Breaking Down EDM’s Funk Frontier: A Dive into Bass Funk and Funk Jam
January 30, 2024
January 30, 2024
To his friends and family, he goes by Grant Kwiecinski, the 28-year-old kid from north Detroit who grew up on a healthy diet of American funk, golden-age hip-hop, and dance music. To the rest of the world, his name is GRiZ, the Denver-based multifaceted artist who’s funkin’ up dance floors worldwide with his self-described “future funk” sound, which mixes electronic music with his fiery live saxophone, energetic funk, and sweeping electro-soul.
GRiZ has remained one of the leading independent artists in electronic music throughout the years, from his 2011 debut album to his breakout album Good Will Prevail (September 2016), which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Electronic chart and charted on the Billboard 200 chart—an impressive feat for a free release. GRiZ is now preparing to release his new album Ride Waves (self-released, out April 5, 2019). As his most creatively ambitious and most personal project to date, the 14-track album features collaborations with major artists like Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Matisyahu, DRAM, and Bootsy Collins and sees the producer taking his sound toward uncharted territories in hip-hop, pop, and dance music, all while keeping the funky GRiZ sound intact.
The album, which comes after GRiZ’s extended, eight-month-long social media blackout to refocus on personal self-discovery and his own artistic growth, is led by the double-single “It Gets Better,” featuring multi-platinum, GRAMMY-nominated rapper/singer DRAM, and “Can’t Get Enough,” the latter of which features GRiZ’s own vocals for the first time ever. Elsewhere, GRiZ enlists hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg and up-and-coming Chicago rapper/producer ProbCause on the funk-rap hybrid “My Friends and I Pt. 2”; hip-hop star and actor Wiz Khalifa on the uplifting soul track “Find My Own Way”; and reggae singer/rapper Matisyahu on “A New Day.”
A champion of the live electronic landscape, GRiZ’s live shows—which mix improvised saxophone, guitar, and vocals—have become massive draws around the world. In addition to mainstage performances at major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands, as well as headlining sets at Electric Forest and Lightning in a Bottle, GRiZ has headlined and sold out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver for four consecutive years and counting. He also debuted the 15-piece GRiZ Live Band at the iconic venue in 2017.
Outside of music, GRiZ dedicates his time and energy to his ongoing charity work and community activism. Via his annual run of GRiZMAS holiday shows at Detroit Masonic Temple, which has sold out every year since launching in 2014, and the coinciding 12 Days of GRiZMAS series, he has raised funds for music education programs within public schools across the greater Detroit area. Over the years, GRiZ has donated well over $100,000 as part of the GRiZMAS shows. In November 2018, GRiZ partnered with LGBTQ nonprofit organization It Gets Better, created by renowned writer Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller, to help raise $7,000 on Facebook alone on Giving Tuesday. GRiZ, who came out as gay via an open and personal blog post on Huffington Post during Pride Month (June) in 2017, is a vocal supporter and active member of the LGBTQ community. He will continue working with It Gets Better over the next year, with planned support around Pride Month 2019. The organization will also use GRiZ’s track “It Gets Better” as part of its educational videos.
Sax man. Producer. DJ. Musician. GRiZ is all of the above—and then some. But beyond everything, GRiZ is the shining force of positivity who’s here to teach the world how to do one thing: Show Love, Spread Love. It’s the driving mantra that’s come to define the core of everything GRiZ. “I’m just here to spread good vibes, my friends,” the jovial producer says. “It all comes down to spreading the good word and sharing the love.” www.mynameisgriz.com