CHINCHILLA: How ‘Little Girl Gone’ became a female rage anthem

CHINCHILLA’s Little Girl Gone makes you want to kick a door off its hinges. The British singer talks about her rage banger going viral and becoming an anthem for the abused.

If CHINCHILLA could sum up her life right now, it would be with the ‘this is fine’ meme – (you know, the cartoon dog surrounded by flames). It’s a good fire though, and one started by TikTok.

“I'm feeling stressed out of my mind,” the British singer-songwriter immediately confesses from her bedroom in North London. She’s joking – kind of.

CHINCHILLA recently split with her management and label and went fully independent. Freed up from any external control, she previewed her new song, Little Girl Gone on Gen Z’s favourite social media platform. Her life hasn’t been the same since. 

The sneak preview racked up over 220M views in weeks, taking her respectable 16K following to a staggering 270K, dragging her Spotify followers up to 500K monthly listeners. Weeks later, her TikTok followers are teetering over 358.5K, the song has over 10 million streams, and her monthly Spotify listeners are over 2 million. By the time you read this – who knows.

I can't actually describe how crazy my life is at the moment,” she says, still in disbelief at the way Little Girl Gone is tearing through the internet. 

“It's horrific,” she laughs. “It's lovely, but horrific! It is very overwhelming and really surreal. I think on all DSPs it's hit about 20 million streams. What the fuck?? It's just crazy.

“It's very hard to get the exposure as an emerging artist,” she reasons. “People always say, ‘You just need that one song,’ and I was like, ‘That's a myth.’ It's really hard to get that surge of followers. So I keep having moments where I'm like, ‘This isn't actually happening, right?’ Somebody's gonna stop in a minute and say, ‘Wake up. You're asleep.’ 

"Like when you have a dream that it's your birthday, and then you wake up in the morning and you're like, ‘Ah, it's not my birthday.’ That's how I feel right now: like I'm gonna wake up in a second and it's not gonna be my birthday anymore. But I'm good,” she insists. "It's all good things.”

I quite like being this enigma.

Accent aside, her self-deprecating sense of humour (and choice use of F-bombs) immediately gives away she’s a Brit, although a lot of people assume she’s from the US. Maybe it’s her big hat energy, or the sheer bravado, Headliner suggests?

“Everyone keeps saying this,” she says, delighted. “I’m kind of loving it, I’m not gonna lie. I quite like being this enigma. But yeah, I'm totally British,” she grins.

‘The CHIN’ – as she calls herself – has been releasing music for years, but something hit different with this comeback song, which lands like a gut punch thanks to lyrics which are literally screamed into your ears: ‘Say that again, I didn't quite hear you / Messed with the wrong bitch in the wrong era / I been at work and I got my badge of honour / Honey, I've changed so much since I last saw you.’

The empowering song spits out all the words CHINCHILLA has been bottling up after having it up to here with people-pleasing and being underestimated. She says it’s the most ‘me’ song she’s ever written. It’s pure, feral venom – (‘I like your blood on my teeth just a little too much / So bite me, slap me round the face / Now I'm twisting your arm 'til I hear it break’) – “I didn’t want the lyrics to be glamorous, I wanted to draw up chaos,” she explains.

I've never had a response or reaction like I’ve had to this song.

Aside from being an absolute banger, Little Girl Gone is a call to arms. It’s a war cry for the broken, the abused, the downtrodden and those fed up of being told to smile. 

It’s for every woman who’s had to bite her tongue after being talked down to or underestimated, had to make an excuse after a new bruise appears, for everyone who walked away humiliated after not standing up for themself who wins a new version of the argument in their head later on. People will be screaming this in their cars at full volume after a bad day at work. Forget sad girl music, Little Girl Gone is where to go to channel your rage.

“I write a lot of songs, and every song that I've put out into the world, I'm obsessed with, otherwise I wouldn't have put it out,” says CHINCHILLA. 

“So I feel that every song I write has the potential to do really well. Some will do better than others, but I've never had a response or reaction like I’ve had to this song. When I wrote it, my mind was blown and I loved it instantly. 

"I was dancing down the street to it on the way home from the session – I don't do that,” she stresses, explaining that the music video immediately came to life as she was getting the words down.

“I could see the music video in the session,” she nods. “I was writing the song and also writing the music video concept – literally storyboarding the music video while I was not even finished writing the song. I had two documents open on my laptop: one for the music video, one for the song,” she laughs. 

“I felt like this song was a bit different. You always hope that it's going to have the reaction that you want it to have, but it's mind blowing what's happened with it?” She poses this as a question rather than a statement, as if at any moment the song’s trajectory could be revealed to be an elaborate hoax.

I get thousands of messages every day from abused women.

Take a quick glance at the video’s YouTube comments and you’ll see the way the track is connecting with abuse survivors in particular, or those still trapped in unhappy situations:

“As a survivor of one who tried to erase my worth, and one who is getting his comeuppance as he sits in a cell waiting for trial, this song makes me feel so empowered. It is my new theme song,” says the video’s top comment. 

Underneath it: “My sister was killed by her husband in October. Thank you for putting my rage to music. The power in this song brings tears to my eyes,” followed by: “As a survivor of MANY abusive men, this is my anthem. I began to fight back more and more,” and: “Used this song to leave my narcissistic, physically abusive partner. Thank you for giving me the strength to leave! You saved me and three kids.” And on and on it goes…

“It makes me emotional,” says CHINCHILLA, feeling the weight of the real life scenarios the song is connecting with. 

“I get thousands of messages every day from abused women. It’s really horrible – not receiving the messages,” she clarifies quickly – “just knowing how much it's happening. It's amazing that the song can help people in some way and help them feel empowered. 

"I've always said that with all the music that I create, I want to spread empowerment, and I feel like that's what the song has done. I don't feel like it could have happened to me with a better song than this, because this is the best song to represent me as an artist that I've ever put out. 

"It feels like a real blessing that I can help people in some way, but it's really deep. It makes me sad about how much it's happening.

“Also, I think the reason it resonates with so many women is because we've all had to bite our tongue because a powerful man is making a joke that’s not funny. Fucking every woman knows that feeling – I know men do as well – but it's so prominent in women and that shows in the way it's connected with women having to bite their tongue. 

"This song is talking about people-pleasing and wanting to scream. It’s like when you’ve been sitting through a conversation where you have to be really polite, and everything in your head disagrees with it, but for some reason you can't even form the words to say to this person, ‘Fuck off.’ 

"Then you go home thinking about everything you wanted to say and you're getting more and more worked up and angry. That was where the song came from.”

This song is talking about people pleasing and wanting to scream.

And all this almost didn’t happen: she almost deleted TikTok after being disappointed with her lack of traction.

“I literally was gonna delete my TikTok account the night that I posted the Little Girl Gone video because I was like, ‘My account’s dead. My videos aren't getting any views anymore. The algorithm hates me. Maybe I'll start a new account.’ 

"I was really down and out about it but also like, ‘For fuck’s sake, I don't want to start a new account again!’ I posted this thinking I'll just see how it goes; I’ll check it tomorrow and if it's dead again, then I'll start a new account.”

The next morning the song had 8,000 views.

“I was so gassed at 8,000 because I was like, ‘Yes! my account isn't dead!’ By the end of that day it was on a million views – in under 24 hours – and I was like, ‘Hold on, what’s going on?’ 

"That was two weeks before the song came out – thank god I already planned to release it two weeks later, because people did not want to wait around.”

I felt so susceptible to being told: This is a hit. This isn't a hit. You can't be too personable, but you can't be too standoffish.

TikTok exists in its own social media bubble; does CHINCHILLA worry that people will only show her love in the app?

“Yeah, definitely,” she admits. “It can happen where people love the song, but it doesn't go as far as loving the artists. I think because I have a big image, people bought into that, which I'm so grateful for. I think people can see me as an artist, and not just for one song. 

"There's also a lot of personality in the song, and people resonate with that – it makes them feel authentic, raw emotions. I was worried about it getting the same kind of numbers on Spotify, but then I was also kind of confident because I really think that people would want to listen to this song. I don't think it's just a TikTok fad, but you never know,” she shrugs.

It isn’t. CHINCHILLA has already been contacted by fellow artists – “musicians that I love are contacting me, there’s some crazy names being thrown around and I've been in some really exciting sessions,” – and she’s just announced a headline show in London this summer, where fans are encouraged to wear their finest hats.

And on those hats, which are as big of a statement as her all-caps name and unapologetic CHIN ethos. CHINCHILLA is not only self-styled, as an independent artist she self-funded Little Girl Gone and its ass-kicking music video.

“I did have a terrible year last year in the music industry,” she shares. “I split with my management, I split with my label. It was very hard to work out my path. I decided to go independent and just went into turbo. I needed to do the independent thing for a bit. I needed to do this myself. 

"It really changed me; I made a switch that was basically, ‘I'm not doing this for the music industry's approval anymore.’”

She explains: “I had tons of meetings with new managers last year and I felt so susceptible to being told, ‘This is a hit. This isn't a hit. This strategy won't work. This strategy will work. You can't be too personable, but you can't be too standoffish. You can't show too much of yourself on social media, but you have to show loads of yourself on social media.’ 

"There's so many people – essentially strangers – that were giving their two cents on what was good and what was bad about what I was doing, and it would get in my head and would change what I wanted to do. I needed to find that independence and that empowerment. It was a real self-growth journey.”

Something I've realised is I love being in control. I'm not gonna let that go again.

It’s got to be satisfying now that the song has done so well, under her own management and vision?

“I actually have no bad words to say about my old label,” she insists. “They were all really good people. It just didn't work out. Something I've realised is I love being in control – I'm not gonna let that go again. There's things from independence that I love that I will always want to retain. There's things that I now know about myself that aren't going to go away. I know that I can do all of this on my own now, which sounds brutal, but it’s the most powerful position to be in.”

With one eye on riding the Little Girl Gone wave, CHINCHILLA is already planning her next single, and she’s feeling the pressure.

“I feel worried about the next single because it's almost like that thing that people always say about the second album. Big artists will say if the first album has done really well that they have this fear of the second album. I almost have that, but with the second single. I hope it lives up to it. 

"I feel pressure in that I don't want to disappoint anyone or let anyone down. I want to help these women in some small, tiny way and I want to release the right songs that will do that. I feel really connected with the people listening to my music in a way that I've never felt before.

“There is such a deep connection when people are emotionally tied to the music that you're putting out because it cuts out the middleman of the music industry and all the bullshit around everything. Without trying to sound really pretentious,” she cringes, “music, at the end of the day, is about connecting on an emotional level with people.”

This won’t be the last time you’ll hear from CHINCHILLA, although don’t expect her to nail down a date for the next release:

“In my independent era I want to restrict everything as little as possible for myself,” she reasons. 

“I'm writing loads at the moment as well, so if I’ve got songs planned and I write a song which I love and prefer, I want to be able to swap that out the week before I release something. I want to be authentic and not not restricted, and that excites me.”

In the meantime, if you’re also done taking it on the chin, whip out your earrings and add Little Girl Gone to your female rage playlist.