An Introduction to the Unapologetic World of GIRLI
Simply from the title of her 2015 debut single, “So You Think You Can F*ck With Me Do Ya”, listeners can get an idea exactly what kind of trip GIRLI has in store for them throughout her discography. The now 23-year-old vocalist — with her signature pink hair and plenty to say — was always going to raise eyebrows with her outspoken lyrics and catchy, but jarring PC Music sound. This is exactly what being an artist is all about.
London-born Milley Toomey, known by her stage persona GIRLI, burst onto the music scene at 17 years old; she gained a further internet-cult-following after releasing singles: “So You Think You Can F*ck With Me Do Ya”, “Girl That I Met On the Internet”, “Girls Get Angry Too”, and “Not That Girl”. These songs at the beginning of her career were heavily influenced by the PC Music movement and bubblegum pop, speckled with punk and rap.
She mainly discussed topics such as hyper-masculinity, gender stereotypes, and contained an overall social commentary scattered throughout; all whilst being relentlessly British. In “Girls Get Angry Too” she questions: “What’s a girl, what’s a boy? Why are there gender sections for toys?” While “Not That Girl” proclaims her feminine independence: “I’m really sorry that I’m not the girl who would give the world just to be your girl…”
In 2019, GIRLI released her full-length, debut album, Odd One Out, under PMR Records. The album featured fan favorite, UK hits “Hot Mess”, “Day Month Second”, and “Young.” Critics highlighted the new, matured, alternative pop sound from GIRLI and praised her for the exploration of her identity and the toil of adolescence.
When it seemed like things could only get better for GIRLI and her career as pop’s unapologetic shining star, everything came to a crashing halt; the young artist had to cancel her upcoming Sofa Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was dropped by her label, PMR Records. Her management, the majority of her professional team, and more had all seemingly been swiftly taken away from her. It all seemed like her once shining spotlight was shutting off completely.
However, the freedom of becoming an independent artist without the restrictions of music executives breathing down your neck has allowed a new GIRLI to be born; one that’s even more outspoken, more unapologetic, and more unafraid in the musical risks she takes sonically.
Simply maturing as well has allowed her to become more confident in her identity as a bisexual woman. Now she has also ventured off from her PC Music beginnings into focusing more on grunge, punk, and ‘riot girl’ inspired sounds.
Her queerness is what has allowed her to be exposed to new fans with similar experiences, and is now a big focus point of her new material.
She told Spotify, “It was only after losing my record deal, relationship, and friendships that I was able to rediscover who I actually am.”
In her current journey as an independent artist, she’s been her own manager, come up with all the concepts for her visuals on her own, and directed many of her new music videos.
One of her new songs, “More Than A Friend”, discusses the situation where a friendship turns into a one-sided crush. This song has become one of her most streamed on Spotify, with over 2 million streams and nearing 1 million views on the music video on YouTube. An incredible achievement for an artist without the backing of a record label.
Her current project is entitled Damsel In Distress. Each song, released monthly, is accompanied by a music video. So far these singles include “Ricochet”, “Dysmorphia”, “More Than A Friend”, and “Ruthless.”
Despite still being young and having a long road ahead of her in the cutthroat music industry, GIRLI has been there and seen it all — as with other artists today trying to make it in the world. She’s finally beginning to take command of her career by expressing her frustration with the regimented major label environment, alongside the toughness that comes with being a pop singer today.
I highly recommend you check out GIRLI’s discography below!