Her aesthetic portrays a sweet an innocent teenager dressed head to toe in pink with bright pink hair, but her personality says otherwise. Her press shots taken in her bedroom speak loudly enough; hello kitty and child-like bedding surrounds the room- alongside ‘condom’ written abrasively in red felt pen.
She’s brash, bold, outrageous and an explosion of girl-power; North-London based nineteen-year-old, GIRLI, is an emerging singer/ rapper who describes her style as “pop music with an opinion.” With bolshy pop-tracks with titles: ‘F**k Right Back Off To LA’ and ‘Girls Get Angry Too’ to name a few, GIRLI is creating a stir amongst the once conforming females of the music industry. “I’ve been in bands before and played it safe,” GIRLI began, “but I just wanted to do something that was a little ‘up yours’ to the industry and everyone else.”
After touring with her friend, Oscar, late 2016 playing at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, GIRLI embarked on her second UK tour, this time with Delcan Mckenna and returned to Manchester to play at Gorilla. But being on tour with the politically opinionated youngster, Declan Mckenna, GIRLI’s songs are admittedly angrier and a shock to some of the younger crowds that Declan Mckenna attracts. “In Cambridge, the crowd got it straight away, but in Bristol they took a bit of a while to warm up to us,” GIRLI laughed, “I think when there are loads of kids expecting Declan Mckenna and we’re like ‘I’m gonna f**k your mother up” and then they’re like, ‘um, what the f**k’. But yeah, when they got into it, it was really good, they proper vibed.”
However, in person GIRLI is a lot calmer than her lyrics suggest. Attending a comprehensive school up until the age of sixteen, GIRLI (whose real name is Milly) explained: “I was really academic at school and then I started to really really hate it. There was so much expectation around it and everyone was like ‘yeah you’re going to go to Uni and be an accountant and I was like ‘I really don’t wanna do that”. Having a mid-teen crisis, GIRLI explained that music soon became her “outlet.”
After leaving school, GIRLI attended music college after joining her first band when she was just fifteen years old, until her band mates left for university. “They a’band’oned me, excuse the pun!” she joked. “I just thought, ‘okay I’m just gonna do my own thing, and that was when I came up with the name GIRLI. I just thought, f**k it; I’ll do it on my own.”
The transition from the band to GIRLI didn’t seem to phase the confident teen either, as she laughed: “I’m such a control freak so it was really hard for me to be in a band. I want things the way I want them and I thought being in a band was really stressful- I just couldn’t deal with having to have two other opinions. I was like ‘NO! I want it like this!’ so it didn’t really work.”
With a fake ID in hand that her mum bought her so she could perform at open mic gigs, sixteen year old GIRLI set out into the world as a solo artist. Although most venues weren’t interested in ID, GIRLI told: “To be honest, most places didn’t even ask, a lot of them were really sleazy and just wanted anyone to fill the bill and get people to bring their friends along, they didn’t really give a sh*t.”
“The first song I wrote as GIRLI was called ‘Handbrake,” she then reflected. “ I was in LA at the time to visit my cousin and I watched this guy get super stoned and make a beat; he was like: ‘this is the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me and it’s 2am… This is so rock and roll,’ and then my cousin was like: ‘you should get on the beat’ and I and I just improvised this thing about telling a friend just to slow down ‘cos life’s getting too much…”
Three years on, GIRLI says that her music is completely different to how it was when she started out. “It sounds completely different! I feel like I sound different every month, I change so quickly!”
GIRLI’s distinct sound is an amalgamation of many different influences. With her dad listening to 2007 pop music on the CD’s in his car such as Amy Winehouse and Lilly Allen as she grew up, GIRLI believes that this is where she inherited her “tongue and cheek pop music” “I never really know how to describe my music,” GIRLI continued. “Sonically, each song is different because I love loads of different types of music, so I’m never restricted to one kind. Some songs are more punky, some are more dance, and some are more electronic EDM vibes. I guess the general sound is aggressive pop music really.”
Recent track, ‘Feel OK,’ features an unlikely duet with English rapper, Lethal Bizzle. Released on 19th May, the track was produced by Diztortion who has also produced for the likes of Tinie Tempah, Sigma and Stylo G. It’s indefinitely a massive pop tune that describes all those muddled feelings and turns them into a simple sentiment. Its not as brash as the other tracks, but it’s certainly doesn’t leave the GIRLI vibe behind. But is there any sign of an album? “There’s another EP coming this Summer after ‘Feel OK,’ and then it’s all gearing up for the album then!” GIRLI excitably told.
Playing at a handful of festivals across the UK this summer and Manchester Pride at the end of August, GIRLI also became carried away and revealed what she was truly looking forward to this summer… “I’m going to Boomtown Festival! I love it so f**king much; it’s literally my favourite festival. And then I’m just vibing in the sunshine hopefully… if there is any f**king sunshine!” She exclaimed. “Oh and as GIRLI,” the teen quickly remembered, “hopefully, I can keep doing loads more shows and loads more music!”