GIRLI; The Cyberpunk Electro-Rapper Taking A Positive Approach To The Influencer Generation

  • April 29th, 2019
  • Written by marcusoz

Last week, I had the pleasure of tagging along to GIRLI’s headline show at the Thekla in Bristol. From my initial arrival, based on the limited knowledge I had of the rising electronic-rap-punk artist, my first observation was on the overall age of the audience. Most of them were between the ages of fourteen and nineteen, and they were dressed up to the absolute nines, each in their own unique way. It looked like a frantic cyber goth revival laced with K-Pop imagery, and an abundance of sugar-fuelled energy. This peaked my interest further, making me want to fully examine and understand what it is about GIRLI that has attracted such an eclectic and devoted niche of young fans.

I had been listening to GIRLI’s music prior to the event and the budding bubblegum pop-star, was already making her voice heard with an empowering, almost aggressive approach. On the surface, her music doesn’t initially appear to have the level of depth that she envelops in her live performances. The industrial soundscapes, mainstream beats, and cyber-punk influences make it very erratic and easy to dismiss the hidden message behind the harsh tones and bratty vocals. I’m sure GIRLI herself knows that her sound is an acquired taste (which isn’t a bad thing), because for those starting to indulge into the world of alternative pop music, GIRLI is an incredibly fitting role model that clearly connects on a personal level with her fans.

GIRLI is a rising social icon so before commenting on her performance, this alone deserves to be noted and applauded. The modern teenager aspires to emulate the lives of those they look up to and it can make public appearances very difficult when maintaining that level of positivity, regardless of whether it’s an act or part of your personality. As GIRLI is an Instagram personality as well, it can be incredibly demanding trying to maintain a consistent image.

 


 

This hard-earned social dominance is imperative to her current success, as well as some of the lyrical foundations to most of her popular tracks. She mentioned that a close friend had “dumped her” for someone who had more Instagram followers, which is mostly an issue that caters directly to her demographic. On top of this, most of her tracks maintain a repetitive and almost jarring beat that added a level of angst to the tracks (and sometimes some emotional animosity). She made a continuous effort to make her entire audience feel welcomed, even to the point where she had an introduction message that reiterated this point over another piercing siren sound. Nobody was in the dark about what GIRLI stood for, and this was the most poignant element of the evening that was revisited multiple times.

Her energy when performing was parallel to the intense backing tracks and sharp-toned vocals right until the very end. This held the entire night together and injected a much needed dose of adrenaline into the audience. Each track solidifies her values and the music itself is written with this in mind, further excelling the impact of certain hooks in her more abrasive tracks. I don’t usually make comparisons, but her demeanour and vocal ability resembled something of what the lovechild between Kate Nash and Lily Allen would sound like when hopped up on about forty energy drinks. She set the bar high at the start and I’ll wholeheartedly admit that I thought she wouldn’t be able to keep up with herself by the middle of the set. But she kept the party flowing right until the very last note, which was incredibly impressive.

Although her music defiantly has a certain edge to it compared to traditional pop music, I wouldn’t say that GIRLI is quite classed as punk to the extent she has described on her social pages. That being said, when you compare her attitude, presence, and the fact that she has managed to bring a marginalised group of people together in a space where they can enjoy themselves (as well advocating personal pride and respect), sounds pretty punk to me. Which is interesting on its own when you dissect it. The main drive of the punk rock era was to let individuality reign supreme, and to show people they can do what they want if they want to do it. So, as we start levelling the playing field with more amazing underground female artists being championed by the current feminist movement, it’s hard to argue that the basic ideals don’t match up – even if the music doesn’t. But that’s a whole other article that’s just itching to be written.

By the end of the show, the ever-intoxicating repetitive beats came to a halt and GIRLI let the audience move closer to enjoy a very special slow track. This was by far my favourite song of the night as her vocal ability was really put under the spotlight – and she nailed every note. The phrasing of the lyrics was particularly interesting, as it was incredibly delicate, whilst maintaining her signature charm that has carried her through the previous ragers. The performance of this track perfectly encapsulated what the message of GIRLI’s music meant to the small, yet incredibly loyal fan base that made the trip out that evening. They were completely silent when they needed to be, screaming along when instructed, and incredibly harmonious during group vocals. It was an inspiring moment to watch, especially for someone like myself who loves to experience the emotional connection someone has with a piece of music – my boots were filled by the end of the night.

Image taken from GIRLI’s Facebook, via Instagram

When GIRLI finished her set and I was ready to leave the venue, I noticed that almost every single audience member who was squashed up in the front few rows had stuck around to meet her afterwards. This proves how important her audience are to her as she stuck around to greet every single one of them. I will happily admit that I entered the show as a sceptic and for the most part, it was a bit too intense for me. But this isn’t about my personal taste, this is about the people who find solace in the quirky, tongue-in-cheek bravado, and use it to empower themselves with the message it embodies. This is for the young adults who are absorbing the twenty-first century world, and a girl who has taken the responsibility of making sure they understand what should be basic human values. I’m sure we can all get behind that regardless of taste.

 

Check out her latest single “Up And Down (Karaoke Video)“ below!

 

Written By: Marcus Osborne