It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for GRiZ, Ahead of Fourth Annual GRiZmas

Griz
Jason Siegel

Griz

The burgeoning electronic GRiZ artist is back in his home town of Detroit for his fourth annual GRiZmas celebration, a 12-day event that includes runs through Dec. 16.

The festivities include holiday caroling, a bowling night, a pub crawl, yoga and an industry panel discussion at Detroit's Assemble Sound, culminating with three live performances -- two DJ shows and one full-band gig. As usual, GRiZmas is raising money for Little Kids Rock, a national non-profit that helps fund and create youth music programs in public schools. The event has raised more than $80,000 during the first three years, allowing Little Kids Rock to start a Michigan chapter.

"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 tells Billboard. "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."

GRiZ, who resides mostly in Denver, began planning for this year's GRiZmas in May -- "When it was, like, 80 degrees outside," he says with a laugh. Among the new elements for the event are a pop-up shop that opened Dec. 6 in downtown Detroit and a Muzz-Hannukah party, with storytelling and a movie, co-hosted by GRiZ band guitarist Dan "Muzzy" Hacker. This year's goal, according to GRiZ, is a broader and more community-based appeal than GRiZmas has achieved to this point.

"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, alright, let's try and make this more accessible to everybody, not just GRiZ fans or even just GRiZ fans in Detroit, but Detroiters in general or, nationally, people that are interested in philanthropy."

A full GRiZmas schedule can be found here

The holiday event is hardly the only thing in GRiZ's stocking, too. This year he released a new mixtape, Chasing The Golden Hour Part 2 in tandem with his beer brand of the same name. His summer show itinerary included a pair of shows at Red Rocks, and he'll be ushering in the New Year with shows on Dec. 30-31 in Asheville. N.C.

Most importantly, he's working on new music -- including a sixth studio album to follow-up 2016's Good Will Prevail. But GRiZ cautions against anyone holding their breath waiting for it to surface imminently.

"I've been working on it really since the last one ended; I dovetail all my projects into each other like that. It doesn't stop," he says. "I took a day off from tour to fly to New York to record with a Harlem gospel choir. I spent some time in New Orleans during the tour to work on recording -- backup vocals, horn stuff. I've crated this road map of stuff and I'm just trying to fill in small details of what that journey feels like and looks like. I'm taking some time off this next year to really tap into that journey and tap into myself and figure out what I want this (album) to be.

"I'll find some beach or some cabin, maybe a combination of the two, in the middle of nowhere and internalize and quiet things down so I can hear what I'm trying to say," he continues. "I'd love to have the record finished within the next year, but not until I feel like it's what it needs to be."

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