How Kendrick Lamar Helped Griff Land an Opening Slot on Taylor Swift's Eras Tour (Exclusive)

"I was dying," Griff tells PEOPLE, recalling the moment Swift mentioned she'd "love" to have her open for her on tour

<p>Kevin Mazur/TAS24/Getty; Joseph Okpako/WireImage</p> Taylor Swift; Griff

Kevin Mazur/TAS24/Getty; Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Taylor Swift; Griff
  • Griff will open for Taylor Swift at one of her London Eras Tour dates

  • The slot has been a long time coming, the singer tells PEOPLE

  • Griff says the offer came while at a Kendrick Lamar concert in 2022

Nine months after Taylor Swift posted “damn griff i love this one” on her Instagram Story — linking to Griff’s catchy song “Vertigo” — the English singer has landed an opening slot at an Eras Tour show in London.

Although Swift, 34, just recently announced Griff, 23, as an opener for that June 22 show, this tour news has been a long time coming, brewing since November 2022, Griff reveals to PEOPLE.

“I actually bumped into Taylor at a Kendrick Lamar concert in London. It was so surreal to see her there,” Griff recalls about interacting with Swift before Lamar’s Big Steppers Tour show a year and a half ago.

“We spoke a little and I was congratulating her on everything, and she mentioned then at some point she would love to have me [as an opener on tour one day],” Griff continues. “I was dying.”

<p>Taylor Swift/Instagram</p> Taylor Swift and Griff at the 2021 Brit Awards

Taylor Swift/Instagram

Taylor Swift and Griff at the 2021 Brit Awards

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The “Miss Me Too” singer-songwriter, who had previously met Swift backstage at the 2021 BRIT Awards, couldn't believe her ears. 

“Well, I wasn’t totally sure I heard her correctly at first, but I watched the whole Kendrick show grinning ear to ear,” Griff explains.

Ten months after that fateful run-in at Lamar’s concert, Griff woke up to Swift’s Instagram Story that encouraged Swifties to listen to “Vertigo.”

Now, Griff is most excited to perform “Vertigo” at the Eras Tour London night two because “knowing Taylor likes that one feels pretty cool.”

When revealing the opening acts for her London shows, Swift said she “chose artists whose music I love listening to, and I can’t wait for them to add an extra jolt of excitement to our shows at Wembley Stadium in June.”

Griff quickly reacted to the tour announcement in an Instagram caption: “If you know me you know this might be one of the most surreal things to say but TAYLOR SWIFT HAS INVITED ME ON THE ERAS TOUR!!!!!!!!!! 8 yr old me who had fearless on repeat wouldn’t believe this. So unbelievably grateful to Taylor for all the love she’s shown me and my music.”

<p>Joseph Okpako/WireImage</p> Griff performs at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2024 on May 25, 2024

Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Griff performs at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2024 on May 25, 2024

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Griff tells PEOPLE that being handpicked by Swift “means so much.”

“It's pretty wild,” she adds. “Fearless was the first album I remember falling in love with as a kid. I'm always just so inspired by how she can have such a huge career but stay so close to the songwriting process.”

Griff hasn’t attended the Eras Tour yet and has also refrained from watching The Eras Tour film in order to experience it in person first.

“I wanted to hold out to watch the real thing,” explains Griff, whose favorite song from the 14-time Grammy winner’s latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, is “But Daddy I Love Him.”

Griff adds, “I’m pretty excited for ‘Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me’ and also ‘August’ — I just love that song so much.”

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“August” was part of the original Eras Tour setlist when the tour kicked off in March 2023, and it still holds a spot on the updated 46-song setlist.

The other two tracks were added in May 2024 as part of the setlist’s seven-song TTPD era, which Swift included after releasing TTPD in April and has since dubbed the “Female Rage: The Musical” section of the Eras Tour.

Griff is “very excited” to be part of the June 22 show.

“I’m just forever eternally grateful to Taylor and to all the Swifties that have been so welcoming when it was announced,” Griff says. “I can’t really believe its happening, I love Taylor!”

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