"If you want to be an artist, you must love every second of what you do. Enjoy the come up, hardships, and struggles. Embrace everything that you come across.".
Grant Lee is an unstoppable multi-instrumentalist producer and label head based out of Tampa, Florida. Known for integrating live instruments into his electronic music performances, he has had the opportunity to share the stage with prominent artists such as Chris Lake, Galantis, Tchami, and many more.
We recently caught up with Grant to discuss his origin story, work ethic, and his advice for getting booked at shows.
So first of all, what got you into playing live shows? What drove you to try and do them yourself?
I was about 12 years old and had begun my first year of middle school. I had recently moved to Gurnee, IL and found a group of friends that I connected with. One day during lunch, we decided that we were all going to start a band. During that same month, I saved up enough money to purchase my first guitar. With the small amount of money that I had, I went to Sam’s Club and bought a Fender Starcaster guitar starter pack.
For the next year, I played the guitar from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. Every day I was learning something new and began composing my music shortly after. For the next four years, I played in different bands, recorded music, and travelled around the Midwest playing shows. Once I was of age, I attended my first music festival, which was Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, FL. I was blown away by the production, the large crowds, and beautiful music that was played. I remember thinking to myself “how in the world are these artists doing that, and how can I get on that stage?”
When I began college, I purchased my first pair of turntables and began producing my music on Ableton. I owe my sincerest gratitude for the support that my fraternity brothers at Sigma Nu Theta Alpha chapter provided when I started DJing. Anytime that we had a social, formal, get together, pool party, or philanthropic event, I was the go-to guy when it came to music. It was at those parties that I began to understand what being a DJ truly is. During the same time frame, I started playing performing night clubs around the city of Tampa, FL. Today I am fortunate enough to be at the point where I produce my music, perform at music festivals, and headline shows in the Tampa Bay area.
How would you describe your work ethic?
I try to produce music at least once a day, whenever I can find the time. I like to spend a lot of time preparing for shows. So, if I have a big show coming up, I tend to focus all my energy towards that. Aside from that, I help run a record label called Smokehouse records. It is a record label and collective that I'm in.
I am also an avid reader and try to squeeze that into my schedule. I recently began taking vocal lessons with the intent of original recording vocals for my music. Lastly, I have been making an effort to travel as much as possible. I want to see the whole planet before my time in this world is over.
How do you handle rejection and letdowns? Do you see them as a negative or positive?
Rejections and let downs are the fuel to my fire. They are a positive reinforcement that kicks your ass into gear. It allows you to know that you need to work harder. I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. If I do not receive the intended outcome from a given situation, there is always an underlying reason.
What are you trying to achieve within the next 5-10 years?
Even if I do not know why, the answers always come back to me in one way or another. I currently have a vision board in my studio with a list of labels, festivals, and events that I would like to be a part of. If I am fortunate enough to make those things happen, I will be ecstatic. The best thing about the vision board is that as soon as I hung it up, I began taking steps that lead me to accomplish some of the things that I had put on my vision board. The universe works in mysterious ways.
What advice can you give to producers starting out who are trying to get booked at shows?
To all my producers out there trying to make a name for themselves, I would recommend a couple of essential things. First and foremost, the best thing that you can do is produce original music. I cannot stress this enough.
The second thing I can recommend is to be as professional as possible. This includes professional branding, social media, having music available for streaming, business cards, press photos, preparing an EPK, the list goes on. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make observations of artists that are already established in the music industry.
The third thing that I would recommend is to enjoy the ride. Life is a journey, and it is meant to be fulfilling. If you want to be an artist, you must love every second of what you do. Enjoy the come up, hardships, and struggles. Appreciate the friendships and relationships that you make. Embrace everything that you come across.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to WEDM via Matt@giuthicproduction.com