Day two of the 2015 SXSW Music Festival sees more and more bands climb their way onto the stage to showcase their musical talents. The 6-day festival of music is jam packed and features over 2,000 bands, but here are a couple of artists set to perform on today’s (March 18) schedule, that have caught our attention.
Simbi Ajikawo, also recognized as Little Simz, is a twenty something British rapper, musician, actress and singer. The multi-talented star was born and raised in the North of London where she sparked with intelligence and shone with creativity. Last year, following her fourth but definitely not final mixtape Blank Canvas which helped gain support and recognition via Jay-Z’s Life + Times website, Little Simz release her debut EP E.D.G.E to critical acclaim. An acronym for ‘Every Day Gets Easier’, the E.D.G.E EP is dominated by the link between Little Simz’ natural power over words and her direct ability to make even the hardest lyrics flow. Even with huge names waiting to collaborate with this self acclaimed star, the EP only features guest appearances from longtime collaborators, who Ajikawo has grown up with.
The young musician rocked the global Hip Hop arena, even shocking herself at her quick rise to fame over the past year. Ajikawo fought her way to be where she is and easily caught the attention of idolized rapper Jay-Z and his Life + Times website last autumn. With its connections and social media fan base, the collaboration with Life + Times launched Simbi and her fierce and charismatic talents into new levels, with the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac, the MOBO Awards and The Guardian all championing the young star. Her powerful lyrics and prevailing beats later won the rap artist a chance to support Schoolboy Q on his ‘Oxymoron’ UK tour. During this time, it excelled Ajikawo to greater heights, with the young lady receiving high praise from all around the country.
As if the musical genius hasn’t got enough on her metaphorical plate, the artist also owns her own record label, AGE 101, and apparently works out of a unique and comfortable studio in her bedroom, where she has released a series of mini-EPs in the last 12 months, following the massive success of her E.D.G.E EP, as well as recently debuting a compilation EP The Theory Of… featuring label mates Josh Arcé, Chuck 20 and Tilla Arcé.
“Devour”, from her E.D.G.E EP, stands out as one of, if not, her most popular song and for good reason too. The track is backed by a shadowed piano sound which sparks into life 30 seconds in, and sees the rapper’s quick wit and sharp lyrics delivered in a punch, even Mike Tyson would be jealous of. The tune has currently been played over 2,000,000 times Soundcloud, and was the first of a series of glorious collaborations between Little Simz and track producer, Jakwob, that we have been blessed with since, including “Used To Know” and latest gem “Time Capsule”, also featuring rising starlet Caitlyn Scarlett.
The young star is set for a very busy schedule at SXSW this year with performances everyday for the next six days, and she kicks things off with a highly anticipated performance at midnight tonight (March 18) at Latitude 30, presented by BBC Introducing and PRS For Music, which will be followed by performances at the SXSW International Day Stage and ICM Official SXSW showcase tomorrow (March 19). Simbi, who is also set for her debut headline tour later in 2015 and confirmed slots at Wireless Festival and Lovebox, will be performing at the Culture Collide + Dr. Martens showcase and the Pigeons & Planes day party on March 20, before rounding things up on March 21 at the BEAT Academy SXSW Spotlight showcase.
Joining Little Simz tonight at Latitude 30 is fellow emerging British artist Jack Garratt. An exceptional and intricate guitarist with rasping vocal ranges, 23-year old Garratt is donned to be a “bedroom producer”, a relative new concept that more and more artists are adapting to. The young artist-producer believes that “life is too short to weep in your own self-doubt” and therefore is more than happy to complete his tunes and get them out there to a supportive fan base that lap up his music with great content. The larger-than-life figure grasps his journey through music with both hands, developing through his experiences. Jack’s love for music started when he was young, encouraging him to write his very first song at the age of 12. He started out as an acoustic singer-songwriter admitting that he knew “those songs weren’t all that” and that “it was a learning curve”.
The singer constantly shines through with glimpses of frustration, but who wouldn’t when your journey has been determining more of what you don’t want to do, rather than getting to play what you love? The Buckinghamshire beauty was originally training to become a primary school teacher, believing music wasn’t a legitimate career to pursue. All things changed when Jack picked up those drumsticks one more time, realizing that making beats was what he desired in life. The Remnants EP was Jack’s first release and has been described as a moving and almost spiritual experience, by fans and critics alike. With an ingenious mixture of classically balanced guitar and electronic sounds, the EP has introduced Garratt to a exciting new group of teeming audiences, with stand out track “The Love You’re Given” leading the way for Jack Garratt.
For more information of tonight’s schedule at Latitude 30 starring Little Simz and Jack Garratt, presented by BBC Introducing and PRS For Music, click here, and for the rest of today’s and indeed the week’s schedule at the SXSW 2015 Music Festival, go here.
Photo Credit: Matteo Montanari // i-D Magazine
Words by Meg Benbow // Edited by Ayo Adepoju