TikTok Talks: Sophie Grier on car tunes, resembling Janet Devlin and performing in an ABBA tribute band

One of Northern Ireland’s own TikTok talents, Sophie Grier, has gained more than half a million followers since starting her page during lockdown.

Posting videos of quirky comedy skits and cheery car tunes has seen her receive over 11 million likes on the app, making her a bona fide internet sensation.

“The TikTok account really came about out of boredom to be honest” explained the 26-year-old.

@sophygrier Reply to @peachy_.fidgetx ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

“I work in the arts and during lockdown there was no real outlet for creative people, so I started making videos simply as a way to entertain myself. I never expected it to take off or to gain a following.

“People just seemed to respond really well to the videos, and I enjoyed making people laugh and spreading some happiness.”

@sophygrier Northern Ireland deserves a musical #northernireland #northernirish #ni #musicals ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

Some of Sophie’s TikTok’s have over nine million views, which is something she can’t quite comprehend.

“I couldn’t even tell you what nine million people look like, the number of followers and likes don’t even compute, it’s absolutely crazy to me.”

@sophygrier A relatable song by @derrrk_scott ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

Renowned for filming the majority of her material in her car, Sophie claims that this wasn’t planned but more a case of convenience.

“I worked in a warehouse during Covid, and I’d often get in the car after work and park up somewhere and film a video and it became my creative space.

“I’m sure there were people walking past thinking what on earth is that girl at, but I was just enjoying myself and having fun” she laughed.

@sophygrier Reply to @irish_drew a song from my heart #uk #boris #britain ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

In addition to creating entertaining TikTok’s Sophie performs as Frida in the ABBA tribute band, ‘The Bjorn Identity’.

“I love performing in front of a live audience and getting to see their reactions and interact with them. It’s the one thing that you can’t really experience on TikTok.

“People get really into it as well and the crowd is always a good mix because you have the younger generation who discovered ABBA through Mamma Mia! and then you have members of the audience who have been fans since the 70s when ABBA won Eurovision. It's a very unifying experience. ” Sophie says.

@sophygrier I'm the abba baby @thebjornidentity1 ♬ original sound - Danielle Lim

The band is set to go on tour in December and March, with dates in Germany and Austria as well as a variety of venues across Northern Ireland including a return to the Ulster Hall in June 2024.

Sophie has also taught at Uplift Performing Arts since 2017, directing numerous shows such as Sister Act, and The Little Mermaid.

“I love working at Uplift, it’s incredibly rewarding to see the kids grow in confidence and self-esteem. I also get to work with people from all walks of life. I teach in nursing homes, adult day care centres and schools, including additional needs schools. So every day is a little different, ” she said.

@sophygrier #meatloaf ♬ Dead Ringer for Love (with Cher) - Meat Loaf

Despite Sophie’s success on TikTok, it’s not something she wants to do as her full-time career.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has followed me on TikTok or liked my content. It’s mad to think that people enjoy watching me make wee random videos.

@sophygrier Computer says no.... ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

“With the increase in attention came a lot of offers of brand deals. I was even approached by Lionsgate at one point, and even though I feel incredibly lucky for the opportunities I’ve been afforded because of TikTok, when you start doing collaborations like that there is definitely added pressure.

“It starts feeling more like work and I think that’s something people can pick up on when they’re watching your content, and I didn’t want that to be the case, I wanted to make videos because I enjoyed doing it not because I had to or was paid to.

@sophygrier #duet with @abigailbarlowww a brief introduction to NI #northernireland #northernirish #ni ♬ original sound - Abigail Barlow

“So TikTok really isn’t something I’m actively pursuing as a career right now; I really am just posting for my own enjoyment instead of doing regular content or trying to get brand deals”.

Although Sophie has taken a step back from featuring on the For You page, her distinctive red hair often gets her recognised.

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“I got recognised a lot more often when I was making videos more frequently, but it does still happen from time to time and it’s always in strange places, like when I’m in Tesco’s buying bread or something.

@sophygrier Musical theatre is my gym #theatre #musicals ♬ original sound - Sophygrier

“Or I was in Primark once and this girl asked for a photo, and I said ‘yes just let me put down these socks first’,” she recalled.

However, sometimes she gets recognised for being someone else, often being mistaken for fellow Northern Irish singer Janet Devlin.

“I get a lot of comments online saying I look like Janet Devlin or I’m Janet Devlin from Wish.

@sophygrier #duet with @janetdevlinofficial ♬ original sound - Janet Devlin

“I take it as a compliment though and because she’s been tagged in so many of my videos, she does follow me now and we duetted on TikTok on world look alike day which was really cool,” said Sophie.

When asked what advice she would give to aspiring performers she said: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

“I never expected to gain any kind of platform or following from the videos I was making but I think if you enjoy what you’re doing people will see that and connect with it.”