Grieves’ voice doesn’t match his look, a tall, thin, 27 year old who looks more like he just celebrated his 18th birthday than someone on the higher side of 25. Born Benjamin Laub, Grieves has a smooth, clean voice accompanied by beats that make you want to stop what you’re doing and listen. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to catch him on the phone during his grueling days on Warped Tour.
(read more after the jump)
One of only two hip hop acts making every stop on the tour Grieves has turned this into his chance to convert the Warped Tour attendees into unlikely hip hop fans, “it’s challenging in a very rewarding way…there’s a really interesting thing that happens on Warped Tour, you start and maybe there are 20 people watching your stage and when you’re done there’s maybe two or three hundred in front of your stage and you got all those people from ‘walk bys’ then you have an hour long line of people at your merch table saying ‘I don’t even like rap but I loved that’ it’s been cool to see people react to something they don’t know or understand so positively” explained Grieves
If his musical career didn’t pan out the way that it has so far you would probably be referring to Grieves as Mr. Laub, as in Kindergarten teacher Mr. Laub. Before deciding to pursue his music full time Grieves was going to school to become an elementary educator and even though his music took him down a different path it’s safe to say that he is still teaching people through his songs about heartbreak and the frustrations he has dealt with on a day-to-day basis.
The music he creates tends to have a darker and deeper theme than your average rap song, that’s because he uses his music as a form of catharsis; “there’s a lot of pressure building up, some people hit a punching bag, everyone has a different release in life; music just happens to be mine. I’ve just been lucky to make a living off of my release.”
It took Grieves about three years to create Together/Apart, he had been living life on the road for a while and dealing with negative situations that were stunting the growth of his music. “It’s not like that anymore. I made the decision to walk away and that was the scariest part of my career because I didn’t know what I was going to do at that point. It took me a while to get back on my feet but with Rhymesayers it was like a breath of fresh air was pumped into my lungs. I felt at home there and then I really started cranking out on the record and here we have it.”
Balancing his personal life with his life as Grieves has proven to be “an uphill battle,” but he hasn’t forgotten who he is, “when you’re at the grocery store you’re not a fucking rockstar, you know, you’re the dude buying macaroni and it’s important that you behave that way, a lot of people don’t know how to draw the line between their tour life and their regular life and they turn into pretty shitty people.”
The coolest part about Grieves though is his love for his fans, when asked the standard question “what do you want the readers to know that I didn’t get a chance to ask you” Grieves answered differently from the other musicians in his genre. Instead of spewing information about a new mixtape or upcoming tour he explained how he feels about the people that come out to see him on his tour stops– “this world is so small that I’ve probably met most of, my fans, you know, I’m out here gaining new fans and we’ve got stuff on MTV which is great because we get exposed to new people but I wouldn’t be able to do that without the people that have supported me thus far even on the down and out times doing self booked tours with people coming out to coffee shops… I remember you and that’s super important to me.” Hear that guys? He sees you.
Grieves – On The Rocks