Grant Hendrickson’s parents knew their son had vocal talent by the time he was 3. By age 5, Hendrickson was asking for piano lessons.
Fast forward to the University of Wisconsin, where he became heavily involved with his a cappella group and began to lean into performing and shift away from his desire to teach music.
“I was student teaching K-12, and I just felt if I didn’t give singing a real shot, I would always wonder what could have been,” Hendrickson said.
He landed in Los Angeles, where he worked at The Ivy restaurant waiting on the likes of musician John Mayer, actor Morgan Freeman, and former super couple Seal and Heidi Klum.
“L.A. is tough,” Hendrickson said. “Major record labels weren’t cutting development deals anymore; you had to come to the table already having been developed.”
That prompted Hendrickson to get back with his college buddies to form The Cat’s Pajamas Vocal Band, performing all over the world via cruise ships for the better part of five years. It was on a ship that Hendrickson met his wife, Sarah, an improv performer. The couple spent time in Branson, Missouri, and started an entertainment company called Entertain You Productions Entertain You Productions, where they represented talent booking gigs nationally and internationally.
The Hendricksons also spent more time performing on cruise ships before landing in East Lansing, where Sarah is from, to make a home and start a family. The two homed in on the wedding side of EYP.
“People looking for live music and DJ services but couldn’t really afford a full band — that’s where I came in and started doing 25 to 30 weddings a year,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson supplements his income with a full-time job to allow him to spend time with family rather than be on the road — and it’s his ability to connect with people that that makes him a rising star. Hendrickson became a partner this year at Brogan in East Lansing, helping small and large employers with employee insurance benefits.
“I use my education background now to coach adults on how to best use these insurance programs that are oftentimes confusing and complex,” he said.
As for the trials of the last year and a half, “I always though the wedding industry would be recession-proof, but it’s not pandemic-proof,” Hendrickson said. “But no one was dropping their health insurance, they needed us more than ever. If I hadn’t been working doing employee benefits, I don’t know what would have happened.”
Hendrickson takes opportunities to give back to the community and contribute to nonprofit events like Dapper Dads through his time and services. And EYP is working on a backyard concert series for the fall. “People are so hungry for live entertainment and the ability to do it safely outside will allow us to find unique and creative ways to perform,” he said.
The Hendricksons are now noticing a recurrence of his early artistic passion from 5-year-old daughter Madelyn.
“She’s our little artist in training. She loves to sing, dance and do gymnastics,” Hendrickson said. “So sharing our passion for the arts with her is probably one of my greatest joys.”
While the Hendricksons will always support Madelyn’s dreams, following in her family’s footsteps would certainly ensure the show would go on.