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Boy&GurL: a Q & A with the Canadian pop duo


Sure, I vomit in my mouth a little whenever someone messes with letters in words. What’s up with that shitz? But, after hearing the Elijah Lucian remix of Boy&GurL’s dance song “Around Again,” I decided to ask Calgary-based Jarred Nicklen (Boy) and Crystal McGrath (GurL) a few questions for their West Coast fans.

Blitz & Shitz: Why is there a “u” in GurL?


Boy: I think we just wanted to be different. Hard to remember the real reason now, but it still always makes people ask about it.

GurL: I always try to think of ways to be different, to stand out. Could be why I also have an obsession with sparkles! Haha. The “u” in GurL is there to creatively spell the word with no meaning to me at all. Besides, I like how it looks… that’s how simple I am!


B&S: How did you two meet and start making music together?


Boy: We met each other at a radio event and hit it off. We never really meant to become a band; it just kind of happened. We were going to join together to do a benefit concert, and we ended up writing and recording some really great songs. We actually made the decision to become a band when we were in the recording studio.

GurL: We went into the studio to record our new songs as two solo artists. At the end of recording, it worked so well, we both decided it would be silly not to continue moving forward as a band. When something just effortlessly works, the best thing you can do is just roll with it. That’s when magic happens!


B&S: Who does what musically?


Boy: We both do the songwriting as well as the vocals, but Crystal is usually the lead in most of the songs.

GurL: Both of us do the songwriting: it usually starts with Jarred coming up with a sweet piano riff, and then I tend to start creating the vocal melody and lyrics on top of it. For the most part we don’t ever really write with a plan or a mission. It seems to be what feels and sounds right. I know I’m definitely not a technical person: I’m a Pisces I like to just go with the flow! 

B&S: Influences?


Boy: In the earlier years I listened to a lot of Tori Amos, Amy Grant, U2, Dave Matthews Band and Jann Arden. More recently I love Katy Perry, Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles and Lady Gaga.   

GurL: My first influence that comes to mind would be Alanis Morissette. I remember listening to her album Jagged Little Pill on tape, feeling totally inspired. More recent influences include Kings of Leon, Metric, Adele, Florence + the Machine, Katy Perry, Jessie J and Dragonette. For lyric writing I would say I’m mostly influenced by life and experience.

B&S: Why do you think the world needs a Boy&GurL?


Boy: I think we both write music from different life experiences and life lessons, so with us you get two sides to every song. Something for everyone.

GurL: Being a male/female duo, we have something for everyone, whether it be style, music, lyrics or stories. So why wouldn’t the world need a Boy&GurL? We are a one-stop shop!


B&S: Your music is obviously gay friendly. Are either of you gay?


Boy: Yes. We have had a lot of support from the gay community, and our music has been received very well. 

GurL: It’s very important to promote equality in life. No one should ever feel fear of who they are, and unfortunately, there tends to be a lot of pressure in society to conform to what everyone thinks you should be. Love is something uncontrollable, and it should never be something anyone judges.


B&S: It’s still challenging for gay acts to break out in the music industry. There’s a fear of homosexuality, of a negative reaction from the public. Just ask Adam Lambert. Does that concern you? What do you think it will take for that to change?

Boy: I think what concerns me is that, after all these years, some people still have an issue with it. I’m not sure when it will all change, but we just have to keep doing what we can to educate people.

GurL: I think at the end of the day it comes down to the music, and what that music makes people feel. The entertainment industry is about entertaining people, and there is always going to be people who judge; that’s just the way the world tends to work. But it doesn’t matter what you are being judged for – as long as you stay true to your convictions, you will be successful.


B&S: What’s the best live show you’ve ever played?


Boy: Hmmmm… I would have to say performing at the gay pride parade in Vancouver. All those people had so much energy and made it a lot of fun!

GurL: Performing in the Vancouver Gay Pride parade! We got to be outside for hours, dance on a float and perform our song “Harder to Breathe” in front of thousands of people… over… and over… and over… Haha, I’ll never forget the lyrics now!

B&S: What’s your ultimate dream for the band?


Boy: All the way, baby. We want to take this as far as we can go. This is our life and we want to be doing this when we are 100 years old.

GurL: Ultimately, I see Boy&GurL successfully touring the world inspiring fans. I see us continuing to record new records, both dance and acoustic versions – a little something for everyone! We are songwriters and love writing for other artists as well. Ideally, I can see songs we have written being produced for other pop and country acts.

B&S: What’s upcoming? 


GurL: We just finished recording a new music video to our song “Take Me Away” and will be releasing a new single very soon. We are heading on a prairie tour in May and have created a foundation called Write2Dream, which subsidizes the costs of music workshops in the Calgary community. Who knows, we might even surprise y’all with a Boy&GurL holiday album! Stay tuned, and check out our website: 


Take a look at the video for Boy&GurL’s single “Sorry for Yourself."


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