ON THE RISE: 22 Questions with girly.
Updated: Jul 5, 2021
girly. is a nineteen-year-old Black artist from Canada. Taking inspiration from artists such as girl in red and Clairo, his songs are honest and personal while still maintaining a fun and relatable touch. With a remarkable passion dedicated to his craft, his mix of lo-fi, indie-pop, and indie-rock creates a completely unique, captivating sound. On April 10th, 2021, Harmony World Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing girly. to discuss his most vulnerable songs, how his friends have influenced his music, and more!
HWM: Tell us about girly. Give us three words to describe yourself. What do you do for fun besides making music?
girly.: Three words to describe myself, I’d say hard-working, disciplined, and pretty optimistic most of the time. I skateboard with my friends a lot. I just like hanging out with them so just going out, riding around, just chilling with my friends really. That’s pretty much it. Honestly, I don’t have a life outside of music.
HWM: How did you first get into music?
girly.: It’s actually a really cool story. I’ve been asked this question a few times and I love when people ask me it because I can pay homage to all my other homies and stuff. I was at home one day after school and my friend was at school still, live streaming and making music in the school band room. He had a really bad mic, but I was like, yo, I live really close to the school, can I come join you guys? And he was like, yeah totally. So I skateboarded down there and I went in. I’m sitting there the whole time like, I could do this… let’s just try it. I’ve always been a person where I go all in. My whole heart is put into what I’m doing. So I went home right away and started writing and then I asked him, can I record with you one time, and he was like, totally dude, let’s do it! We dropped our first song and it was trash. My part was horrible but gotta start somewhere. Then on my birthday that year, all my friends came over. Four of my friends and I went into my room and we were just recording. We stayed up until like five in the morning, and we saw the sunrise. We made five songs and they were all so bad but we thought they were the best thing ever. I think that’s what kind of started it going. Two of us, me and my homie Karson, kind of took it more seriously and kept going with it. That’s kind of how it started and we’re tight-tight homies now. We were just kind of meeting each other at that time but now we’re best friends. It’s pretty cool.
HWM: How would you describe the music you typically create?
girly.: I was thinking about this before and as much as I hate it, I make happy-sounding music with very sad lyrics. I hate being like, oh I make real music, I make real lyrics, but it’s pretty much just what’s on my mind, like oh I’m not feeling too good today. “missin’” was a song where I was like, dang I really miss my friends, so I just made a song “missin.’’’ I don’t know, just honest. I’m just honest with pretty much everything. Some songs I do just cause it sounds cool but most of my songs are just whatever is in my head. Happy-sounding, sometimes sad lyrics, but just pretty honest lyrics.
HWM: How did you come up with the name girly.?
girly.: That’s another cool story actually. I’ve been making music for two years now, I just started girly. in December and I made a song. I went on a missions trip and then when COVID came and was blowing up, I came back from my missions trip and there was a two week period where I was sitting in my room quarantining and I just made song after song after song, all day, every single day for two weeks straight. It was probably the best time of my life. It was either in that period or just after that I made a song called “girly.,” and then I kind of put it to the side for a while. And then I went back to it and I was like, this would be kind of a cool artist name. I just put it as my Instagram name on my personal account. My girlfriend texted me and was like, “what is girly., what’s up with that?” And I was like, "Oh I don’t know, I just thought it was cool." And she was like, "Nah it’s cool, I like that." I was under a different artist name before, but when I did girly., it was more of a project. So I was kinda like, I’m not telling any of my friends. I made a TikTok account, I made an Instagram, no relations with anyone. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t. I don’t lose anything, but if I gain something, cool.
HWM: If you had the chance to collaborate with another artist who would it be?
girly.: My favorite artist probably forever and ever will be Jean Dawson. His music is so beyond - you can’t even comprehend. If you’re listening to it you’re just like, what am listening to? It is just the most beautiful thing ever. It may not sound like the typical beautiful song but when you’re just sitting there and listening to it, it is so beautiful. I really want to say him but I don’t know if our styles mix together well. But I think it would be really fun.
HWM: If you could open up a show for another artist who would it be?
girly.: Probably Jean Dawson again. Honestly, it’s just more I want to meet him. So the thing is that our music doesn’t match really but if I had to pick an artist that was more my genre… girl in red, hands down. If I could open up for her that would be fire.
HWM: How long does it take you to write a song?
girly.: It can take me like five minutes or it can take me days. I’m a very need-it-now person, so I don’t spend a ton of time on lyrics, but obviously I think about them in the moment and I think hard to make them not generic. When I write a song, I’ll make the song and then I’ll listen to it in my car and everywhere. Then I’ll go back to it, and that could be like a week later or just whenever I’m feeling the song. If I’m feeling it in the moment it could take me like twenty-five minutes to write a song and finish it. It might not be the best but that’s why I go back and fix it and stuff. “girly.” on my Spotify right now probably took me like half an hour. It’s more of the mixing process that takes a while but the writing is just whatever I’m thinking of.
HWM: Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
girly.: Jean Dawson. I love how he has some lyrics that don’t make sense but they’re just really cool concepts. I take a lot of inspiration from that, and recently I’ve been trying to implement that in my music. In my upcoming song “cowgirl.y,” I was going along writing the song and for the verse, I thought of “a gun with a gold glitter clip,” like that would be kind of cool. It’s random but it’s cool. I also take inspiration from my friends, I guess. Karson, he gives me inspiration. He’ll be like, put this in here, and I’m like, I would not have thought about that but it’s fire. I think that’s pretty much it. I don’t know where I take inspiration from other than my own head. A few days ago, I was listening to super heavy alternative rock, drums, guitar solos. I was making music and I’m like, this sounds a lot like what I’ve been listening to. I’m kind of realizing that whatever I’m listening to at the moment, I’m also doing it subconsciously and putting it into my music. I go through a lot of stages too. I’ll make a trap song one day and a lo-fi song the next. But Jean Dawson and his words and everything… probably my biggest inspiration for my music.
HWM: What’s your favorite song that you’ve ever released?
girly.: “cornpuffs <3” for sure. I really like “cornpuffs <3”. I made that one like a year ago too. I think that was in the period when I was in quarantine. I made that and was like, oh this is kind of sick, and then I came back to it and was like, woah, this is still cool. That’s my favorite that’s been released.
HWM: What’s the most sentimental or vulnerable song you have ever written?
girly.: I made a song called “sick sh!t,” and it’s basically about how I had a really bad day and I hated my job so I called in sick. I was like, “yo I can’t come in, I’m super sick…,” blah blah blah. I was mentally not doing well and the night before I was talking to my girlfriend like, I literally just want to bash my head into a wall right now. She was like, that’s not normal dawg. And so the next day I was sitting and watching TV but I’m a super need-to-be-doing-something-productive person and most of the time that’s music. If I’m not doing music I’m usually in a super low mood. So I went over to my desk and started looking at beats and stuff and made this song “sick sh!t” and it was basically how I was feeling. I filmed a little video in my room and I spent all day on it. So yeah, that was probably my most vulnerable. “would they miss me” is also really vulnerable. It was just about if my friends would miss me if I just stayed in my room all day, like would it matter? Obviously, I know now that they would, and they care about me and I care about them. But I was kind of like, I’m literally never going to leave my room, like screw this. I don’t need to go outside, I have music here, I have everything that I need here, I’m not leaving. I have another one called “backseat” and that is coming out in a while. Around the Vancouver area, there have been a lot of kidnappings and human trafficking. I started writing and wrote half the hook and realized, woah, I’m actually writing about this topic. Those three are probably my most vulnerable and real songs that I’ve written.
HWM: What is your production process like?
girly.: I do a first mix sort of thing on the spot and if I’m really feeling it that day and it comes out good, epic. If it doesn’t, I’ll export it and listen to it in the car, listen to it with my headphones, listen to it everywhere, and I’ll come back later before I send it off to get mastered. But yeah, first mix and then a lot of listening, critiquing myself insanely hard but going back to it and fixing it up.
HWM: Do you sing in the shower? What are the best songs to sing in the shower?
girly.: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. “Flirting” by Jean Dawson will forever be a song that I will scream at the top of my lungs. The first little bit of it, the bass just hits so hard. It’s just like PFFFT! Your mind just explodes. If I’m really feeling like, yeah I’m a tough guy today, I’ll listen to some hard rap. “Hit Bout It” is on here by Lil Yachty and Kodak Black. Teezo Touchdown is a smaller artist who makes a lot of songs you can just groove to. I’ll just be in the shower dancing like, yo this is hard, and I’ll be singing to it. But yeah, I’ll say “Flirting” is my all time favorite shower song.
HWM: What is a song that you think is a masterpiece?
girly.: I really sound like I’m addicted to Jean Dawson. “Devilish” is my favorite song by him. I can’t even explain, everything about it is just wow. He does these beat switch-ups too -- it’ll go slow-paced, slow-paced, and then it’ll get faster. In his song “Power Freaks” he does that. That’s why his songs are amazing. I take huge inspiration from that. But “Power Freaks” is kind of slow, slow, slow, and then you can hear it sort of building up and then the drums get faster and everything. Really any song by him but top three are “Devilish,” “Power Freaks,” and “Flirting.” “Devilish” is at the top, that’s an amazing, amazing song and the video for it is my favorite video that I’ve ever seen and I’m pretty sure it’ll stay like that until the day I die.
HWM: What is the best song that has ever been released that is not yours?
girly.: Pretty much any Frank Ocean song. “Super Rich Kids” is one that I feel like will live on for a long time. In my opinion that’s Earl’s best work, he snapped on that. I feel like Frank Ocean is just on a different tier than anyone else in the music industry. It’s insane how he makes his music. Pretty much any Tyler song also but going back to WOLF and GOBLIN, those are crazy. He makes stories out of all his albums and they all continue off of each other and I have so much respect for Tyler and his artistry. He puts so much into his albums. The way he thinks about things is just insane. I also just stumbled across Muse again. Their song “Uprising” is really good and I think it’ll forever be a good song. So yeah, any Frank song pretty much, Muse’s “Uprising,” and GOBLIN and WOLF.
HWM: How has growing up in Canada influenced your sound?
girly.: When I was at a different school from K to 9, I didn’t have many close friends. It sucked. But then I moved schools and I found a really solid friend group. They were the first solid friend group that I genuinely thought of as family and one of them is now my girlfriend and we’re all still homies. We’re one big group and we’re always hanging out. They opened my mind to such different music. I was pretty closed off and narrow with rap music and I was trying to create my own sound but it’s really hard for me to create my own sound by just listening to one genre and one artist or a few artists in that genre. Whenever I was hanging out with them, they’d play this music and I’d be like, yo this is wack, I don’t want to listen to this. But I was really stuck that way and by having them play all that music around me, it really changed my perspective. They’d be telling me about these artists and explaining the artistry behind them and I’d be like, oh, that kind of makes sense. I kind of started listening to it slowly and now the only playlists I listen to are my girlfriend’s playlists. She is the reason I am girly. right now. Obviously, I’m me and part of this, but she just opened my eyes up to so much music and I’d still say this if we weren’t dating but I have so much respect for that girl, I love her so much. She just opened my mind up to so many areas and styles of music I would have never been exposed to that if I wasn’t a part of that friend group. I don’t think Canada or the big generic group of musicians here. That was all my friends. I give all the credit to them.
HWM: How has quarantine affected your approach to music?
girly.: The first little bit where I had to do the two weeks quarantine—amazing. I loved it. I obviously hate COVID. I know it has been a tough time for a lot of people and it has been a tough time for me too, but it’s definitely given me more of a push cause I’m sitting in my room all day and have nothing else to do. And those first two weeks, I was just making song after song and having the most fun time of my life and then I really realized, I am making music for the rest of my life. I’m going to be dead broke, but I’m making music for the rest of my life cause I’ve genuinely been having fun. It taught me to have fun with it and to have perseverance. I get down a lot on my music and hate it so I realized having that perseverance is just going to grow me as a person and in my music because each experience is more knowledge being added on to what I had before. That’s a huge part of what quarantine has done for me while also giving me time to work on my craft without feeling like I’m missing out on anything.
HWM: How do you think TikTok has impacted the music business?
girly.: It is the music business. It is. It has impacted the community in a very good and bad way because a lot of people have that mentality of just wanting to blow up and that is a very dangerous mentality in my opinion. You could be caring about your music, but you don’t have the right intentions. When you’re making music you’re supposed to be having fun and you could be having fun, don’t get me wrong. But you’re making it with the purpose of just blowing up and not loving the process. I’ve learned to really love the process and all these little milestones I hit because I feel like those would be way better than the end goal, whatever that is. I don’t think there even is an end goal, there is always something more you can achieve. We gotta be living now and I feel like TikTok has kind of ruined that. In a positive way, it has connected so many people together. I have met amazing artists through TikTok and we wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for TikTok. I just had to take down my song “pary” because of some legal stuff and I was so disappointed but people were DMing me being like, yo it’s alright bro, don’t worry about us, we can’t wait for your next song, etc. And I was like wow, y’all genuinely care about my music. It’s so weird for me to think about that because my audience before was my friends. But they’re my friends, they’re not trying to be my fans. But yeah, I feel like it has connected me with a lot of people and helped me reach more people that can potentially get me further in my career.
HWM: If you could go back in time is there anything you would have done differently?
girly.: No. If I didn’t have all these experiences before, the lows and highs, I wouldn’t be where I am now as cliché and stupid as that sounds but that’s what I genuinely mean. I wonder where I would be right now if I didn’t have that two-year period where my music was going nowhere and no one was listening to it. In that time I was gaining so much knowledge and finding my sound and connecting with friends in my area. I think it has all played out very well so far and even if it doesn’t play out so well in the moment, I just know to have perseverance and keep going. If I work hard enough, something will come of it.
HWM: What is the best advice you have ever been given about music?
girly.: I’m going to quote myself actually. I heard this from a friend and he didn’t say it in these exact words but he said that you don’t need all the fancy stuff, the money or the technology, you need to learn how to work with what you have. The way I put it was: know how to use what you have, then you’ll know how to use what you don’t have. It’s not a fancy quote but it’s simple and it makes sense. All my songs that I have out right now were made on GarageBand. I always say this because I want people to have perspective, I don’t just want them to see me with a nice mic and be like, oh that’s why his music is so good-- no. All my songs that are out right now were made on GarageBand with a Blue Yeti USB mic. You just need to learn how to use what you have. You don’t even need to upgrade. Once you learn how to use that, you can make the best music.
HWM: If an aspiring musician came to you for advice, what would you say?
girly.: Just do it. Just go for it. As simple as that sounds. So many artists say, oh yeah, I’m going to do this and I’m getting that and I’m working on this. Bro, do it then. Also, work in silence. For girly., I didn’t tell anyone about it and just did it on my own. I was like, I’m just not going to tell anyone because I don’t want it to go bad and if it goes bad then no one knows, whatever. But definitely work in silence and share stuff with the people you know will support you. I feel like a lot of artists will post snippets on their snap story trying to get validation from other people and don’t get me wrong, I do that too, cause that’s something we all crave. I feel like a lot of artists do that a lot and then they will just never drop anything. I’d just say: work in silence, keep to yourself, do not stop working, be healthy about it, and work and make sure your mental is good. Stay silent until people start noticing without you telling them.
HWM: What is next for your music. Do you have anything coming up soon?
girly.: I do. I have so much that I’m so excited for and I really want to just release it all at once, but I know that is super irresponsible and I shouldn’t do that cause then I’ll have no music to release. But I have a song coming out on May 14th, it’s called “cowgirl.y.” I have another bigger project coming out soon as well. What’s next in my career? I don’t know. I’m just going to keep working until something happens. Just a lot of work and having fun.
HWM: Is there anything we haven’t mentioned yet that you want to mention?
girly.: Jesko dropped a new album. Y’all should go listen to that. He’s so talented. He’s an amazing producer. That’s pretty cool. I don’t know. Whoever is reading this blog, if y’all want to maybe follow me, or if you like my music and want to support me, that would be cool. I’d appreciate that. I promise I have more music and a lot more cool stuff coming. Also for artists, don’t give up. Keep going. You never know what’s going to happen.