BRITs Rising Star Griff on breaking through during the pandemic

BRITs Rising Star Griff on breaking through during the pandemic

BRITs Rising Star Award winner Griff has spoken to Music Week about the challenges of breaking through in the midst of a pandemic. 

Breakthrough artists have been thin on the ground during Covid-19, but the singer has amassed 4.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify and soundtracked Disney’s Christmas 2020 advert with Love Is A Compass (119,109 sales, Official Charts Company).

The 20-year-old, who signed to Warner Records in 2019, played to her biggest audience yet at last night's BRITs ceremony at The O2 in London, where she performed Black Hole.

“I was determined at the beginning of last year to not let [the pandemic] stop what I’m doing," said Griff, speaking in the latest issue of Music Week. "We’re having to compensate so much more online and on social media for what we’re not doing in person and at shows. You’ve got to be willing to try things and for them to not work, to write a song a day and have people think most of them aren’t very good. Put yourself out there on socials, unfortunately, you’ve got to be up for everything and say yes to everything. That’s been the most effective thing for me. Have the fear but don’t let it stop you.

"There were so many days where it did feel like I was putting 150% in and was like, ‘Is this just falling on deaf ears?’ But then things like winning a BRIT happen, and you realise that it is worth it.”

Looking at the list of past winners, I'm like, 'How have I managed to get myself on it?' I feel like I've got imposter syndrome


Griff followed in the footsteps of the likes of Adele, Celeste, Sam FenderJorja Smith and Rag’N’Bone Man in picking up the Rising Star award, which was known as the Critics’ Choice until last year.

She said: “Honestly, looking at the list of past winners, I’m like, ‘How have I managed to get myself on it?’ I feel like I’ve got imposter syndrome. I think you just have to not think about it. When it comes to making the music and doing the creative stuff, you can’t let all of that added pressure get in the way. 

“The fact that I was even nominated and in the mix of the conversation was such a huge win for me. I don’t really know what you do now. Like, once you win a BRIT what happens? As a creative, you never get into it aiming to win an award. You do it because you love it and I think the fact that I’ve won it is just an added bonus. So now that I’ve got it, nothing changes. We carry on and keep working really hard. I just feel really, really blessed, and grateful that we’ve managed to break through in this crazy year."

Hertfordshire-raised Griff, who was nominated for the inaugural Rising Star award at the Ivor Novellos last year, is scheduled to hit the road in October, with shows lined up at venues such as Glasgow's King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, The Deaf Institute in Manchester, O2 Academy Birmingham and London's Heaven.

“I’m itching to perform live because I’ve actually only ever done one live show and then coronavirus happened," she said. "So it’s wild to think that we’re announcing dates. I’ve done industry gigs and showcases here and there, but I’ve done only one headline ticketed show. That in itself is really nerve-racking. It’s such a new thing to know that people are buying tickets to come and see a show from me.”

Subscribers can read the full interview with Griff, manager Deleon Blake and Warner Records president Phil Christie here

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