Meet Griff, Britpop’s breakout starlet destined for world takeover

Jon Ali is In The Know’s music contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Over the past year, Griff, a 19-year-old England-bred multi-talent, has quickly become a one-to-watch darling in the UK pop scene — all starting with the release of her debut Mirror Talk EP in 2019, which she released freshly after graduating high school and signing a record deal.

Can’t relate? Yeah, neither can we.

She was signed by the same person who signed current pop “it-girl” Dua Lipa. Since then, Griff has received high praise from various outlets like Vogue, Elle UK and most recently scored a Top 5 placement in the BBC’s prestigious Sound of… for 2021, on top of being the voice behind Disney’s viral Christmas ad. Impressed yet?

Griff
Credit: Warner Records

Griff began making music all on her own by borrowing her brother’s Logic software. She taught herself how to produce songs in secret from her classmates, many of whom only found out what Griff was up to after hearing her on the radio whilst she was still in high school.

To really get into her music though, you need to know a little bit of her backstory. 

Griff, born Sarah Faith Griffiths, grew up in Kings Langley, which she describes as a “very small, quintessential village just outside of London.” Raised by a Chinese mother and a Jamaican father, the singer tells In The Know that being one of the only families of color in her area made her “really used to sticking out like a sore thumb.”

It’s one of the reasons why she “threw herself into music.”

“Becoming comfortable with being unique… that’s now something that I strive after in everything that I do,” she says. “I never wanted to feel the same as everyone else. Every song I write and visual that I put out, I hope it stands on its own and is in its own lane.”

Her music is thoroughly modern, punchy-pop with addictive hooks, relatable lyrics and innovative production prime for a Top 40 takeover. She sits at the table somewhere alongside her contemporaries like Julia Michaels, FLETCHER, Carly Rae Jepsen and Olivia Rodrigo. You know, somewhere right in there with the ladies who are at the forefront of carving out their own stories. She’s much like one of her idols, Taylor Swift, who in December praised Griff and Masie Peters on Twitter for their recreation of Swift’s song “Exile.” 

“I’m a huge fan of these two already but seeing them create magic in the studio together just makes me even more excited to hear what they do in the future,” Taylor tweeted. “Absolutely love this, what a gift!”

I’d say that’s all the reassurance one could possibly need. 

In 2020 alone, Griff released a string of songs that would help expand her growing space in pop, beginning with “Good Stuff,” the gorgeous piano ballad about her experience growing up with the children that her family would foster. Since its release, it has surpassed over 30 million streams. She also released “Say It Again,” the Honne collaboration “1,000,000 X Better” and “Forgive Myself,” of which she’s the sole songwriter and producer.

“I didn’t realize how rare it was for women to produce their own stuff, until people started telling me,” she recently told MuuMuse.

But it doesn’t stop there. Griff has already jumpstarted her 2021 with yet another stellar release called “Black Hole.” It’s a breezy yet heartbreaking pop confessional (yes, written by her), which navigates feelings of loss and stability after a former love suddenly moves on.

“There’s a big black hole where my heart used to be / And I tried my best to fill it up with things I don’t need / It don’t work like that, no, it’s not easy / To fill this gap that you left in me,” she confesses on the instant earworm.

“I wrote this song as a bittersweet heartbreak track,” Griff told In The Know about the song. “I actually love how melodramatic it is, as there’s obviously not ‘a big black hole where my heart used to be.’ But the melodrama of the lyrics — over a really interesting beat — keeps the song fun, and not too serious.”

The accompanying music video features Griff examining the past relationship through a surreal, Alice in Wonderland-esque journey from the sewing room into self-discovery.

It’s clear that this young, fearless multicultural multi-talent is just getting started.

If you enjoyed this article, check out Jon Ali’s spotlight on Almondmilkhunni, the bi songstress on the rise.

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