The Women Who Made Me: Jack Garratt

In an ongoing series, Refinery29 UK asks some of our favourite men in the public eye about the women they grew up with, the women who shaped them, and the women who continue to inspire them.

Jack Garratt is a singer-songwriter whose debut album Phase is on track to be the UK number one this week. He will be awarded the Critics' Choice Award at the Brit Awards tonight.
What is your mother’s greatest quality?
She’s been this incredible, supportive, maternal presence throughout my upbringing. She worries too much and she’s definitely passed that on to me. She’s never been a disappointing figure; she’s only ever empowered me. Probably the best thing she ever taught me was how to treat women, which was fairly, and with the upmost respect. Who was the first girl or woman you kissed?
I was probably pretty young. The earliest one I remember was at primary school. I remember kissing a girl and being really weirded out by it and not knowing what happened. It was on a sort of weird double date and we bought fish and chips with our pocket money. I think I’m still in touch with her.
What did you call your grandmothers and what was your relationship with them like?
I call one of them Nana and the other I called Grandma. My Nana is very much still with us and has a mind faster than mine. I hope my genes reside in her side of the family. Unfortunately, Grandma passed away a few months ago. It happened the day that I received a guitar that was made specifically for me, so it made sense in my head to name it after my grandmother, so the guitar is called Margaret. She’s still a part of me at every show that I do. Some people might think that’s shoddily materialistic but for me it holds great emotional purpose. Both of them were hugely supportive of my music growing up and I’d spend a lot of time with them.

I envy women’s fashion quite a bit. It has a lot of depth to it and there’s so much creativity to be found in women’s style.

When did a woman last make you cry?
I never in my life have cried at a movie, although I’ve been close. I’m an emotional person so it’s quite weird. That is until I recently watched Inside Out and I cried like a baby. There was something about the emotional progression of this girl turning into a young woman, and dealing with the intensity of those changes in her head, and seeing it played out in front of you. It was just too much to handle. I was on a plane, and you’re more susceptible to sadness for some reason, so that might have had something to do with it. Which woman’s style do you most admire and why?
As a man, I envy women’s fashion quite a bit. It has a lot of depth to it and there’s so much creativity to be found in women’s style. I have quite a creative group of friends and the women in it dress unbelievably well. They naturally manage to find a great look. Other than that, Beyoncé, because come on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her and thought, ‘Oh no Beyoncé, not today.’ What is your favourite piece of art – be it a film, record, book, painting or performance – by a woman?
There’s an artist based in LA called Lola Gil who I met through a mutual friend. I get overwhelmed when I look at her work because it’s unbelievable. As a token of friendship, she made me this small, delicate but beautifully presented piece of art. It’s a tiny black circle with a piano on it which is self-playing. On top of that there’s an ear. She does incredibly realistic surrealism. Her work inspires me to be different and interesting. Who is your best platonic girl friend and why do you like her?
Because I was raised well by my mum I find it easy to talk to women and I have a lot of female friends as a result of that. I think they'd get mad if I singled one out!

I have three of the most powerful and important women in the music industry working with me, and I’m so happy and proud to work with them.

What is the most important lesson a woman has taught you?
It kind of reverts back to my mum again. She taught me to be respectful, not only to women but to everyone; to treat everyone with equality and with the same level of importance. I've found that to be the best tool I have. I have three of the most powerful and important women in the music industry working with me – Sarah Stennett, the CEO of the management company that signed me, Emma Banks at CAA, one of my booking agents, and then Sas Metcalfe, who works at my publishing company – and I’m so happy and proud to work with them. They are killing it in the industry. Which woman makes you laugh the most?
I’m a big fan of Saturday Night Live and watch a lot of old episodes, and Tina Fey never fails to make me laugh. There is something so inherently funny about her and she’s so quick-witted and clever. Her writing style is brilliant. I love 30 Rock as well. I’m such an admirer of her work. Are you envious of women?
I’m not envious of women because I’ve seen that in my line of work they aren’t always given the same opportunities as men. It’s something that hurts to see happen. I can’t begin to understand how difficult it can be to try and succeed in a creative industry as a woman. So, I’m not envious of women, but it's for reasons that suck.
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