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Former MSU student breaks into music industry

September 16, 2012
Former MSU student Grant Kwiecinski, stage name GRiZ performs Thursday night, Sept. 13, 2012 at The Loft in downtown Lansing. The sold out show brought hundreds of electronic music fans together to listen to the young artist. Adam Toolin/The State News
Former MSU student Grant Kwiecinski, stage name GRiZ performs Thursday night, Sept. 13, 2012 at The Loft in downtown Lansing. The sold out show brought hundreds of electronic music fans together to listen to the young artist. Adam Toolin/The State News —
Photo by Adam Toolin | and Adam Toolin The State News

Former MSU student Grant Kwiecinski took control of his future when he decided to postpone his college education and focus on a music career. In his mind, Kwiecinski said, it was now or never.
“Things don’t just happen,” he said. “We make our own destiny.”

Kwiecinski, who originally considered himself a concert musician, discovered his true niche in electronica when he was 14. The capabilities of the various software he used, such as Fruity Loops, held his interest for hours, and he subconsciously began to form his identity as GRiZ.

Producing music on his computer gave Kwiecinski the power to single-handedly create an array of sounds, and he said he was hooked immediately.

“I kind of was obsessed with being able to shape music,” he said.

Since the make of his first tracks in 2005, Kwiecinski has been on tour and performed in venues across the country. GRiZ’s most recent show at The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing, was his first performance that sold out beforehand. Kwiecinski was ecstatic, to say the least, he said.
“I was just really happy that everybody was as excited as I was to share a performance back in my hometown,” he said. “(It) was kind of like a homecoming.”

Hunter Williams, GRiZ’s booking agent, said he wasn’t entirely surprised that the show sold out so quickly. Williams said that since he began working with Kwiecinski in February 2012, his musical talent combined with his natural business instincts have contributed to a continually growing fan base.

“GRiZ has built up a natural and organic buzz through his recent releases that has really made an impact on our industry and is something that is still spreading extremely quickly,” Williams said.
Shortly after she began listening to him, psychology junior Anna Kurapey said she found herself hooked on his beats.

“In his field, he’s becoming one of the best,” she said.

Kurapey attended a Gramatik show in Chicago that featured GRiZ, and she said the atmosphere was full of excitement.

Kwiecinski said he especially loves interacting with his fans during performances, and he feeds off their energy.

“When I say, ‘Hands up,’ when my hand is up, and everyone’s (hand) goes up … there’s that moment where everyone is on the same wavelength.”

Although music has become his career, GRiZ has provided listeners with a free download of his most recent album, “Mad Liberation.” While this decision could potentially jeopardize his profit, Kwiecinski said it’s a worthy sacrifice to be able to have his music shared.

“It’s important for it to be heard and shared,” he said. “It’s spiritual, and I don’t want to put a price on that.”

Kwiecinski does have intentions of eventually returning to school and graduating with a degree, but in the meantime, he is focused on the future of GRiZ.

“(I want to) have that sense of accomplishment, of feeling like I did something,” he said. “I’m not looking for a beach or a helicopter; I’m looking for that personal legacy.”

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