Grandson’s Top Five Collabs: Tom Morello, Mike Shinoda, K.Flay & More

13 December 2023 | 2:42 pm | Ellie Robinson
In Partnership With Destroy All Lines

The mind-bending rap-rocker is touring Australia next month.

Grandson / Tom Morello / Mike Shinoda / K.Flay

Grandson / Tom Morello / Mike Shinoda / K.Flay (Supplied)

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At the young age of 30, Jordan Benjamin – better known to most as grandson – has fast become one of the most interesting names in alternative music. His impassioned, emotionally and politically charged rap-rock is some of the sharpest out there – it’s really no surprise that over a decade of hustling, he’s caught the attention of his biggest influences, many of whom have leapt at the chance to link up with him.

“I’ve been really fortunate to work with all kinds of different artists,” Benjamin tells The Music, “ranging from people I looked up to when I was a kid, to up-and-coming and exciting artists that I'm a fan of. There's different ways to find value in a collaboration. Obviously, it means a lot that my biggest collaborations have brought in a lot of new fans or led me to exploring a new sound that I take with me on this journey, but the collaborations that mean the most to me over the course of my career give me an opportunity to meet a lifelong collaborator.

“If I have the opportunity to use music to connect with somebody who really inspires me and challenges me – and that relationship can extend beyond writing a song – that, for me, is the most valuable sense of collaboration.”

In just a couple of weeks, Benjamin will take the grandson project to Australia for the very first time, performing stately headline shows in Brisbane (Meanjin), Sydney (Eora) and Melbourne (Naarm) over a hectic week traversing the east coast. The tour comes in support of his scorching second album, I Love You, I'm Trying, which arrived in May of this year via Fueled By Ramen and sported career-defining cuts like Eulogy, Drones and Something To Hide.

Before we lose our minds to his one-of-a-kind live show, we caught up with Benjamin to chat about the five collaborations that had the biggest impact on him and his artistry. See the full list below, then head here to grab your tickets for next month’s epic gigs.

1. Tom Morello

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Tom Morello was really valuable for me. He's somebody whose work, both within music and in activism, I've always admired and looked up to. He's undoubtedly the greatest guitarist of a generation, so to be able to write Hold The Line with him, a song that ended up serving as a soundtrack for a workers rights movement here in America and around the world meant a lot to me. He actually did a remix for my song Blood // Water, too.

2. Mike Shinoda

I started working with Mike Shinoda around the same time, even a little earlier. I had been a fan of Mike's music through Linkin Park and Fort Minor since I was a young high school music fan. When he reached out, I had initially kind of thought that it was a fan account or something, and it took me a while to connect the dots that it really was him. We began a friendship through Instagram and he invited me in to work on his solo album, which was the first body of work he had made since Chester Bennington's untimely passing.

There was a great sense of weight as far as Linkin Park and rock fans around the world curious what he would have to say on this album, which was titled Post Traumatic. So getting to write Running From My Shadow with him at that time was really cool. Since then, he's actually contributed production on all of the albums I've made over the years. He's somebody that remains a friend I can turn to and get guidance from. And that's the kind of collaboration that feels the most organic and honest. At this point, if there's not going to be that element to it, I'm not as interested in it.

3. K.Flay

I just toured across North America with K.Flay and we've made several songs together. During the pandemic, she got on board and helped connect the dots between me and X Ambassadors, and the three of us made this song called Zen about staying sane during the pandemic. That's my dog right there. She's also coming to Australia pretty soon. I feel so incredibly lucky that by putting myself into the world and making music like this, it's enabled me to meet like-minded individuals. If you're lucky, you can find your people.

4. KennyHoopla

As far as newer artists, I worked with KennyHoopla during the pandemic. He is an electrifying performer and great singer songwriter. I’m on a song of his called lost cause//. We don't live in the same city, so we don't get to connect much other than when we're backstage at a festival, but it's always love and always fun to share the stage together. I don't know if he's come to Australia yet, but you’ve just got to see him live – everything from his social media to his style and his music, they all come together on the show to make this really cool tornado.

5. Wafia

I did a little interlude called I Will Be Here When You Wake Up on my last album with my girlfriend, an incredible singer songwriter named Wafia. She actually contributed vocals to the whole project, singing in the background. It was a really special moment to be able to use the music that we're making as a kind of time capsule for our relationship and for the ways that our art has influenced one another. It was a really cool experience. I ended up with this Australian pop star – who would have thought!


2024 Australian tour

Tuesday January 30 – Meanjin/Brisbane, Princess Theatre
Saturday February 3 – Eora/Sydney, Liberty Hall
Sunday February 4 – Naarm/Melbourne, 170 Russell