The 21-year-old has eight mix tapes under her belt, earning her respect from Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. Now Little Simz is about to release her debut album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons, which is structured like an audio novel. The Red Bulletin sat down with her to discuss superpowers, her rhyme tricks and an important piece of advice from Kendrick Lamar.
THE RED BULLETIN: How did you get involved with music in the first place?
LITTLE SIMZ: I’ve been doing music since I was nine years old. I’ve always been a performing arts kid. So whether it’s dance, acting, music – that’s just always been my field. When I got to 14, I decided that music is what I want to do as a career. And since then I’ve just continued and followed it through.
Was rapping your thing even back then?
I didn’t consider myself a singer. It was into poetry as a kid. I always wanted to have a voice and speak to a generation, speak to a nation even. That’s the type of person I am. I enjoy conversations. I enjoy listening to people and their stories. 14 was the age where I got in the studio with producers. I started learning more about my sound and the art of delivery and flow. And I really enjoyed doing that stuff and that’s why I started rapping.
Around that time you also started acting. You played Vicky in the BBC children’s fantasy series Spirit Warriors, which was all about parallel worlds and superpowers. What was your spirit power in the show?
My spirit power’s if I was to touch you, you’d believe anything I say.
Awesome. That would come in handy in real life too.
Yes, but if I could pick a spirit power in real life it would be the ability to teleport. Like, clicking my fingers and be at home, clicking my fingers and be at the studio. It’s probably going to happen, give it a couple years.
Tracks like Bars Simzson showcase your exceptional flow and rhyme skills. How do you rap so fast?
It’s something that I’ve practiced for years and years. It’s important to be quick and clear at the same time so you can hear literally every word. When I was younger I would train my clarity by putting a pen in my mouth when rapping.
How does that technique help?
You have something there that stops you from slurring. It would help me with my breathing too.
Two years ago Jay Z premiered your mix tape Blank Canvas on his website. Did that open a lot of doors for you?
Definitely. His support helped me to play shows around the world, like SXSW in spring. And it got my name out there. Snoop Dogg hit me up. J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are fans.
What’s the best piece of advice you got from one of your prominent fans?
Kendrick Lamar told me not to feel like I should save my best music because either way it’s going to be heard. And you never know who is listening. That is something that I’ve taken with me for a long time.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t know, so many things can change in only one year. But my main thing in this life is, I want to do is build a school one day. Because sometimes I think to myself, when I’ve done everything I want to achieve in music, then what? I’ve realised that what completes me, is helping people. It’s just in my nature to help someone in however I can, especially kids.
What would you teach at your school?
It would be music, but English as well. I have a deep interest in English.
What’s your favourite English word then?
It’s esoteric. Because I feel like I’m esoteric, I’m understood by only a few.
With your debut album dropping, what can you reveal about it?
I can tell you that it’s a musical novel. It’s structured like a book. You have to listen to it in totality to understand the story.
Little Simz debut album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons can be bought here littlesimz.co