Call it dance-folk, soul-hop, or synthpop: San Diego’s effervescent queer magic duo Girlboy’s Follow the Glow is a supernova of a sophomore album. Produced by Morgan McRae and Darren Goldberg of Foxhole Studios in Point Loma, this celebratory, genre-defying follow-up to the pair’s 2015 debut Late Bloomers takes listeners on a heart swell of a journey, overflowing with irresistibly singable hooks, beats that demand grooving, and an unapologetically playful riot of non-conformity. Girlboy is waging a glitter war against shame, misogyny, and the confines of a culturally-defined “normal”—and their weapons of choice are artful lyrics, an undeniably nerdy sense of humor, and a relentless infusion of hard-won, uncontainable hope. Follow the Glow is an anthem for anyone who’s felt othered, brilliantly portioned in 11 tracks of contagious, hip-hop soul-slinging sunshine.
Girlboy was born on stage at a karaoke bar in 2014 when Matthew Blake (singing Beyoncé) and Haley Hill (rapping Jay-Z) gave a rendition of “Drunk in Love” that shifted the trajectory of their futures. Hill, who grew up rapping in Northern California, and Blake, a singer-songwriter with Appalachian roots, bonded in their shared journey of coming into identity and out into the world. Girlboy emerged as their freedom project – a fusion of their wildly disparate styles and fundamentally unified vision that sparked and crackled into life with an electricity that has been lighting up stages ever since. P!nk’s soulfulness merged with Macklemore’s swagger in a lava lamp swirl of glowing, loud and proud queer revolution – Girlboy makes the music you play to rally your marchers, dance like nobody’s watching, or sing-scream defiantly to your dashboard, all while repeating their battle cry mantra: you belong, you are worthy, you’re never alone.
Follow the Glow is somewhere between a pick up line and a love letter – flirtatious and blatantly silly at times, anchored by a current of unconquerable heart. The first track “Best Thing Ever” is a self-affirming homecoming of a tune that sets the stage for a love-led rebellion with the proclamation “Give me a heartbreak, and I will give you a fight.” “Stroll” is a strut-worthy ode to the power of swag, and arguably the only beat to have in your ears for a walk downtown. “Lighter Fluid” will set your heart sparking, “Mia Hamm” make you nostalgic for the posters on your childhood bedroom wall, and “Sunlight” is the best friend you call on your worst day. Girlboy’s activist convictions and phenomenal gift for lyrics shine through in the epic “Her” and irresistibly magical “Gay As Fuck.” We’re invited into the work of Blake and Hill’s journeys in the deeply personal and poignant trio of “Powerful,” “Open Up,” and “The Line,” each packed with soaring melodies, each managing to be at once a call to action and the best kind of therapy. “Get Ya Sunnies” is four minutes of pure San Diego summer, and as the final track on the album, is the perfect moment of ridiculous joy to send you dancing out into the glow – “two parts swagger, one part fashion”, because “it just keeps getting brighter out here.”
Set for worldwide digital release on Friday, September 21st, Follow the Glow is THE dance-folk, soul-hop, queer magic album to keep the sunshine with you well into your fall. Girlboy will be celebrating its release with a FREE concert on Thursday, September 27th at Parks & Rec in San Diego, CA. If you’re a human on a journey toward owning your identity, a cultural rebel looking for common ground, or just need an excuse to dance your ass off, you’re invited. Follow the Glow is your anthem, Girlboy your ally, and the dance floor the battleground we’ll storm to take back the narrative. Grab ya sunnies – we’re all about to light this place up.