griff is the uk teen talking you out of negative body image with her pop music

Here's 'Mirror Talk' and 10 things you need to know about her.

by Alim Kheraj
08 July 2019, 2:35pm

Image via Griff

The first time 18-year-old singer Griff remembers being moved by music she was just five years old. It was Stevie Wonder’s 1976 track Village Ghetto Land, taken from his iconic record Songs in the Key of Life, that did it. That was the sound of her childhood. “I grew up on a lot of soul,” she tells i-D. “Mary J Blige, Stevie Wonder. But I the first album I think I really loved out of choice was Taylor Swift’s Fearless.”


These references make sense when you listen to Griff’s debut single, Mirror Talk. Like Swift’s relatable lyrical style, the track explores themes that all young people can relate to: the swirling chaos of battling your insecurities with the fortitude of youth. However, her warm vocals and the track’s sparse production create something vulnerable, emotional, sincere and empowering. It is, quite frankly, all rather brilliant.

As is the track’s music video, which we’re premiering below. The clip, directed by Sylvia Weber, sees Griff basically trapped in the machinations of her mind. Dressed all in white -- an outfit that she actually made while studying textiles at school -- with her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, Griff looks every bit like pop’s bright new star.

With more killer music due to emerge in the coming months and an EP planned, now feels like the perfect time to get to know Griff. Which is handy, really, as we just asked her a bunch of questions with the aim of exactly that. Read on and discover your new fave artist via these 10 fun facts…

1. She grew up in a village outside Watford...
"It’s called Kings Langley, which is just wildly middle class and quintessentially British. It’s nice though.

2. As both her parents are immigrants, she’s always felt like she stood out...
"My Jamaican grandparents were part of the Windrush generation but passed before I met them, and my Dad was born here so a lot of culture has been missed on that side. I'm probably more in touch with my Chinese side because my mum is a first generation migrant. Her and her family came over during the Vietnam War. I see a lot more of my Chinese extended family, but it’s always been an unusual mix, especially in Kings Langley. In that way I've always looked different to my peers.”


3. She used her brother’s computer to teach herself music production...
"It’s not actually hard. Actually, that’s a lie. To be really good it is. But the basics are easy. I taught myself, asked my brother about it, looked up things on YouTube. I was drawn to it probably just because I was able to record my own vocals and lay down harmonies and stuff.”

4. She’s kept her school life very separate from her musical life...
"Just because no one likes that person at school who talks about how they want to sing. Also, things take time, and there’s no guarantee I’ll be successful, so it’s a bit embarrassing to talk about it until it is. To be fair, I still don’t really talk about it. I find it a bit cringe.”

5. Although she wasn’t particularly drawn to any of her academic subjects...
"I was actually alright at maths! But I kind of had an equal level of indifference for all my subjects. Maybe textiles though, that was a fun time in A level because I had no clue what I was doing.”

6. In fact, she told everyone she was taking a gap year...
"I’ve told teachers and my parents that I'm on a kind of gap year to avoid questions about my career. But no, I've been waiting to get things moving with my music for a while, so it was a no brainer to finish A levels and go straight into this.”

7. Mirror Talk came together in about an hour...
"I was trying to play around with this concept of talking to yourself for a while. I got into a session and I think we wrote all of the melody in like, the last hour of the day. And then a few months later we re-recorded with lyrics.”


8. The multiplying mattresses in the video don’t really symbolise anything...
"I’d love to give you a really deep meaning for why that happens but it just looks good, doesn’t it? And makes it all a bit more interesting to play with the scale. If you like, I guess the higher they get the more like in my head I’m supposed to be... but really I just liked how it looked.”

9. She finds actual mirrors offensive...
"If you look or feel shit when you look in the mirror, it’s gonna show you that you look and feel shit. They’re quite annoying in that way.”

10. She’s not a fan of astrology...
"Fuck star signs.”

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