Blending soulful vocals with lush synths and trip-hop inspired beats, GRAMN. is the new project of Hackney-based Awks. She transforms her experiences as a woman of colour in both the music industry and wider society into catchy, slickly produced tunes.
We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with GRAMN. to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to GRAMN.’s latest single ‘Mini Milk’ at the end of this post.
1. Earth, Wind & Fire – ‘September’
They’re my heroes – look how big the band is, they play perfectly, I’ve never not heard it. I remember being really small in my cot, and my dad singing this song bare close to my face. But he’s dead now.
2. Kendrick Lamar – ‘These Walls’
This is my go to Kendrick tune. It’s a revenge story about how he seduced the girlfriend of the man who killed his friend Dave. I’m like, that’s like something I would do. ‘These walls’ works on so many levels; the walls of a vagina, prison walls, city walls, the walls put up by systemic racism in America. At the same time it’s such a tune. Bilal’s vocals are so nice, you can listen to it any time, in the shower, in your car, when you’re happy or sad. It just works.
3. Stevie Wonder – ‘Living For The City’
He’s such a G, he writes stuff that you always wanna listen to. It’s so well crafted, someone’s actually gone, “wait how am I gonna make this a banger?”, and he’s done that on every track. The break downs are everything and this song is a perfect example. It’s 7 and a half minutes long and I always play it twice.
4. Tierra Whack – ‘Unemployed’
Her flow, her diction, I can understand every word she’s saying. her flow switches up at the drop of a hat, she’s just like aaaaaand switch. She uses all these different voices like I try to do to bring different characters into the stories I’m telling. Plus there’s a massive potato in the video and potatoes are my favourite absolute motherfucking favourite vegetable. But more than anything she’s just so unapologetically herself – I have so much respect for that, especially when there’s so much pressure to get in the mould.
5. CHIKA – ‘industry Games’
So good. I mean everybody knows that crazy things happen in the music industry but no one really seems to speak about it, so it’s great that’s she’s just like – there you go. And she’s rude, just the perfect amount of rude – her lyricism is incredible. But tiny desk is what really made me fall in love with her – it’s perfect.
Thanks to GRAMN. for sharing her favourites with us. Listen to her track ‘Mini Milk’ below.