Griff performed an intimate, polished 10 song set at Popshop at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn this past Monday. A soon-to-be star in the UK, the songwriter, musician, vocalist, producer, clothing stylist, and visual artist has what it takes to make her mark in pop, or wherever she chooses.
You wouldn’t necessarily know that from chatting with her casually. She’s pleasant, not overly bubbly, and just a little bit sardonic. And she prefers doing over talking.
The burgeoning 19-year-old pop artist only started releasing music after she completed her schooling, largely keeping that part of her life hidden from schoolmates. Sarah Griffiths at school, Griff in the studio.
“I wanted to keep it separate because you just you don’t know when things happen. Things take time and it just never felt right to be like ‘I sing!’ to loads of people. I didn’t know if my singing was ever going to take off.”
She spent most of her non-school time honing her musical abilities, picking up all the skills she needed to write music and produce her own songs. Griff instinctually understands the great gulf that exists between talking a big game and bringing it.
“I just think a lot of people don’t get it until you show them what you’re doing, do you know what I mean? Just talking about it, people don’t get it. So I never liked talking about it.”
Griff doesn’t spend a lot of time talking during her set either. She beamed at the audience and thought out loud about how she never expected to make it from her bedroom in Kings Langley to a stage in NYC. Cool and aloof as she seems in promo photos, Griff is warm as a performer.
She moved naturally onstage in a high-necked bridal-style dress and combat boots, her signature bubble ponytail trailing behind her. We heard the entirety of her Mirror Talk EP plus a couple others including an affectionate cover of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and a heartfelt unreleased track we can’t wait to hear recorded.
Griff has a rich smooth voice that shines through her performances, and a strong rapport with her audience, even singing happy birthday to one lucky fan in the front. These are table stakes for a pop artist, but Griff’s songwriting and multi-disciplinary talents set her a cut above. Her songs are simply produced and sparse, leaving space for nuanced lyrics and melodies. They also leave space for her sound to develop in any number of exciting directions.
Despite her early success, Griff sets high expectations for herself and looks forward to topping her personal bests in the years to come.
“I’m looking forward to writing better music. It sounds probably kind of weird, but I want this time next year to feel like I wrote the best songs I ever wrote.”
You can check out her music here.