Spotlight: GRL GNG
— 18 Feb 2018, 16:15 by Lauren Furey
This week, the mighty GRL GNG return to Boxpark Croydon to bring you an all-female night of live performances, showcasing some of the fiercest talent, in partnership with Get Plugged. To find out more about this groundbreaking event, we caught up with GRL GNG's head honcho, Naomi Richardson.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
I’m Naomi, I’m a freelance fashion stylist and I run GRL GNG, I also produce and direct the freestyles and cyphers as well as style the cyphers and put together all of our events. Big up my team members Shayna, Aziza and Clarke, I couldn’t do it without ya!
How did the idea for GRL GNG come about?
The idea for GRL GNG came about when I used to host a radio show alongside GRL GNG DJ Shayna Marie, and there just weren’t enough girls to interview, that we knew about anyways. I decided it would be a cool idea to put together an all female cypher but mixed with singers as well as rappers. So, we shot the first cypher in April 2016 and the reception we received was amazing and everyone loved the concept. The girls who featured were Ja Ja Kisses and Madders, initially it was meant to be a group of 5 to 6 but people flopped out on us. I didn’t let that stop us and we carried on and the end result was sick. We shot another cypher a few months later; all of our videos are available to watch on our YouTube channel.
Then, in November 2016, we managed to get a slot at Boxpark Shoreditch and that really changed stuff for us because, at first, it was just cyphers we were creating, hence why we were called Girl Gang Cyphers, it literally opens my eyes to a whole other world and since then we’ve had 5 ot 6 shows at Boxpark, both Shoreditch and Croydon, and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities they've given us. Big up David, Gurj, Marlon and the security team, you guys are amazing!
So now we’re GRL GNG still pronounced "girl gang", and not only do we create cyphers and put on live shows but we now create free-styles which essentially means the artist is free to add their style; this is so that we can look at the artists individually. We will be introducing interviews to get to know the artists we work with on a more personal level. We’ve created a platform to uplift inspire and promote as well as support all female creatives.
What can visitors expect from this month's GRL GNG event at Boxpark Croydon?
A sexy, wavy, cool vibe! Expect to to see some of the most talented upcoming female musicians singing and rapping their hearts out. We always have a good turn out and the vibe is just sick, so please come with good vibes and enjoy.
It seems that now, more than ever, we need projects like GRL GNG. Why do you think it's become so important for women to band together and celebrate each other?
It’s simply because men support one another in the industry all the time, women not so much, but it’s definitely changing. There's actually space for all of us; at the end of the day, we’re all trying to each the same goal so why not help each other along the way. Since starting GRL GNG two years ago, I’ve seen an improvement and there are more and more female driven projects which is refreshing to see and a lot more female creatives have stepped up to the plate.
Tell us more about your partnership with Get Plugged.
So Get Plugged is a morning entertainment show that will take place weekly and provide a platform for discussion and debate of UK music culture as it grows and flourishes. Its primary focus will be R&B, soul/neo-soul, UK rap, grime, hiphop, afrobeats and dance/alternative music. And given that strong visual content plays a big role in successfully making it in today's music industry, the production will revolve around the showcase of recent music videos. It will also be hosted by highly regarded radio presenters and public figures from the underground music scene.
I’m going to be one of the hosts, so myself and Gaby, the lady behind Get Plugged, thought it would be a good idea to set up some type of fundraising events and we had a show coming up so it was perfect timing. So, on the night, we’ll be raising some money to help to create the pilot episode.
What does 2018 have in store for GRL GNG?
More shows, more cyphers, more freestyles, interviews, a lot more pink and a few things I’m keeping secret! We will be travelling the world and creating sick content and puting on shows in no time. The world is our oyster and our future is bright,I can see it already. I believe in my vision which is why I’ve worked so hard on it; I’ve put my blood sweat and tears into this, so I’m excited to see where GRL GNG will be in the next few years.
Finally, what was the last song you listened to?
The last song I listened to was Floetry - Say Yes.