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Interview:
GRiZ gets into the giving season for the holidays
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Truth be told, GRiZ could easily have come to town this year for another sold-out GRiZmas concert and all would be fine.

But the Southfield-raised electronic artist and multi-instrumentalist, a Birmingham Groves High School graduate who splits his time between homes in downtown Detroit and Boulder, Colo., wanted to build something greater from the tradition he started last year. Hence the 12 Days of GRiZmas, a set of charitable events leading up to the Dec. 19 show at Detroit's Masonic Temple.

"We want to encourage people to donate their money to charity instead of spending it on some fast food or getting drunk with your friends," GRiZ, real name Grant Kwiecinski, says by phone. "Instead why don't you sacrifice a night or something and let that money do something good.

"We're just trying to encourage people to do something maybe they wouldn't normally do."

GRiZ, 25, says he's had the idea of a charitable initiative for awhile. "There's always the idea to do more good than you're already doing," he explains. "I was just looking for a good platform for it." He found that in Little Kids Rock, a New Jersey non-profit that provides free music instruction and instruments in at-risk public school districts around the country. The organization will be beneficiary of GRiZmas events ranging from ??

"This came from personal experience. If I wasn't introduced or given the chance to play music in elementary school, I probably wouldn't be playing music today," explains GRiZ, who attended Beverly Elementary School -- where the took up saxophone to impress a girl he had a crush on in the school band. "If you cut off those opportunities for kids, man, it sucks. I used to do this after-school program in audio-video production, and that lost its funding and had to end, too.

"So I'm hoping that working with (Little Kids Rock) we can help deter some of that and bring these opportunities back for kids, like I had."

The various 12 Days of GRiZmas activities were the result of brainstorming between GRiZ and his team, as well as some of his most fervent fans. As a byproduct, he also hopes that the events will bring even more attention to Detroit's continuing renaissance.

"I want to get people in the city of Detroit, hanging out in Detroit, making new friends there," GRiZ says. "When I was growing up, I didn't have opportunities to do that. They weren't there. I was mostly jsut getting (messed) up and going to raves or parties. There wasn't any initiative to get people to come down there, so maybe we can do that a little bit."

Then, of course, there's the GRiZmas show itself, which GRiZ promises will be an off the hook affair that will rock into the wee hours.

"You're always trying to outdo yourself," he says. "When we play Detroit, the vibes are, like, off the Richter scale. I'm gonna lose a lot of money on the show, even though it's sold out, but that's OK. I love what I do and I'm afforded more of an opportunity to do more, so I'll invest myself more into it.

"It's all about creating a good environment and a positive environment for people to enjoy music they love so much. I'm just going for the good vibe."

GRiZ will be doing that into the new year as well, after a busy 2015 that saw him release a new album ("Say It Loud") and a mixtape ("Chasing the Golden Hour -- Part 1") and collaborate on songs with Big Gigantic ("Good Times Roll") and Eric Bloom ("Feelin' High"). GRiZ is currently writing and lining up guest vocalists for another album, with a May deadline that's helping him stay focused on the task at hand.

"I've got my work cut out for me, I'll tell you that," he says. "For me, having a deadline is really constructive. It helps me not be lazy and I realize I've got to do this now and take all the resources I have and create something, no waiting. So right now that work swell for me.

"One of these days, maybe after this album, I'll sit back and take a few years to make an album. But right now I feel like the universe is giving me a lot of intention and a lot of purpose to write music and create, so that's what I'm gonna do."

The 12 Days of GRiZmas

Now through Dec. 19, including a beer tasting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at Roak Brewing Company, 330 E. Lincoln Ave. Royal Oak and the sold-out GRiZmas concert on Dec. 19 at Detroit's Masonic Temple.

Proceeds from all events go to Little Kids Rock.

Details can be found at mynameisgriz.com/grizmas.


Web Site: www.mynameisgriz.com/grizmas

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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