Griff & Sigrid at the BandLab NME Awards 2022: pop perfection from the dynamic duo

March 2, Brixton Academy: the pair debuted their sizzling collaboration 'Head On Fire' live for the first time

Much of Griff and Sigrid’s love-in has been played out in the pages of NME. Speaking in her Big Read cover story last summer, the latter said that she “definitely sees parts of herself in Griff”, adding that it was nice to have a “supportive gang” of contemporaries coming through right now. Griff, the recipient of tonight’s NME Radar Award, returned the favour: “It’s just about girls having a good time” she told NME when we spoke earlier this year. Well, quite.

So, where else to debut the pair’s banging collaboration, ‘Head On Fire’, at the BandLab NME Awards 2022? As they picked up the prize for Best Collaboration, Griff said from the stage: “I just want to say that I love this collaboration because there’s a lot of comparison for pop girls and in music, I love that we can get together and do this.”

Griff and Sigrid win Best Collaboration at the BandLab NME Awards 2022 for Head On Fire

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It’s a song that plays to both of their strengths: sonically bombastic and uncompromising, but with one that cuts to heart of the matter with the subtlest turn of phrase, something that each songwriter has done for their entire career. And though the pair arrive on stage staggered, it’s as if they’re tethered to each other, circling each and prodding, prompting and encouraging the other to keep pushing forward. They may sing of the danger of “both hands holding onto the wire”, but it’s much harder to cling on for your dear life when your friend has your back.

As the song finishes, Sigrid races to the side-of-stage to collect another middle-finger gong, this time for Griff’s NME Radar Award, which celebrates a rising new artist not just at the height of their craft, but recognising the places that they will go. It’s not a passing of the torch, as such, but consider it a sharing a torch relay, with Sigrid sharing her fire and letting Griff’s burn just as bright. It’s what all red-hot collaborations are all about, after all.

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