Today at age 25, GRiZ (or Grant Kwiecinski, to his mom) is already preparing for an active 2016. With his latest releases Say It Loud and Chasing The Golden Hour Pt. 1 (both via his All Good Records imprint), follow-ups to their predecessors, End of The World Party, Rebel Era and Mad Liberation, GRiZ has had a massive year. A sold out spring tour saw the artist headlining some of the nation’s top venues in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philly, Nashville etc., the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Detroit Masonic Temple in his beloved hometown. Just this year alone, the sax man released six singles that all claimed the coveted #1 spot on Hype Machine’s most popular charts. Up next, GRiZ is ready to tackle the next chapter as we close out 2015 and head into 2016 – but first … let’s recap.
The year 2015 saw the release of the artist’s critically acclaimed studio album Say It Loud. More than a year-and-a-half of his life went into writing and recording the album + GRiZ began, of course, in Detroit, then moved to a remote cabin upstate with Exmag to escape the trappings of city cacophony and cell-phone service. From there, he landed in Brooklyn at Daptone Records’ studio, collaborating with Antibalas. And he hit Los Angeles just to work with the Children’s Chorus on the album’s opener.
Says GRiZ of the album as a whole, “I want to write better songs. I want to write contemporary funk songs. I want to produce an album that kind of has the new James Brown singing on it. You know what I’m saying? Something that sounds like it was made at Muscle Shoals.” As ambitious as Say It Loud may seem, this is a natural next step for GRiZ, who thrives on bending genres. “I could’ve sampled everything. Most of my music is created for a live experience,” he notes. “But now, I really want a body of work that is 100% my own.”
Critics agreed and caught what GRiZ was throwing their way. With Billboard calling the collection “brilliant” and DJ Mag projecting that with this release, the artist’s career will dominate the world of electronic music and “be much more than all good – it’s going to be great.” The album also landed at the top of the iTunes electronic charts which speaks volumes for Grant’s loyal fanbase considering he released the body of work on BitTorrent for free.
Most recently, GRiZ teamed up with fellow electronic funk icons, Big Gigantic, to put out “Good Times Roll” a feel good track that took the top spot on Spotify’s viral chart and is continuing to dominate the blogosphere. The artist also released part one of a two part mixtape as a thank you to the aforementioned following of loyal fans who have been with him every step of the way. Dubbed Chasing The Golden Hour Pt. 1, the 9-songs were inspired by the golden era of hip-hop: Hi-Tek, J. Dilla etc.
So what’s next? More great music, a fall headlining tour and another spring/summer return to the festival circuit in 2016. In addition to building his own brand, GRiZ will continue to develop artists as he expands his self-run record label All Good Records. Speaking of growing – if you find yourself in Denver, you might want to check out GRiZ Kush, the artist’s own strain of weed that is sold legally in the mile-high city. That said, bring on the next chapter. GRiZ is ready.