You may be familiar with with London’s current youth movement, where numerous up-and-coming artist have broken onto the music scene in full-stride. But, who are the stand-out names to you? One vocalist in particular has taken the industry by storm, going by the name of JGrrey.
After featuring on Youtube channel, Colors Berlin, JGrrey’s following spread worldwide. An immediate and seemingly unstoppable response to Don’t Fade led to an official charts release, one million streams for the Youtube channel and even an Adidas sponsorship drawing upon streetwear roots. Her neo-soul style lends itself generously to this year’s summer vibe; not to mention a refreshingly hands-on social media approach.
Grrey took advantage of momentum gained from Don’t Fade, with the release of Growing — a single seemingly dedicated to self-development and love for an occasional smoke. But, where did this young London artist start out?
Streetwear, where every young musician seems to start and find inspiration from throughout their career; for many it’s a feature that can attract an audience, or merely add to the appeal. I caught up with J, who allowed me to get a glimpse at inner-workings of her mind and behind-the-scenes motives that influence her lyrics and persona.
TC: Could you tell us a wee bit about yourself please! Maybe something we wouldn’t know?
JGrrey: Hi my name is JGrrey, obviously you already know that — and I’m a sing-a-song writer. I sing songs, and write songs and record songs. I release songs and people listen to those songs, and I think they enjoy them, so far people seem to be liking it.
Err, something you wouldn’t know, that I… you wouldn’t know that I really enjoy cooking. Or maybe you would know that. I love cooking, there you go! That’s something you might not know.
TC: Big fan of that! Didn’t have you down as a chef. Any delicacy in particular?
JGrrey: I like cooking most things to be honest, I kind of just… my Mum’s a very good cook and I used to watch her cook a lot when I lived with her. So, I remember stuff she did and then I make a lot of shit up along the way, and it seems to do the trick because we just had a meal, didn’t we (speaking to her boyfriend)?! And what would you give it out of ten? He said ten, oh he said nine, but that’s close enough!
TC: Jumping into things now; how did you initially get into streetwear, or was it something you’d just been brought up around?
JGrrey: It kinda just happened naturally to be honest. I worked as a stylist for a while, and when I realised after working as a stylist that the more you kinda, play down what you’re wearing, the more chill it is and more relaxed it is. And opposed to wearing shoes you can wear trainers, and as opposed to wearing jeans and chinos or smart trousers, you can just wear tracksuit bottoms and stuff like that. That’s kind of when I realised that there’s actually this whole genre called streetwear, which is like this really relaxed way of dressing, super chill. That’s when I first started noticing it.
Ever since then, every since it’s been a thing I’ve kind of just naturally fallen into dressing that way because it’s easy; it’s what comes easy to me.
TC: And music… how did you get yourself into that world?
JGrrey: I got myself into music through my friend, Manga Saint Hilare who used to be in Roll Deep, essentially leaving me around the studio and trying different stuff out with him. And then, kinda just paid off really.
TC: People seem to be fixated on the Adidas tracksuit you wore for Colors. What influences your style, if anything at all?
JGrrey: To be quite honest, and I wish I had a really cool answer for this — I don’t. Absolutely nothing influences my style. Sometimes I’m really lazy with my style, like today my boyfriend said to me, “don’t wear that“, and I just wore it. It’s just laziness (laughter)! Unfortunately, I wish there was some cool answer, there really isn’t!
TC: Similar question to the last, but who influences your lyrics? Is there an influence for that mega relaxed style?
JGrrey: No one really influences my lyrics funnily enough. I think, subconsciously a lot of the people I listen to, or have listened to in the past; Lauren Hill, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse — I kind of write in the same style that they write. But that’s not on purpose, I think that’s just subconsciously almost by accident kind of thing.
TC: 2018 has been a big year, with Don’t Fade hitting 1 million streams Growing releasing. Is there anything you’re looking to accomplish over the next few years?
JGrrey: Erm, release an album, and just be able to treat my family through the fruits of my labour is the next thing I’m trying to do, that’s my goal really.
TC: If it wasn’t for music, where do you think you’d be right now? Can’t imagine this is something you’ve considered!
JGrrey: I’ve actually been asked this question quite a lot! Which is weird, I don’t know why — to be quite honest I have absolutely no idea what I’d be doing. Interior design, or cooking maybe? I really couldn’t tell you, I have absolutely no idea. I’d hope that it would, if not music, be something I enjoy still. So, yeah.
TC: Lastly, what’ve we got to look forward to from JGrrey; what’s hiding up those sleeve?
JGrrey: Hopefully I’ll be releasing an EP for the third time now, and working towards a headline show, erm, and just small collaborations, more work and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s all very good!
Since this interview, JGrrey has gone on to collaborate with Jarreau Vandal on his new project, ‘Anthology’ and even gained the social media recognition of R’n’B artist Jorja Smith; a Brit known only too well for her hits ‘Blue Lights’ and ‘Where Did I Go’.