BBC Sound Of 2021 Bedroom Pop Star Griff Takes Fifth Place

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BBC Sound Of 2021 Bedroom Pop Star Griff Takes Fifth Place

How do you write a song about heartbreak when you’ve never had your heart broken?

For 19-year-old pop singer Griff, the answer is simple: Just look around you.

“There’s lots of scenarios where you can experience heartbreak,” she explains. “It doesn’t have to be romantic.

“Like if a friend moves away, or you lose a family member. When someone leaves your life, you feel like there’s a black hole there.”

So, on the moving piano ballad Good Stuff, she sings about missing the foster children who passed through her family’s home in Hertfordshire. On Didn’t Break It Enough, she’s blindsided by the lingering affection for someone who betrayed her.

Her sparse, dramatic songs about being a “hormonal teenager” have already won her a legion of loyal fans – not least the 160 music critics, DJs and musicians who voted her into fifth place on the BBC Music Sound of 2021 list.

Born Sarah Faith Griffiths, she was schooled in soul and gospel music by her Jamaican father and Chinese mother, before falling in love with Taylor Swift’s Fearless album when she was eight years old.

“It was such a contrast to all the stuff I’d been brought up on,” she recalls. “The pop sensibility, and the fact she was singing about teenage stuff: It was my first memory of realising I loved pop music.”

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Griff had her first recording session at the age of 10, “just doing embarrassing things in a band”. By the time she left school, she’d signed a deal with Warner Music, releasing her first single in July 2019, two weeks after she finished her A-Levels.

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Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, she’s already enjoyed a meteoric rise – ending 2020 by soundtracking Disney’s Christmas advert, and receiving a personal endorsement from Taylor Swift after recording a cover of Exile, from the star’s Folklore album.

“Honestly, this whole year feels super, super-surreal,” laughs the singer, who calls the BBC from the bedroom where she produces all of her own music (complete with a limited edition Taylor Swift “Baby Taylor” guitar on the wall).

“I still feel like I should be doing my homework.”

 

BBC Sound Of 2021 Bedroom Pop Star Griff Takes Fifth Place

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