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It's beginning to look a lot like GRiZmas...
GRiZ has no shortage of cool things to do over the course of any given year, whether it’s concerts or recording projects or even his own beer or cannabis strain.
But the Southfield-raised electronic musician, a Birmingham Groves High School graduate, acknowledges that the annual GRiZmas celebration in his hometown may be the coolest.
GRiZ (real name Grant Kwiecinski), started the concept in 2014 to raise money for Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit that helps fund and create youth music programs in public schools. He raises more than $80,000 during the first three GRiZmases. This year’s edition grows to 12 days of events, including a pop-up store in downtown Detroit and a Hanukkah celebration, culminating in three live shows, one at the Royal Oak Music Theatre and two at Detroit’s Masonic Temple.
“This year we really gave ourselves as much time as we possibly could to start planning for the GRiZmas stuff — starting back in May, when it was, like, 80 degrees outside,” GRiZ, 27, who resides in Denver, says by phone. This year’s GRiZmas goal, he adds, is to expand the event’s reach beyond his fan base and bring more communitywide appeal.
“I think the GRiZmas brand kind of starts and stops with GRIZ fans, who are amazing, but we want to change that, too,” he explains. “We want GRiZmas to be about everybody. Charity is an everybody idea. We started with our fans, ’cause they’re the best people ever, but now it’s like, all right, let’s try and make this more accessible to everybody ... people that are interested in philanthropy.”
GRiZmas gets underway Tuesday, Dec. 5, with the opening of the pop-up store at 20 Witherell St. in downtown Detroit. Other activities including a night of holiday caroling on the Q Line and in Campus Martius Park, a bowling party, a bar crawl, yoga in the Fisher Building lobby, an industry panel at Assemble Sound in Detroit’s Corktown section, a roller disco party and a Muzz-Hannukah party with storytelling and a movie at the Masonic, co-hosted by GRiZ band guitarist Dan “Muzzy” Hacker.
GRiZ will play DJ sets on Dec. 14 at the Royal Oak and Dec. 16 at the Masonic, with a full-band concert on Dec. 15. Details on all the events can be found at griz.prezly.com.
“Last year my favorite (event) was the roller disco,” says GRiZ. “That was so much fun. It’s not often you get a chance to really dig deep into your childhood roots. We had a disco theme; We were playing jock jams, groovy throwback tunes, bump ‘n’ grind disco stuff.
“It was fun to cut loose and see all these happy, smiling faces of people. Hopefully that’ll happen again this year.”
GRiZ hopes to finish his sixth studio album next year after releasing a “Chasing The Golden Hour Part 2” mixtape this year in tandem with his beer brand of the same name.
He is pleased the money GRiZmas has raised so far has allowed Little Kids Rock to open a full-time chapter in Detroit and have a constant presence in the metro area for its programs and initiatives.
“It might be called GRiZmas, but at the end of the day it’s about kids and giving them more outlets to create music,” GRiZ explains. “We just want to keep building it and bringing more people to the party. We’re making change happen — and it’s not just us. Sure, we’re the ones waving the flag, but you can’t get any wind under that flag without the fans and the people who have supported us so far.
“They’re the ones making it happen. We’re just the ones plugging it in.”
• If You Go: 12 Days of GRiZMas runs Dec. 5-16 in Detroit and Royal Oak. All proceeds go to Little Kids Rock. For a schedule and other details visit griz.prezly.com.
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