After a non-stop few months, our music editor Ruby Flanagan chats to GRRRL artist Wiyaala about their new single release, their Commonwealth games performance, and how GRRRL has changed her life.

The all-female group GRRRL are on their way to take over. These ladies have not stopped in the last six months. They have released two singles, an EP, gone on tour and closed the Commonwealth games and they are not stopping there. They have bigger and more exciting plans to come in the future.

The group were brought together in 2016 by the Charity In Place of War. “It’s a fluid movement statement band” CEO of In Place of War Ruth Daniels says: “Made up of women of colour and women from conflict zones”. Ruth wanted to give a platform for silenced voices, she said; “I started to think about who was the most marginalised people in the world and who should we be giving a platform to and of course that it’s women from conflict zones”. The charity brought together, talented musicians and artists from different corners of the world to perform.

Credit Ali Johnston

GRRRL are a bespoke electronic music collaboration. Every member of GRRRL brings traits from various cultures into their music with a strong message behind each track. Ruth says; “Through their music they’re telling their stories, in their own languages, in their own terms, in their own ways, with their own voices. It is all about them and their stories. Without a project like this their voices are not going to be heard”.

Ruth explains what the aims for GRRRL are, she says: “I wanted to put women on the main stage on the major platforms across the world to tell their stories and to make change” Ruth continues: “What I want to see is marginalised people in the world having a greater voice which can help enforce change across the globe”.

The past six months have been the busiest for the band. “I am really proud of everything GRRRL has achieved” Ruth says: “they are amazing artists individually and together they are so powerful. I am always reduced to tears when I watch them perform” GRRRL released their debut EP ‘Woyale’ in June and their new single ‘Wanna Dance’ in August.

Credit: Louise Roberts -Shambala Festival 2017

Miro Magazine’s Music Editor, Ruby Flanagan got to chat to artist in GRRRL Wiyaala, who is known as the young lioness of Africa, about the band, their recent AUS tour, their new single and how GRRRL has changed her life forever. 

Thanks for chatting to me today Wiyaala, You have had a busy few months! We’ll start off with the new single ‘Wanna dance’ how did this get track get produced?

Wiyaala: “I think ‘Wanna Dance’, is a song about letting go. The whole idea of it is, when you are dancing you let go. You let go of insecurities and to me it means, I just want to be me, I want to do my thing and have some fun. We don’t say too much in the song but we let our emotions show. In the video, we’re all singing, dancing and pulling faces. We are all dressed in clothes we are comfortable in and we’re showing off our skills. So it’s all about letting your hair down and personality shine because everyone shines.”

You filmed the music video for ‘Wanna dance’ in Australia, What was that like filming?

Wiyaala: “It was so much fun everyone was themselves. For me it was my first time in Australia and we went to shoot the video and it was amazing. We shot the video on the rooftop, the wind was blowing and the sun was warm. Everyone was having fun and the director was just amazing too. It was just a good and fun vibe while we were shooting. Everyone came together and when people do that you can achieve anything in this world.”

You recently did a tour in Australia How was that? And do you have a favourite gig you played?

Wiyaala: I think for me, the favourite show we played in Australia was the Commonwealth Games, it was one of our biggest shows ever and to headline the whole show was insane, it was a big deal for all of us. We’ve all come from different countries, and I didn’t think I would come to Australia and to play that big stage. We played in front of people who have not heard our music before and to perform to them, was amazing. That was the best show yes, it was the best for me.

That was my next question! It is incredible! How do you feel about playing such a massive stage?

Wiyaala: When I am on stage I feel like nothing else. I feel so high up. This is something that I have always wanted to do, and getting to do something you’ve always wanted to do is exciting. You’re happy and you give it your all, and you do your best. You do it like nobody’s business and to me, on stage, I am just myself but my very best.

The debut EP WOYALE was released in June, How was the EP written? How did it all come to be?

Wiyaala: Well we came together and everybody gave a bit of themselves to the album. We started off with a beat and we all listened to the beat and we start vibing off of each other, and whoever has the strongest feeling will share it. We all hum and sing and dance around just vibing off of each other. Everybody brings in their own ideas and we put them all together in our songs. When you listen to the songs you can tell we are really excited and we are giving our all. That’s how we roll all the time. We are just vibing off of each other and when writing music we could be vibing and then suddenly we make up a lyric, through an emotion or the emotions we are feeling at that time and then we record it. That’s how we write our songs.

What are the future plans for GRRRL over the next few months, anything we should get excited for?

Wiyaala: With GRRRL the future is exciting and I can say that for sure. As we get new members to join, younger members coming in and that’s what GRRRL is all about. The future I can say is going to be great, for me personally I don’t know what is going to happen but I have a good feeling. No matter what happens GRRRL is here to stay, and we’re going to be here for a very, very long time. We will grow old, but we are going to leave a legacy. But some up and coming young women will be joining GRRRL and they will continue the legacy.  Things will move on and yes we will be older but GRRRL has been designed in a way that when we get older we can pass it on to the younger women who will be talented and ready to keep it going. GRRRL is now born and we are not ready to die, we will never die.

Photo Credit: Ali Johnston

How has GRRRL affected your life personally? How has it changed since you joined?

Wiyaala: Wow, GRRRL has empowered me in so many ways. When I joined, personally I used to struggle a little. I didn’t want to be kept quiet but now with GRRRL I know I don’t have to stay quiet. A lot of women need help getting up because it is a man’s world. What we need to do is stand together and work together and we can rise and push ourselves up. Before I joined GRRRL, I couldn’t do certain things, I couldn’t edit my own videos for example and GRRRL has taught me how to. That’s only one thing but we support one another and women need to do that, we need to help each other out. We are always helping each other grow and we all need to help each other get the opportunities to do these things. I’m being encouraged to learn and do all these things. Now I am editing, shooting, directing my own videos and it is all girl power, thanks to GRRRL. It’s amazing; absolutely amazing for me. GRRRL is all about empowerment, and we know it is not easy for a young girl, without the know how to step up and take on a male dominated world. But we can achieve so much if we stand together as women. I’m glad I am apart of GRRRL to be a part of this legacy that can change the world.

Keep up to date with everything GRRRL are up to on their social medias;

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website 


Future GRRRL Live Dates:

31 August                            Hootananny,  Brixton, London

6 September                      Thames Festival feat. Charlotte Adigéry, Reading Town Hall

2 November                       Richmix, Bethnal Green, London