Ditching her signature electric pink locks for a new aesthetic, the formidable self-proclaimed pop-princess girli is back with a brand new single.

Pop songstress girli, AKA Milly Toomey, has just released her new track I Really F**ked It Up marking the beginning of her new eraAfter asking herself “Who am I?” and realising she didnt have the answer, Milly found herself on a voyage of self-discovery leading her to write this new singleThe track opens with the lyrics Why am I like this?” before building into an upbeat, electro-pop chorus speaking of her anguish at doing destructive things to feel excitement and hating herself for it. The 24-year-old artist takes us on a journey through her struggles in trying to find out who she is as a person and artist, giving us an insight into how she realised she didn’t need to know the answer to the question. The honesty girli expresses within her releases makes them all the more personable and relatable, speaking about issues such as feminism, sexuality, and mental health, describing them as “Diary entries”. 

Hailing from Northwest London, girli wrote her first song at eight-years-old saying high school was The worst five years of my life” after experiencing bullying which led her to spend lunchtimes in the music room learning instruments. She signed her first record deal at 17-years-old and wishes more people talked about the importance of knowing what youre getting yourself into when signing a deal so young. After being dropped from that label and losing herself for a while, girli is now back stronger than ever. Having previously released a string of raw pop bangers including Hot Mess, Ricochet, Dysmorphia, and More Than A Friend, and with several EPs under her belt alongside a debut album, Odd One Out, I cant wait to see where this new direction takes the singer-songwriter. 

Her passion for inclusivity and changing the male-dominated front of the music industry saw her most recent tour incorporate an all-female and non-binary crew whilst also completely self-funding it, allowing her to do things the way she wanted and have complete control–something she hasnt always had.

1883 speaks to girli about her new era, love for skateboarding, and whats next for the artist.


Photo by Fiona Garden


Hi Milly, AKA girli, congratulations on the release of your new single I Really F**ked It Up. Alongside your new blonde look, the single signifies the beginning of a new girli era. Can you please tell us a bit about the creative process behind your latest track? 

The song, the hair, the look, the change, everything came down to about six months ago when I was feeling really lost and very confused about who I was, and what my identity was as a person and artist. I kept asking myself and having other people ask me the question “Who am I” and I just didn’t know the answer which really freaked me out. This song was inspired by the fact I’d had an argument or something with a loved one and really upset them. I ended up regretting it so much I then realised “Fuck, I do that a lot”. I say things I dont mean, make stupid decisions I regret, I make so many mistakes and fuck things up all the time. I thought at some point Im just going to fuck everything up and no one is going to want to love me anymore. Writing that song led me to really think about who I am and who I am when I make decisions I dont like, who pulls those puppet strings? It brought me down this road of thinking about identity and I guess Im not one person, Im loads of people. I think something a lot of people can probably relate to is the feeling of “One day Im a bitch and the next Im really nice. One day I want this, the next day I want that”. I started to make peace with the idea that I didnt know the answer to the question “Who am I?” And maybe no one does. So thats what started the whole process which lead to lots of things like the decision to change my hair. To take control of something which was so linked to my identity–having block pink hair–and being like “You know what, I want to change and I want to be different. I want to have a bit of pink here, blonde there, and maybe Ill change it next week but fuck it. I can do whatever I want”. I dont need to know exactly who I am or why I am to do that.


I love the honesty within your music, having been a fan of yours since I heard Hot Mess back in 2017 Ive always admired your ability to be raw and truthful with your lyricism, taking a biographical route with your songs. Do you find writing about the issues you have faced therapeutic in helping you heal? I know how many people relate to you and find solace in the fact theyre not alone in their struggles and feelings… 

Music is my therapy, to be honest. I have a therapist as well which I feel is pretty important but music has always been my diary entry, my way of processing feelings and emotions. Writing lyrics, making those feelings musical, and expressing emotions musically and lyrically has always been a sort of coping mechanism but I don’t want to call it that as that makes it sound like its a bad thing but its been something I cant not do. If this wasnt my job I would still do it, its my passion. Its really cathartic when I put out a song to then know other people feel the same way, its almost like part two of the therapy. A lot of times Ill be writing a song about something and I wont really know how I feel about what Im writing about yet until after I listen to the song over and over again. Its almost like Im translating my own thoughts and feelings that I havent quite understood so to then have other people experience the same thing of “I heard your song and it made me realise how Im feeling about something” or “Your song made me feel less alone about something” or “I relate to this”, is the best feeling in the world.


You have always been big on interacting with your fans and have a great relationship with them. Do you have any wild fan stories you can tell us about?

I get a lot of gifts from fans and a lot of amazing fan art which I’m obsessed with. I have had some interesting gifts at shows before though. I had a fan who made me a pair of underwear with my face on, in a non-creepy way [laughs]. It was really cool. For me, that was pretty sick. I’ve had a lot of fans come to shows and tell me my music made them make some pretty life-changing decisions. I can’t remember if I’ve had a proposal at any of my shows but I have definitely had people come and tell me they have broken up with someone because of my song and I’m like “Oh shit”. One of the most amazing things is since I released my last song More Than A Friend–which came out over a year ago–a lot of people have told me the song helped them to come to terms with their sexuality, which is the one that hits me the most. I so relate to being the person and that teenager who was searching for artists and songs which would help me on my journey. Hearing people tell me my music has helped them with it is such an amazing feeling.


You hired an all-female/non-binary crew for your recent tour and self-funded it allowing yourself to have total control over the whole thing. I know how important inclusivity is to you within the predominantly male-fronted music industry and sadly there still seems to be a huge gap in the divide between female and non-binary and male artists in festival line-ups and on tours for example. What do you think can be done now to change this? We still have a long way to go but do you think you have noticed a difference in recent years? 

Things are changing for sure. When I started touring, playing festivals and shows, when I first started girli, there wasn’t a big emphasis on representation in that sense. The conversations were starting but now more people are vocally being pissed off when a festival lineup is all guys, for example. There is definitely more awareness but still, so much needs to happen. I remember when I started touring it was just a man-fest everywhere. It was just guys in indie bands at every festival and every tour and that was it. You couldnt get a support slot because you were a girl but it is definitely improving. You have to be the change, men have to be the change too. Employ women and non-binary folk in your crew, bring a diverse mix of people on tour, and change the culture of Boys in the bandor Bros on tour. It can be really fucking intimidating if youre a woman who is asked to support a band full of guys with a crew full of guys. If the whole touring crew are men it can feel really alienating as it did for me, my previous crew was very different. I wanted to make the kind of tour I would be comfortable joining, that I would be comfortable being a part of, where I would feel supported, excited, and able to thrive. Thats why its so important to have that type of crew around me.


I know how much you enjoy writing music not only for yourself but for other artists too with your first writing credit being on a BTS song. Lets say you could write a song for any artist or band and they would release it, who would you choose and why?

She writes all of her own songs but to be honest, I would love to be involved in any kind of Taylor Swift song because she’s a big icon. That would be wild. A lot of the people I would want to write with actually write all of their songs themselves but another one is Tove Lo, shes a big inspiration to me. Doja Cat would also be wild. I’m a really big pop fan so a lot of my inspirations and icons are strong women in pop.


Way back in 2016 you mentioned your favourite song to play live was Fuck Right Off Back To LA. Having released several EPs and an album since then, what would you say is your favourite track to perform now? Are there any tracks the crowd go particularly wild for?

More Than A Friend always pops off. I play it last now at the end of my set and people are always ready for it. It’s interesting because I would probably say my biggest song for a long time before that was Hot Mess which is a much more jumpy, punky, fast-paced song so there is always a mosh pit or a crowd surf to that live which is always fun. That’s still fun to play but it’s interesting because I wouldnt call More Than A Friend a ballad but its a big, slower, pop song. Its really fun to play live because everyone sings along and you can tell people are really impassioned in the crowd. I have a song called Pink which is especially fun because I always get the crowd down on the ground for it. I love crowd interaction, the more I can be in there with them the more fun I have.


Your podcast, girli IRL has featured some wonderful people including The Nova Twins, your good friend July Jones, and Nadya of Pussy Riot. Hypothetically, if you could ask anyone to join you on an episode who would it be and why?

I would love for Miley Cyrus to come on, that would be really cool. I would love to pick her brains about her life and career, shes a badass so that would be a banging one.


We have to talk a bit about your love of skateboarding. A good friend of mine, Ellen, works as a coach at Camp Wipeout which is a wonderful female-only weekend of Skating, surfing and live music run by LGSC aimed at getting more people into the ocean and onto the ramps which you have attended a few times. As a skater myself I have noticed a big difference in the number of women and non-binary folk taking up the sport with many local skate groups popping up offering safe spaces in recent years. Id love to know your thoughts and experiences in the skateboarding world and how women and the LGBTQIA+ community are represented within it.

Skateboarding has changed so much in the last five years and it’s been so encouraging to see. I started skating five years ago and it was so intimidating because at most of the skateparks there was such a male-dominated, bro-y atmosphere. I could literally count on my hands how many women and queer skaters there were around–Im sure there were more than 10 but it seemed that way. It felt like a really small community but now there are so many women-only, queer, and LGBTQ+ skate meet-ups, the places that once felt so impenetrable if you werent a cis guy, are now opening up because of strength in numbers, to be honest. There are so many more opportunities, like Camp Wipeout, another one is The Skate Retreat. There are so many of these meet-ups and weekends that are focused on LGBTQ+ and womens skateboarding. I also think that with skateboarding going to the Olympics and there being a womens team, it is going to inspire a whole other generation. Even just in London, I have seen such a change and its really exciting the way there has been a culture shift.


When you released your debut album, Odd One Out in 2019 it was via PMR and Virgin records, you mentioned the pressure you felt and how stressful the experience was. Now being with the independent label Believe, how have you found the transition? Do you have more freedom to say and do what you want now? 

Oh my God completely! The thing with major label deals that isn’t talked about enough is a lot of the time artists are signed when they’re really young. I was really, really young and you don’t know what you’re getting into. A lot of the time you don’t necessarily have the right people around you who have your best interests at heart. Much of the time people want to make money off you quickly so they’ll sign you up to a deal where you may get a large amount of money upfront, take their cut and then don’t really give a fuck about what happens to you afterwards. For me, that is definitely what happened. I was signed to this deal that just wasn’t right for me and because I was so young I didn’t really know what I was getting into and didn’t have creative control. I didn’t have control over my touring or my merch which was a very suppressive environment. I made a lot of music and music videos I’m really proud of and made a lot of amazing fans, but as an artist, my experience over the last couple of years has just been so much more freeing and exciting. I’ve been able to take full creative control of my project and have been able to make what I want, release what I want, and have a team around me who actually gives a shit which makes such a difference. My mental health is way better, I’m enjoying myself now but when I released Odd One Out I was unhappy, so unhappy. I don’t know if many people really knew at the time, but I was not a happy bunny and now I get to do what I love, I get to release music and Im loving it!


What can we expect next from girli?

There’s definitely more music to come. There are also a lot of really exciting announcements to do with touring and a music video for I Really F**ked It Up. Its the start of something, a lot more is coming and Im very, very excited. It wouldnt be a new era without some plans in the works.


girli will headline HackneysFolklore on the 3rd of October, tickets go on sale on the 26th of September and can be bought by clicking here. Follow girli @girlimusic

Interview by Gabi Oates 

Featured image by Fiona Garden


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