Griff was born to stand out. With her heritage rooted in both China and Jamaica, the 18-year old Londoner is fluent in sonic sensuality and vibrancy – both of which are interwoven into the tapestry of her debut single.
Her musical talents are multi-stranded: while stuck on the hamster-wheel of the education system, Griff took refuge in her room, honing her talents as a singer, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist – entirely unbeknownst to her classmates. “I don’t know what other kids did,” Griff says. “You get home after school, try to write a song in six hours and before you know it it’s bedtime.”
A minimalist beat allows Griff’s velveteen vocals to cut sharply. By making her voice the centrepiece of the track, you realise her vocal capability is as rich and as varied as the greatest R’n’B chanteuses. What makes Griff promising is taste; she doesn’t feel the need to smother her voice in over-produced beats. She understands that less is certainly more.
“Break up with myself and then / I make up with myself all over again,” she sings. Griff captures perfectly the conflict between the moments of insecurity and fearlessness of being a young adult. She prefers to give herself a dose of tough love: “Come on girl / Oh get it together / You can’t stay here forever / Enough of this mirror talk.”
Directed by Sylvie Weber (the xx, Gus Daperton), the “Mirror Talk” video illustrates Griff’s instinct for aesthetics. A sparse mattress, a white skirt and pearled bodice, and a ponytail that will be the envy of all, was all she needed to create a slick, effortless video which is also the ethos of her sound.
On her very first release, Griff cuts a strong, empowering female voice: she knows the weight of her strength as well as her flaws.