Hailing from Enfield in North London, Joe Gritty’s journey into music began when he was 15 years old, mostly as a reaction to the environment around him. ‘In my area, knife crime was on the rise and, for me, it basically became a choice of either being another statistic on the evening news or finding something more positive to preoccupy my time,’ explains Joe. ‘Creating music became the outlet that granted me the opportunity to both escape and express the things that were going on outside the four walls of the studio.’
Along with US rapper Wale, Joe cites Skepta, Chip and Wretch 32 as key influences on his music. ‘It is this trio’s ability to make music that speaks to a culture that I attempt to replicate through my work. Listening back to my earlier songs, my content was mainly focused on worldly possession, but now I concentrate on attempting to make music that stands for something greater than myself. Also, artists like Knucks, Dave and AJ Tracey influence me musically because they cleverly embody the sound of new London.’
Joe looks upon his journey as being as much about his own personal growth as it is about musical growth. ‘Who I am as a person and the lyrical content of my music has changed radically. I attribute this growth to hard work and consistency. There were points where I stopped making music because of the lack of shows etc., but I now know it is just part of the journey.’
His journey so far has brought him here, to the release of his first official debut track Medusa. ‘The song came about because of a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that stood out to me,’ he explains. ‘The line is “Don’t waste your love on someone who doesn’t value it”. I thought this line was quite powerful because I think today many people are caught up in the idea of loving the wrong person just for the purpose of social media. I see people posting all the time about other couples being their relationship goals, so I think in a rush to accomplish this “relationship goal” they jump at whoever, even though the person may not be right for them. The song captures the essence of being in love with the wrong person and being in the wrong type of relationship.’
Going forward, the plan for Joe Gritty is to release two more songs with accompanying promos before he locks himself away in the studio to focus on recording his debut EP. We’ll be looking forward to it, along with seeing how the rest of his journey plays out.
Medusa is available now from Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and various other streaming services.
Words by Philip Goodfellow