Little Simz, a 21-year-old UK artist and rapper, is creating inspiring changes in the music industry by shunning major labels and record deals in favor of self-releasing.
A powerful artist in voice, lyricism, credibility and innovation, Little Simz is effectively transforming the way the next generation will go about making music and getting their music heard.
The self-sufficient artist started out acting, appearing in E4’s Youngers and BBC’s Spirit Warriors, before turning her hands to her first and foremost love, music. Little Simz, aka Simbi Ajikawo, released her first mixtape – featuring raw-edged and rhyming raps – back in 2010 at the age of 16, and continued in that vein releasing several mixtapes thereafter.
Although she’s had the likes of hip hop heavyweights Yasiin Bey and Jay Z express an interest, for her breakthrough release, the E.D.G.E. EP, Little Simz bypassed big names in favour of her roots, enlisting the Space Age Crew, the north London massive she’d grown up with to help on the production front. Keeping it at grassroots level and independent appears to be a forte of the rapper and artist who grew up in north London’s Islington.
And for her debut album, ‘A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons’, released in September, Little Simz again went down the self-releasing route, this time through her own label, Age 101. The album is a stunning 10-track rap exposing truth awakening lyrics over R&B-influenced beats, and makes use of more heavy beat-lines compared to her previous releases.
‘A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons’ showcases a brilliant young talent who raps and rhymes with a confident swagger, one whom is consciously aware both on a physical and spiritual level.
Her presence has been both championed and applauded by those in the circuit. In early 2015, she was crowned Breakthrough Artist of the Year at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards. She’s also been nominated for a BET Award (Best International Act: UK), and in two categories at the MOBO Awards (Best Hip Hop Act and Best Newcomer).
A true pioneer, an inspiration to her peers and the next generation of musicians to follow, Little Simz has adopted the direct-to-fan model approach of getting her music to her audiences, using Soundcloud and Bandcamp as gateways.
She told FACT Magazine: “Before you needed them gatekeepers [middle men], you needed the label to get certain results. Now there’s different mediums – you can go directly to your fans, go directly to the people that are supporting you, and talk to them. You release music to them, as opposed to going through five different routes just to get to them.”
Little Simz is a musical revolutionary and when she talks it’s like she’s been in the game for years, her awareness outweighing many media moguls, and she gives advice from a knowledge base that belongs to her Soul.
“Try and build a strong fanbase and get people excited on the releases and almost build that connection with them,” she told FACT Magazine on advising other musicians. “Don’t worry too much about releases, just have the music sound good first and foremost. That’s your selling point, worry about what you want to say then all the other stuff will come. People think that comes before the music and it doesn’t because without the music there wouldn’t be any of that stuff.”
She raps lyrical wisdom be it when she’s on stage or simply just having a conversation. Little Simz is a shining star for both young artists, as well as older musicians looking at changing their beliefs about making music and getting it out there. The sign of a musical age to come.
About the Author
Rosalyn Medea is an intuitive reader, spiritual life coach, journalist and creative warrior. She endeavors to breathe Life & Soul into everything she does – be it through helping creatives to acknowledge and accept their true self and live the life their Soul desires at www.lifeandsoulcreatives.com; honing her psychic skills at www.lifesoulfreedom.com and http://www.keen.com/Rosalyn%20Medea; and through her writings at www.lifeandsoulmagazine.com