Griff’s nimble, funky pop deftly blurs boundaries separating pop and R&B as it brings a modern, genre-less sensibility to classic pop songwriting. This flexibility was evident on her 2019 debut EP, Mirror Talk, which featured “Paradise,” the single that brought her into the U.K. Top Ten for the first time. A series of hit singles in 2020, including the Honne collaboration “1,000,000 X Better” and the Zedd duet “Inside Out,” helped set the stage for the 2021 release of her One Foot in Front of the Other mixtape. Griff returned in 2023 with the moody standalone single “Vertigo.”
The daughter of a Chinese mother and Jamaican father, Griff was born Sarah Faith Griffiths on January 21, 2001. Growing up in Kings Langley, a village just north of Watford, England, Griff was drawn to music at an early age. Taylor Swift’s 2008 album Fearless inspired her to learn how to write, record, and produce music on her own. Griffiths worked on music as she attended school, keeping her creative work private until after completing her A Levels. Once she reached that milestone, she decided to take a gap year so she could focus on music. Adopting the stage name Griff, she wound up signing with Warner in July 2019; her A&R rep Joe Kentish was also responsible for bringing Dua Lipa to the label.
Warner released “Mirror Talk” after the announcement of the label’s deal with Griff. The track earned significant buzz, as did its successor “Didn’t Break It Enough.” “Paradise” ushered in the release of The Mirror Talk EP at the end of 2019. Shortly after its appearance, Griff released a cover of the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame.” A succession of digital songs followed in 2020, with “Good Stuff,” “Forgive Myself,” and “Say It Again” all arriving before the Honne co-credit “1,000,000 X Better.” “Inside Out,” her single with Zedd, came out just before the solo ballad “Love Is a Compass” rounded out Griff’s 2020 by reaching 42, its high placement assisted by the song’s appearance in a holiday-themed Disney advertisement. Also in 2020, Griff co-wrote “I Love You’s,” a single by Hailee Steinfeld, and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Rising Star award.
“Black Hole” climbed to 33 in 2021, heralding the summer release of the One Foot in Front of the Other mixtape. Prior to its release, Griff took home the BRIT Award for Rising Star in that year’s award ceremony. After rounding out the year with “One Night,” she kicked off 2022 by collaborating with Sigrid on the single “Head on Fire.” The dark and moody “Vertigo,” written after returning home from a three-month stint on the road supporting Dua Lipa, appeared the following year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine