Photography by Ashley Osborn.
Peachy Magazine caught up with the L.A.-based artist Gryffin to look back on a year that demanded a lot of adapting and to discuss the process of creating his latest release, “Safe With Me” featuring the rising singer/songwriter Audrey Mika.
How was the process of creating “Safe With Me” with Audrey Mika?
I first received a scratch demo at the beginning of 2020 and felt a strong connection to the lyrics and emotional quality of the song. I stripped all of the elements away except for just the vocals and re-built the song’s arrangement and production from the ground up. After I felt it had gotten to a really great place, my manager connected me with Audrey after I was taken aback by her incredible voice. We had 2 recording sessions in LA where we tweaked with the song and added her own flavor to it, and then it was done.
As an artist who’s been a part of many collaborations, what do you usually look for in a collaboration?
I think one of the most important aspects of a collaboration is to be very inclusive and open to the collaborators ideas and thoughts on the record. I want all artists working on the song to feel equally invested, and to bring the best out of all artists involved. In terms of what I look for, I don’t have a particular criteria, I just go by my gut instinct and if I feel the artist has a talent and emotional quality to their artistry.
You’ve created multiple tracks that have climbed the charts. Do you ever get the feeling while working on a track that it will do well?
Sometimes I get that feeling, but other times I don’t and the record ends up surprising me with how well it does over time. Conversely, sometimes I feel really strongly about a record and it doesn’t do so well. That’s sort of the beauty and also terrifying nature of releasing music – you just never know how the audience will react.
Looking back at your early days in the industry, what is one thing you would’ve liked to have known back then?
I don’t necessarily look back on any part of my career with regret. I look at them more as learning experiences and moments to make me stronger and more aware. I guess one thing is trusting my gut instinct more, and to really focus on what I want to showcase as an artist, rather than trying to think “what do people want to hear?”.
You come from a background of classical music. How do you think this has affected your artistry?
The classical music background hasn’t directly translated to my music because my current music is so pop/dance/modern focused, but I do believe my classical training has given me such a thorough understanding of chords, music theory, and musicianship. Every single one of my songs has been written off of the piano or guitar, and that knowledge from my childhood has really helped me with the music nowadays.
As we’re a year into the pandemic, how do you think that the industry and music fans have responded to the situation that occurred this past year in terms of finding new ways of doing things?
It’s definitely been a challenging year for everyone, but it’s good to see all of the livestreams and performances people have been doing. Nothing is like the real, full blown concert experience, but it’s been a nice placeholder while we get through this pandemic. I do believe once we’re through the pandemic, artists and fans will not take concerts for granted and there will be an incredible boom of live music for years to come.