“Some of the tracks on ‘Ride Waves’ go even deeper into building validity around taboo emotions like sadness and loneliness or feeling like an outcast,” GRiZ tells DJ Mag. “[I wanted to create] a place for people to safely and cathartically experience those emotions within a three- to five-minute period of the song, and find some release in that.”
But, for every somber note on the album there’s a kick-ass, party anthem to match. Among those is ‘Bustin Out’, a retro-fitted groove boasting vocals by legendary Parliament Funkadelic bass player and singer, Bootsy Collins. Though the collaboration seems like a natural fit, GRiZ admits he was initially overwhelmed by the prospect of working with an artist that carried as much clout and experience as the ‘70s icon. “At first I was freaking out, just wondering how the fuck is this going to go,” GRiZ says excitedly. “I was fortunate enough to get to interview him about the track, and holy shit the stuff he has to say! I thought I was talking to God... actually, I’m still not convinced that Bootsy Collins isn’t God.” GRiZ found a kindred spirit in Collins. “He wasn’t giving glazed over or salty, bitter takes either. It was all about hard lessons learned in a beautiful way,” he adds. “He is the embodiment of do it and live it.”
“Do it and live it” seems to be the same mantra GRiZ is living by these days. His endless well of positivity has brought novel collaborators to his door, with rappers Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa also lending vocal performances to ‘Ride Waves’. Another vocalist appearing on a GRiZ album for the first time is Kwiecinski himself. A tinny, uplifting guitar riff leads him in on the boogie-centric track ‘Can’t Get Enough’, just before the sax-man spits rhymes about unrequited love, bad habits, hard work and his burning desire to just keep going. Though singing once wracked his nerves, it has become an integral part of GRiZ’s live show. He kicks off his high-energy romp with a strong voice, that, while not professionally trained, certainly gets the job done.
“There’s nothing more cringey than hearing yourself singing, but I’ll tell you what, the reason why I kept those vocals on the track is because that’s a story I wanted to tell that could only come from my voice,” GRiZ shares. “When I start something new, I come from a place of love. It’s not because I think people should like me, but because I love myself. If that’s my perspective then you can’t fuck with me. It’s unfuckwithable.”
Unfuckwithable, indeed. We can’t think of a better made-up word to describe the young star’s rise to the top; his career only gets more massive with each experimental single or good deed dropped. GRiZ’s ‘Ride Waves’ Tour (in which he shares the stage with longtime friend and collaborator Muzzy Bearr) is already well underway. It all started in March with sax-filled, visually stunning performances at Envision Festival and Ultra Music Festival, followed up by a frosty foray at Snowbombing in Canada last month. Next, Kwiecinski hops the pond to break new ground in Europe, before he wraps 2019 with the sixth iteration of his 12 Days of GRiZMAS charitable event series — a collection of annual hometown shows that have raised more than $100,000 to date for Detroit public schools.
He’s a musician, a philanthropist, an ally and a friend. He’s done it all, and yet, he still can’t get enough. The secret to his perseverance all stems back to self-love. “‘Ride Waves’ is an allegory to that; the waves come and pass. They come in different shapes and sizes, and varying speeds,” he explains. “Just hold yourself in the highest esteem and show gratitude for the things you have in life and you’ll be good.”