Ken Harrison 5 p.m., March 22
RIYL: Sam Smith, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
- "Meet GirlBoy" · Nov. 18, 2015
Inception: San Diego, 2014
Based in North Park, Girlboy features rapper Haley Hill and folk singer Matthew Blake, both of whom had solo music careers before they met. They blend elements of hip-hop, folk, pop, and electronic music.
A debut album called Late Bloomers was released in fall 2015, with its title carrying multiple meanings. "We both took a stab at independent solo careers before we met,” says Hill. “I was making music videos and performing as The Girl Rapper, and Matthew recorded a folk album when he first moved to San Diego in 2006. We both wore ourselves out because of the massive amount of work that goes into promoting and managing yourself as a solo artist. It’s a full time job and we both already had fulltime jobs."
The title also refers to sexuality. Blake, a folk songwriter from western North Carolina, notes that both members are gay. "We're lucky to have killer support from the LGBT community in San Diego. But our music is for everyone, and you'll find a lot more than club thumpers on our electrohop debut record."
Blake explains “For me, I spent most of my 20s slowly evolving from closeted condemner of all things LGBT, to out-but-not-proud gay Christian, to responsibly single and celibate gay man, to full-blown rainbow-emblazoned LGBT activist. It wasn’t until I was 28 years old I let myself fall in love for the first time.”
That particular tale is told in their song “28 Years,” a staple of their live set.
Though several songs on the album deal with themes like sexuality and religion, Hill says that they have a far more wide-ranging focus. "At the end of the day, we’re a couple of music nerds who simply want to write songs that feel good and resonate as real and true. It’s taken both of us a long time to get to a place in our own lives where we feel like we’re living authentically. If there’s a message in this album, it’s
that in some way we’re all late bloomers. We’re all practicing at living well and none of us have really arrived. We just want to have a good time and be as inclusive and open as we can while we’re at it."