Company Name: Griz Entertainment
Name: Ryan Gruwell
When did you start your business? 2005
How did you start your business? Ryan’s professional career began right out of college. After finishing up at Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) in 2004, he accepted a full-time position at MBC Grand Broadcasting. Little did he know, he would spend over a decade there gaining experience in music programming, commercial production, sports broadcasting and as an on-air talent. It was also during this time that Ryan discovered another passion of his – entrepreneurship. And in May of 2005, Griz Entertainment was born.
Ryan’s business began to see steady growth as the years went on. Operations went from a one-man show to a full team of professionals. Soon a photo booth was added to the mix and in more recent years professional lighting & design. Fast forward to now and Griz Entertainment is no longer a” side business.” It has become all we do!
Ryan has personally performed at over 600 weddings and events over the years. Due to the level of demand, rates are subject to be higher if you’re looking to book Ryan personally for your event. Otherwise our other DJ’s do a fantastic job (see below). Please e-mail or call us for more details.
What do you love about weddings? I am beyond humbled to be able to do something I love for many reasons. But for now, I’ll just name 2.
- I love music! I’m that guy who will lose track of time on Spotify jumping around from one song to the next. Discovering new artists. Digging up old familiar artists from my child hood. Reading up on bios of the artists. Looking up song lyrics. Coming up with clever playlist titles to fit just about any mood or state of mind I’m in or want to be in. Cranking up the Sonos speakers in the living room to capture the fullness of a song – the bass, background vocals or the guitar solo. Nothing can capture a moment, emotion or a story quite like a song can. And to be promoted to the guy who gets to orchestrate a playlist or assist in helping a couple with their music selections at a wedding or event brings it to a whole new level.
- ColoRADo! I can’t get enough of this beautiful state. I may have to use the word humbled again here as that’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about my surroundings as I’m playing music for a couple’s ceremony at San Sophia Overlook in Telluride. Or when I’m DJ’ing a wedding at the Timber Ridge Lodge in Keystone enjoying breathtaking views from 11,000 feet. Weddings in Palisade still blow me away amidst miles of Vineyards and views of the Grand Mesa. And this is just touching the surface of the amazing places I’ve had the joy of going to. *Side note, I’m an avid mountain biker. So don’t be surprised if you see me out on the trails the day after your wedding or event.*
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Happy Clients. It’s what makes it all worth it! There is nothing more rewarding than when a couple approaches us at the end of the night with praise.
What is the most challenging part of your job? I would say the most challenging part is the fact that my schedule is basically the complete opposite of everyone else’s. I’m more freed up during the week but of course busy on the weekends working events. I’ve been doing this for so long though and it’s something I’ve just become used to.
What do you want brides/grooms to know about you /your company? I take the approach (and lead my staff in this direction too) that a bride and groom’s wedding day is all about them. It has nothing to do with us. Once everything is centered on that, the rest falls into place.
What are some tips that you have for a newly engaged bride? Food for thought when comparing other DJ’s, you may need to ask some of these questions:
- Has he/she done any events at the venue before? The more events someone has done there, the more familiar they are with the lay-out of the venue in terms of speaker placement and the acoustics of the room. It also helps knowing the staff members and having an understanding of how they operate at their venue (i.e. when/how champagne is served, dinner, dessert, last call, etc). This is a big part of ensuring that everything is moving along smoothly and the DJ plays a key role in this.
We have performed at over 300 venues across Colorado and Eastern Utah. We rarely come across a venue we have not worked at (especially in Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade.) We have also developed great relationships across the board with the owners of these properties.
- Are they licensed and insured? Not sure if Allred’s requires this but many venues do. We are fully licensed and insured.
- Do they have back-up equipment on site? We always have back-ups on-site for everything (speakers, mixers, mics, music, etc.).
- How early do they get to the venue for set-up? We typically arrive 2-3 hours before (depending on the type of set-up) and often times the day before to ensure that everything is in place and ready to handle any unforeseen situations that may arise.
- How much experience does he/she have? Experience plays a big part in being able to read crowds/the dance floor when it comes to their musical tastes and understanding how to transition songs in a way that has a good flow. A good DJ is properly versed in all genres of music. Again this comes from experience, not just in knowing the music or googling “wedding playlists” but seeing firsthand how people respond to it at weddings/parties. Dancing at weddings isn’t always super predictable and often times a crowd can begin to lean towards one genre of music over others as the night progresses. A good DJ will recognize this and will be able to pull up songs accordingly. A good DJ also understands the general flow of weddings (i.e. cues for the ceremony, transitioning from dinner to dancing, etc ). Finally experience in audio equipment is very important when it comes to dealing with what mic frequency works best for the given venue, how to adjust the mic to ensure the best and clearest sound (i.e. knowing what adjustments to make when a male speaks on the microphone versus a female to compensate their different pitches), how to avoid any kind of feedback or distorted sound that can often times be affected by other electronic devices at the venue.
With over 13 years of experience in running my own DJ company I have performed at over 500 weddings. My experience has helped tremendously in my abilities to read dance floors/crowds in understanding what they will enjoy the most. Plus with 15 years of radio experience, I have gained a great knowledge of music. Not just in knowing the titles and artists but also the tempo and texture of the songs. I programmed an A/C station for several years in which we played a mixture of 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and today. When programming this station, I was continually adjusting the library giving each song a ranking for its tempo, mood, texture, etc. Without going into too much detail this is one of the many ways a station is programmed to help with its flow in gaining the most listener-ship. I have been able to transfer this experience to DJ’ing weddings and parties in creating playlists and understanding how important transitions/flows are from one song to the next.
Finally I have gained a great deal of experience with audio equipment over the years. I have taken courses, gone to seminars and have even gained experience in how to accompany live musicians.
A DJ plays such a big part of someone’s wedding! He/she can really make or break the night. It’s funny how many fellow vendors/clients I have spoken to who have mentioned that the DJ is one of the most important vendors you can book. I have also spoken to several clients who were so glad they budgeted a little more money for a medium-higher priced DJ over someone on the lower end. Just because it is such an intregral part in ensuring that the night runs smoothly and that everyone has a great time!