Before our latest Girls To The Front gig – NME’s live shows supporting female and non-binary talent - we spoke to our headliner Girli about new album ‘Odd One Album’, their dream collaborator and the gender imbalance on festival line-ups.
Hey Girli, how have the past six months been for you?
“They’ve been pretty hectic! I came out with my first album, I went on tour, I’ve been writing loads of new music as well.”
How’s the reception been to the album?
“It was great. My fans all loved it, and I think I made a lot of new fans, which was cool. And it was crazy – we played a show the day the album came out, and people in the crowd already knew the lyrics. The whole crowd knew lyrics to songs that had come out that day!”
What was the recording process like?
“It was fun, but it was also a really hard time. I was feeling terrible, I was really struggling with a lot of mental health stuff, so I think that as a result, the album is very honest. I can listen to it and even though most of the songs are really upbeat like “wahoo it’s going to be okay”, I can really feel my own pain in it, which is a sad thing to say.”
Is music cathartic for you?
“Yes and no. It’s my diary entry: I play guitar and love writing lyrics, but I kind of started when I was 13 and I love writing short stories. That was the thing that came before writing songs. So writing and getting my ideas out has always been cathartic for me, sometimes the music making process can be quite stressful for me, because I’m such a perfectionist and I want it to be great, and sometimes it’s really hard if you’re having an off day and can’t get the idea out that you want to convey and I beat myself up a lot about things like that.”
Do you find fans really relate to your music as it’s so honest?
“Yeah! It’s a bit crazy. I’ll get DMs and YouTube comments where people really open up and get personal and it’s kind of amazing. It actually reminds me constantly of the responsibility that I have with the kind of people who listen to my music who are very young and are probably going through a lot, so they’re listening to this music and sometimes I’ll get messages saying my song has changed someone’s life, and that’s really overwhelming, but in an amazing way.”
Who is your dream collaborator?
“I really want to work with Grimes – she follows me on Twitter so hit me up! She’s amazing. I love working with female producers. I produce a little bit myself, and I just think that there just needs to be so many more women producing their stuff, or producing their own music, or having the platform to produce for other people. I’d love to work with Billie Eilish – I think she’s a genius.”
Tonight’s show is all about showcasing female and non-binary talent in the hope of building a more balanced music industry. Is this imbalance something you’ve experienced?
“Yeah, you see it all the time, the music industry is male dominated. I think when I feel it the most is when I’m playing festivals, or when I’m at gigs or being booked for shows. There’s always going to be a place for a male indie band, but it’s harder if you’re female artist, especially if you’re a left-field female artist, and you may get more stick than a male artist would.”
Where does more work need to be done?
“I think on festival line-ups there needs to be way more work done to provide for female and non-binary artists. I think in terms of artists who are on the rise the internet has done a lot for the fact I think there are an equal amount of female and non-binary artists making music and being appreciated for it, it just hasn’t filtered through yet into the places where the industry is concerned.”