Caturday with Griff

India Hendrikse

Even though she just finished school last year (she got straight A’s, by the way), 19-year-old Griff hasn’t so much as taken a breather. While many of us spent lockdown completely discombobulated, the Londoner used it to whip out a sparkly new pop tune – ‘Forgive Myself – and uber-cool home-made and self-directed video to match. The emotive lyrics – “I gave my heart to the wrong somebody else and I need to forgive myself” – speak of closure, healing and self-acceptance, and lie within a boppy beat. She’s already mastered pop’s knack of using dance and upbeat tempos to layer meaning and depth. Coined as one of pop’s most promising new acts, Griff is keeping the momentum of her first EP, ‘The Mirror Talk’, going with the promise of a second EP later this year. Here, she shares the secret to her signature pom-pom ponytail, her fave London haunts, self-love, and the blessings and burdens of being a Gen-Z artist. 

Hi! Where are you right now? Are you in London?
G: Hey! So I live in a village just on the outskirts of London. So I’ve been on lockdown here in Kings Langley. 
How did you spend your time during lockdown?
G: I’ve been tryna write a lot of songs! I filmed a music video for ‘Forgive Myself’ on my phone! That was a challenge to pull off something kind of professional looking but I think we did something really cool. [Editor’s note: She absolutely did]
How are you grounding yourself and getting through the current crisis (crises!)?
G: Facetime I think has saved all our lives right now. I almost feel more connected and in touch to my friends than I did before ‘cause we just call all the time and it keeps me sane.
Your new song ‘Forgive Myself’ addresses being kinder to yourself. What are some of the most healing practices or experiences you’ve had, that have helped you forgive yourself for your past?
G: Yeah I would beat myself up a lot for trusting the wrong people or relationships. But I think my faith helped me forgive myself a lot. Just believing that God’s got me right where I should be and His plan for my life is bigger than any relationship that might not have ended in the way I thought it would.
Do you have any role models that you admire for just so unconditionally loving themselves?
G: I think a lot of my girlfriends are super confident in who they are and ‘self-loving’ so just being friends with them and seeing how they live their life encourages me too.
Your music is SO varied. ‘Good Stuff’ is the perfect falling-in-love mellow tune, whilst ‘Sound Of Your Voice’ makes me want to dance. Do you have a genre you’re most drawn to?
G: I mean, overall I just love writing pop. I love writing major melodies, and emotional lyrics over simple and interesting production. So hopefully even though songs may sound different they all kind of come under that bracket.
When did you find your singing voice, so to speak? Does your family possess the same passions?
G: My dad can sing! But I think I mainly found it from growing in church. When you’re surrounded by live music very sunday it’s quite inspiring as a kid, and it definitely encouraged me to get into music and start singing.
Your bubble ponytail has become your signature. Can you tell us your secrets for its perfection…
G: Haha, a lot of extensions to get the length. I can do the ponytail well, but it’s never as perfect as when Tomi my hair stylist does it for me. There’s something about a good hair stylist’s touch that makes everything way more slick.
You’ve previously said you’re more in touch with your Chinese heritage than your Jamaican. Did you have a favourite dish your mum made while you were growing up, from her province in China?
G: Braised pork belly (hong shao rou). I really need to get all her recipes. 
As a born and bred Londoner, do you have any fave London fashion designers/music venues/eateries that are just SO London to you?
G: Fave London fashion designer… probably Vivienne Westwood. I wish I was alive during the 70’s when she pioneered the punk era. My favourite music venue that I went to recently is The Roundhose in Camden. I saw Jon Bellion there and it was so good, I really wanna play there one day. And I guess Nandos is a classic go-to to eat in London.
What do you reckon is unique about being a teenager in 2020?
G: Social media. I know its cliché to say, but growing up online I think has definitely shaped this generation. In some ways negatively, because YouTube means you’re constantly being reminded of everyone else’s highlights reel. But on the other hand, I like to think this generation is a little bit more switched on to the rest of the world. For example, recently its really helped the BLM movement mobillise and reach more of the world.
What’s one thing you love to do that not many people know about you?
G: I love to go on drives. I often just drive round my area for an hour to get in a better headspace.
What can we expect for you music-wise in the near future?
G: We have an exciting collab/feature soon. And definitely a second EP this year. 
And finally, who should we *absolutely* have on our Spotify playlists right now?
G: Well obviously my song ‘Forgive Myself’. But my favourite song at the moment is Caroline Polachek’s ‘So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings’.

Click to check out Griff’s playlist