As I wrote in my Artists To Watch round-up, Griffin Oskar is an accidental pop star. The 21-year-old moved from Portland to Los Angeles with the intention of writing and producing songs for other artists, but fate threw him a curveball when a demo he shared on SoundCloud (under the pseudonym Småland) caught the attention of Swedish producer Danrell. His remix of “Hostage” became a massive viral hit — racking up millions of streams. That led to a record deal and Griffin’s debut EP, also called Hostage, arrives on February 3.
I’m excited to premiere the definitive edit of the title track, which is every bit as catchy and intoxicating as the viral version. “I’ve been looking for a way out of this cage you keep me in,” Griffin croons over minimal clicks and bleeps. The gloom suddenly lifts with the soaring chorus: “I can’t break free from your hold on me, throw away the key ’cause love don’t wanna let me leave and I’m a hostage.” I loved the remix, but this is even better. The production is grittier and the buzz artist’s pop sensibility really shines through. Listen below.