Back in January 2019, NME praised ‘Talk Talk’, the debut EP from Korean-American musician Miss Grit, as being “a St. Vincent-inspired explosion of creativity”. But despite the external praise lapped upon the inventive and commanding four-track release, the Michigan-born, NYC-based artist (real name Margaret Sohn) still found herself racked with a lingering sense of self doubt. Specifically, she says, the feeling that she was simply “someone who was impersonating a musician.”
“The success kind of gave me a confidence boost,” she says. “But at the same time, I was like, ‘Are all these people sure? Is this for real? Maybe there’s some sort of mix up and they’re discovering my work by accident?’… I thought I was just a flaw in the system.”
In a move more to underline her talents to herself than others though, the 21-year-old decided to hole up in a local Brooklyn studio, setting herself the task of self-producing her entire next project. Sohn already had more than enough experience of going it alone – she’s been modifying and building her own guitar pedals for years – but taking full control of her music meant that she “couldn’t feel like a fraud” any longer.
Aptly enough, the EP lends its name from the deep-rooted feeling that Sohn was experiencing, that of an ‘Impostor’. Throughout the six-song release, too, are lyrics all about questioning – whether that be of oneself (‘Grow Up To’), the motives of others (‘Dark Side Of The Party’) or one’s own identity and place in the world (‘Blonde’).
“If they think you’re somebody / You’ll have to prove you’ve got what they want,” she sings on ‘Buy the Banter’, her voice soaring over crunching guitars. Later, on the title-track, a dizzying cascade of scuzzed-up riffs and heavenly keys that brings to mind classic Sleigh Bells, she delivers the lines: “I can’t quite smile / I did not win this prize of mine / They’re clapping awfully loud / For no tribulations or trials”.
But despite all the self-doubt, ‘Impostor’ brims with confidence too, and so it should. Previously Sohn told us that she makes music to “feel a sense of relief from things that have been building up” and that she hopes “other people feeling the same way can feel relief and empowerment by the explosion.” True enough, each song feels like a catharsis, masterfully building and unravelling in controlled chaos of instruments distorted beyond recognition; frenzied release often giving way to moments of calm, and vice versa.
The touchstones of Sohn’s influences still remain – the jagged noodling of early St. Vincent, the brooding theatricality of Mitski – but they don’t detract too much from what’s a sublime and engaging second release. When she sings on the closing track, “You’re no star… Imposter”, you can’t help but feel the opposite to be true.
- Release date: February 5
- Record label: Self-released