Griffin House was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio. His father worked in a tire shop and his mother helped place children with foster families. In high school, the athletically gifted House landed a role in a musical and was surprised to learn that he had a natural talent for singing. House bought his first guitar for $100 from a friend, turned down a golf scholarship to Ohio University and instead went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and started to teach himself how to play the guitar and write songs.
House began writing and recording and issued his first independent release, Upland, in 2003. His music attracted attention from Nettwerk, a Vancouver-based management company and record label, and House partnered with the label's American branch to issue Lost & Found in 2004. In August 2004, on CBS Sunday Morning, music journalist Bill Flanagan (MTV/VH1) raved about Lost and Found, putting the newcomer on his short list of the best emerging songwriters in the U.S.