and at the performance on Sunday.

“It really is like a dream, but I know how much and how hard Michael worked for this, and so he deserves the success he has earned,” said Grandma Butters.