At home with… JGrrey

India Hendrikse

Before music, JGrrey made her name as a stylist – and it shows. Her outfits are a time warp back to the early 2000s, where low-rise jeans, tinted sunglasses, vests and lip liner ruled the game. Oh, and hairclips existed for absolutely no reason – other than to look cool, of course. Now, the London singer’s creativity is also injected into making tunes with a smooth neo-soul vibe. She made the cut on GQ’s New Artists of 2020 list, after releasing her second EP, titled ‘Ugh’ (a pretty apt name for the trying time to come, I might add) late last year. More recently, she’s spent lockdown producing dreamy video visuals, writing new music, and tending to her houseplants. Here, she gives the intel on touring with Billie Eilish, digging trashy fashion, and why she loves frogs so darn much. 

IH: You go by Jgrrey. Tell us a little about this name?
JG: Grey is my favourite colour.
IH: Where are you living at the moment? What’s the situation there right now?
JG: I’m staying with my parents because of the pandemic I hadn’t seen them in so long and as they’re high risk. I moved home to be with them. My situation is great. I brought my plants here, I’ve been writing and recording in a studio here. It’s nice to wake up every day in the same house as your parents – not everyone has that privilege.
IH: Apparently you have more new music on the cards in 2020… What can we expect?
JG: Yes there is so much more music. Music that I’m so proud of and that I cannot wait for you all to hear. The kind of music I want to be releasing.
IH: Who are some of your favourite artists in the neo-soul genre?
JG: I have so many, let me think. I love Ari Lennox, Teyana Taylor, Kehlani, they’re more RnB but still the vibe is there. I love Erykah [Badu], Dijon, Harve, there are so many, Bel Cobain, my mind is going blank but there are so many.
IH: How has your music evolved over the years?
JG: My music is still evolving – it has evolved from me just writing songs because I could. When I realised I could write songs, I just wrote loads, not songs I necessarily liked and was just like “OMG I can write a song”. Some of my earlier stuff I don’t listen to and now I’m writing songs I love. Like Half Full, Don’t Come for Me, Happiness Seems a Hell Of A Guy and Ain’t S. Like, I’m so proud of that last one.
IH: What was a highlight from touring with Billie Eilish?
JG: Seeing her skate around the arena on her scooter and then bumping into her around and just randomly saying “hey” like it was normal.
IH: Obviously the current situation means musicians can no longer perform live shows. How are you innovating in the new digital, stay-at-home music world?
JG: I’m performing digitally and performing at home and then sending it everywhere. This virus is separating the men from the boys, if you’re about it then be about it. Work from home and be innovative and try some new shit. People are handling it in lots of different ways and I hope I’m handling it well.
IH: You’re an avid gardener. Could you please share your best house plant tips for everyone currently stuck indoors?
JG: Yes if you have a fern, please make sure you mist it. If you have a Pothos please make sure you are watering it frequently because they aren’t into having direct sunlight and the heat can be a bitch for them. Check on your Rubber Plant, they are so hardy that people do leave them and if you leave them for too long then they die. If you don’t have any plants please invest in some. 
IH: Please enlighten us on why you love frogs so much. Do you have a pet frog?
JG: What a good question! Finally, finally a question I can really get into. I don’t know if I can say this but they are one of the only animals in the world that hold the DMT strain, they can make people trip and there are thousands of different species. Frogs are some of the only species, like Seahorses, where the male can give birth, some frogs give birth through their mouth. They’re out here being all varied, and are so beautiful and clever. I don’t have a pet one! I used to have a pet snake and thought I was in love so moved to Manchester and had to give up the snake. Turns out it wasn’t love. I love frogs, when I was a kid I saw them around, I moved around a lot when I was younger, and the one thing that all the places had in common was having frogs there. So yeah, they’ve always held a special place in my heart. They’ve never lied to me or broken my heart or trust. And they are so beautiful, darling the outfits they have just slay.
IH: What do you think the most iconic fashion trend of the 2000s was?
JG: Thank you for asking me this. Probably the miniskirt, the tiny pathetic miniskirts, the vests, the big backcombed hair. They were a fabulous and trashy time. I don’t like neat and pristine outfits in fashion now. I want the trash, I miss it!
IH: If you could champion just one revolution, right now, what would it be?
JG: Just one? Just one revolution? That’s insane. We just need something, we need anti-racism, Trump out of office, we need Black lives to matter, Black trans lives to matter, we need to defund the police, don’t we just need world peace, we need to start looking after the planet… I don’t know, too hard to answer! Whichever revolution, just come through.