Where were you in ’94? Little Simz was busy being born. The young’un is one of a handful of serious new music talents that the UK has been raising on the down low, preparing to release them into the big, wild world.
Along with her Space Age crew, Simz has found herself an incredibly talented bunch of friends that includes actor Fady Elsayed and model/star of The Face, Sienna. Her professional contact list is shaping up to be just as impressive. When she’s not in the studio with Joey Bada$$ producer Chuck Strangers or Digital Soundboy’s Jakwob, she’s teaming up with Dizzee and Kelala, before turning up to house parties with Chance The Rapper. Since she dropped her Blank Canvas mixtape late last year, all eyes have been on the North London wonder kid, whose starry life seems to be more LA than UK these days. We grabbed the cooler-than-cool Simz for a catch up and an exclusive spoken word...
Where are you right now, what are you doing and what outfit are you rocking?
Right now I'm in the studio working on new material. I’m rocking pretty casual attire... Saucony trainers, skinny jeans, a tee from Illustrated People and a North Face puffer jacket.
What’s life like for you day-to-day right now?
Day-to-day life's pretty busy for me right now as I’m juggling university and music. I have quite a lot of shows coming up so I spend my days in rehearsals getting my set as tight as possible and then have evening classes in Uni during the week, as well as getting into the studio to record and prep new videos.
Who’s instagram do you enjoy following the most?
I enjoy following instagram pages that are really art related. I follow a lot of photographers more than anything - they manage to capture moments really well, which makes my instagram that bit more exciting to scroll through.
Were you a well behaved kid?
I was definitely a well behaved kid in primary school. I think in secondary I was still that same kid but became a little bit of a rebel lol, but all those experiences moulded me into who I am today.
What group of friends did you belong to growing up?
My friends in secondary school are still to this day my closest girls. We have a real friendship and all support one another's careers. Sienna, Jade & Jasmine, I got you! x
What was the worst crime you have ever been chucked out of class for committing?
Lol, nothing extremely drastic… something like chucking it back to the teacher or talking in class.
Who has instilled the greatest sense of faith in you to succeed?
Definitely my mother. She has always been so supportive of my career, both in education and music, and has pushed me to become the best I can be. She has given me so much and taught me so much about life and how to be a woman.
What's been the best show you have ever attended to date and what makes someone a good performer?
The best show I've attended to date was probably going to see Odd Future live. The energy they possess as a collective is insane! I love it when a performer is able to connect with their audience and is engaging. Confidence is key when performing and keeping the crowd entertained throughout the duration of the set.
You’re a big Lauren Hill fan. Women in hip hop today are represented quite differently from the way she presented herself in the ‘90s. Where do you feel you sit personally in respect to your female rap peers?
I feel like rap in general these days is becoming more diluted. People used to talk about real events happening in their lives such as not having any money or finding life difficult which made it real and authentic. I feel as if nowadays it’s focused a lot on the finer things in life, which is cool, but not everybody can relate to that. I want people to be able to relate to my story and what I have to say - through good and bad times. I’m very open and honest in my music.
How do you want to be perceived?
I would like to be perceived as a young icon figure to my generation. I want to set an example. I want young people to look at me and believe that if I can do it, so can they.
What labels are you into and do you have a day-to-day uniform?
I’m into Lacoste, a sick upcoming brand called Illustrated People and a lot of vintage stores, I love a good bargain!
Who are harder to entertain in your opinion, male or female fans? And how do you maintain cross over appeal for both?
The guys a definitely harder to please! The girls will have your back because you're representing them, but the guys want you to prove that you can go as hard as the male rappers in the industry, if not harder!
Semtex picked up on your music recently, have you connected with him since?
Yeah, definitely. Semtex has supported me greatly over the years before people started paying attention, I will always remember and appreciate that. We're still in contact today, he's such a cool dude. Zane Lowe has also spun Bad on his show, which is pretty cool!
What is the lyrical focus of your music?
I’m inspired to write about real life events happening to me or around me. That’s the only way to keep it honest, allowing people to connect.
What sets you apart from all other artists?
The fact the I also play guitar helps. It allows me to add different elements to my set when I'm performing live. Sometimes I play acoustic and sometimes with a backing track. It varies.
Are you feeling Eminem’s new material?
I love him, Eminem is one of the best, and will always be. Rap God is genius and he put a lot of rappers in their place!
Of this generation what artists do you think will stand out and be remembered as iconic?
My team, SPACE AGE. We’re a collective; Chuck20, Josh Arcé & Tilladotcom.
Where are you off to now?
I'm currently in the US working. Right now I’m off to Rocawear to perform, then off to the studio!