Michael Grimm was born in Colorado on the Fort Carson base. After his father was discharged from the military, the family moved to Slidell, Louisiana.
"My dad was not making any money," Grimm said, "so my mother cleaned churches to try to pay the bills. We lived in a little camper that had holes in the floor."
When it became too difficult for Grimm's parents to support him and his younger sister, Grimm's grandparents took the kids to live with them in Waveland. Grimm's grandmother played piano in a church and taught Michael and his sister her favorite gospel hymns. "That's what first inspired me to sing," Grimm recalled.
When he was 11, Grimm sang at a wedding. One of the guests heard him and made him an offer. "This guy owned a bar, and he said, 'I know you're going on 12, but if you bring a legal guardian and you want to sing a karaoke set here … we can't pay you anything, but you can put a tip jar down.'"
Grimm accepted and wound up performing there for the next several years. At age 15, he began writing songs, and taught himself to play guitar. A few years later, he was hired as a guitarist and back-up vocalist for the live celebrity impersonation show "Legends in Concert" in Biloxi. At age 21, Grimm was offered a job performing at the "Legends in Concert" show in Las Vegas.
In the spring of 2010, Grimm auditioned for America's Got Talent. "Winning was not in my plan," Grimm said. "I was just hoping to get some attention from the record labels so I could sign a deal, make some money, and buy my grandparents a house. I was shocked when I won."