When 24-year-old Amelia Toomey, aka girli, was in her teens, the emerging North London-based artist found herself on the cusp of a hit career. More recently, she’s found herself in an identity crisis: “Who am I? That’s a question I’ve been asked since I was 17,” she says. “I don’t have that answer and no one f**king does, which is okay.”
Transparency has always been key to girli’s image. So, taking to Instagram, the singer shared photos of her signature neon pink hair in ruins, images of splatterings of dye and the grand reveal of a fresh blonde look. This chaotic, unapologetic splendour imbued in girli’s new era is hard to ignore: a scruffy pink and blonde washed mullet, bold make-up and cutting Taylor Swiftesque lyrics are all part of the appeal. Yet, the singer hasn’t let everything go — if you look closely, you’ll see highlights of shocking pink layered into her new look; a reminder that she’s bringing her fans and her past with her.
After graduating from EP projects (Ex Talk, Damsel in Distress – “I really needed to release some sh*t and get it out of my system”), girli has been facing the “multitudes” of who she is head-on. “I had a crisis for six months after the Damsel In Distress tour finished,” girli reveals. “It was a question of what now and I just didn’t know and that freaked me out. I thought I was f**king this all up because people were expecting something from me now.” As new fans began to flock her way, girli pulled a surprising move: she took a year out from releasing music. It wasn’t after taking time away, reenvisioning her aesthetic and her signature amped-up pop-rock sound, that girli could own that she truly is still figuring everything out.
Understanding girli’s journey is fundamental to appreciating what she has next on the cards. After navigating through red-taped record deals and bouts of self-questioning, the artist emerged better for it. Matured, reinvented and refusing to be pigeonholed, we’re returning back to the vision of girli, but not quite as we know her. “I want people to know that I’m a work in progress,” she says. “As an artist, you’re always expected to be the final version of yourself like this perfect, fully formed and packaged thing, but that’s just not what being human is.” Instead, girli is allowing her free-flowing personality to take control of her unfiltered image. Much like her sound, the singer’s new era is as complicated as she is. “I’m confident one day and I’m confused the next. I’m depressed one day then I’m really happy and excited, but the next time, chaotic,” she shares. “I’m messy, but I’m also soft, and disruptive, but I’m healed. It’s taken me time to realise [I’m] so many things at once.”
Pulling on her brewing identity crisis for inspiration, girli is refusing to “choose” between labels, whether that’s genres as an artist on her new EP, or more personally. Tired of walking the line, girli’s call out for change is the ethos that has shaped both her new alt-pop style and musical direction: “The day I wrote ‘I Really F**ked It Up’, I left the studio and had this huge sense of relief. I felt like I’d cracked it in a way and that was just the beginning. I can keep one-upping myself and bettering myself, and I had this big realisation that I wanted a huge change.” Standing out as an individualist who refuses to be boxed in by labels, girli’s new era is an anthem for the misfits and misunderstood. girli’s biggest single to date ‘More Than a Friend’ swirls around emotions of sexual frustration, while ‘I Really F**ked It Up’ surveys the reality of spinning out of control. Drawing on the literary inspiration of American poet Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’, girli hopes her forthcoming EP captures the same notion of self — “I contain multitudes too. I’m so many things at once and that’s the energy I want people to feel when they listen to my music.” Given the vibrant, hook-filled stylings yet to come, girli won’t be waiting long to be heard again.