Simbiatu "Simbi" Abisola Abiola Ajikawo[1][2] (born 23 February 1994),[2] better known by her stage name Little Simz, is a British rapper, singer and actress. She rose to prominence with the independent release of her first three albums; A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons (2015), Stillness in Wonderland (2016) and Grey Area (2019), the last of which was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize and won the awards for Best Album at both the Ivor Novello Awards and the NME Awards.

Little Simz
Little Simz performing at Openair Frauenfeld, 2019
Background information
Birth nameSimbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo
Also known asSimbi, Simz
Born (1994-02-23) 23 February 1994 (age 30)
Islington, London, England
GenresBritish hip hop
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • actress
Years active2010–present
Labels
Websitelittlesimz.com

Her fourth album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (2021)[3] received widespread critical acclaim, with several publications deeming it the best album of 2021.[4] It went on to win the 2022 Mercury Prize.[5] It also earned her the 2022 Brit Award for Best New Artist and the Libera Award for Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record.[6] Her fifth album, No Thank You (2022), was released to critical acclaim.

Outside of music, Ajikawo has starred in the Netflix revival drama series Top Boy.

Early life edit

Ajikawo was born in Islington, London, to Nigerian parents.[7] She was raised on a council estate with two older sisters.[8][9][10] Her mother was also a foster carer during her childhood.[8] She is ethnically Yoruba.[11]

She studied at Highbury Fields School in London and went on to attend St Mary's Youth Club in Upper Street, Islington, which pop stars Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke also attended.[12] Ajikawo has credited Mary's Youth Club for its influence on her career, describing it as "the place where it all began for me … a second home".[8]

Ajikawo later studied at Westminster Kingsway College and The University of West London[13] where she pursued her music career from there.[14]

Artistry edit

She describes her music as rap and experimental.[15] Whilst she is closely affiliated with the grime genre, she has also pulled inspiration from other genres including reggae, blues, synth-rock and jazzy R&B.[16]

Ajikawo grew up listening to rap artists Busta Rhymes, Nas and Biggie Smalls, which influenced her to pursue a rap career.[17] Lauryn Hill has often been cited as one of her biggest influences.[18][19] Ajikawo stated "I think The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was really my education. Lauryn Hill was one of the first artists that really made me feel the power of music."[20] She also drew inspiration jazz musicians Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday for her album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

Career edit

Acting edit

Ajikawo's acting career began with the role of Vicky in the BBC children's series Spirit Warriors, originally broadcast in 2010,[21] and as Meleka in the E4 television series, Youngers.[22] She was narrator for the television series, Afrofuturism,[23] and played Shelley in Netflix's revival and third series of Top Boy which premiered in autumn 2019.[24] She appeared as herself in the Sony/Marvel film Venom: Let There Be Carnage, singing her song "Venom" in a nightclub rave, which Venom goes to after his split from Eddie Brock.[25]

Music edit

2015-2017: Career beginnings and A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons and Stillness in Wonderland edit

 
Little Simz at Primavera Sound 2019
 
Little Simz performing in 2019

Ajikawo has performed at Rising Tide, iluvlive, Industry Takeover (Urban Development) Hackney Empire,[26] Somerset House and the House of Lords.[27] She also performed at the BBC 1Xtra Prom 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall, alongside a full orchestra led by Jules Buckley.[28] Ajikawo can be heard on the Leave to Remain film soundtrack, performing the song "Leave It As That".[22] In early 2013, she appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra to discuss her performance at the Hackney Weekend.[29] Ajikawo then went on to do a Maida Vale session for Huw Stephens. She also has received praise from Kendrick Lamar.[30] She released her debut studio album, A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons on 18 September 2015.

On December 12, 2016, Little Simz released the lead single to her upcoming album, "Poison Ivy".[31] Just two days later, Simz released the album's second single, "Picture Perfect".[32] On December 16, 2016, Simz released her sophomore full-length studio album, Stillness in Wonderland alongside its comic book companion, Welcome to Wonderland.[33][34]

In 2017, she performed as the opening act for Gorillaz during their Humanz Tour, and was the vocalist for the song "Garage Palace", featured on the Super Deluxe edition of their album Humanz. On May 11, 2017, Simz released "Backseat".[35] On October 11, 2017, she released "Good For What",[36] before releasing the deluxe edition to her aforementioned album on November 3, 2017.[37]

2018-2021: Grey Area, Drop 6 and Sometimes I Might Be Introvert edit

Ajikawo releases her music on her own Age 101 Music record label with an exclusive distribution licensing arrangement with AWAL Recordings.[8] On 6 September 2018, Ajikawo and her label AGE 101 signed a worldwide deal with AWAL Recordings,[38] after AWAL had distributed her debut album "A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons" in 2015. This deal was renewed on 18 June 2020.[39]

On September 17, 2018, Simz released "Offence" as the lead single to her upcoming studio album, Grey Area.[40] The album's second single, "Boss" was released on September 23, 2018.[41] The album's third single, "101 FM" was released on December 4, 2018. The album's final single, assisted by Cleo Sol was released on January 16, 2019, alongside the album's announcement.[42] Grey Area was released to critical success and was nominated for the Mercury Prize,[43] and IMPALA's European Independent Album of the Year Award (2019).[44] On May 6, 2020, while in quarantine, Simz released her tenth extended play, Drop 6.[45][46]

Simz announced the title, cover, release date, and pre-order for her fourth full-length studio album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert on April 21, 2021.[47] The album's lead single, "Introvert" was released alongside the announcement.[47] The album's second single, "Woman", assisted by Cleo Sol Was released on May 6, 2021.[48][49] The album's third single, "Rollin Stone" was released on June 14, 2021.[50] The album's fourth single, "I Love You, I Hate You" was released on July 8, 2021.[51][52] The album's fifth and final single, "Point and Kill" was released on September 1, 2021, just two days prior to the release of the album.[53] On 3 September 2021, she released her fourth studio album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert debuting at number 4 on the UK album charts and winning BBC 6's Album of the Year.[54][55]

2022–present: No Thank You edit

On 6 December 2022, Ajikawo announced her upcoming fifth studio album, No Thank You,[56] which was released on 12 December.[57]

Ajikawo performed her song "Heart On Fire" with Joan Armatrading during the 76th British Academy Film Awards ceremony, held on 19 February 2023.[58]

Personal life edit

Ajikawo lives in London.[59] She is a childhood friend of actor Fady Elsayed and actress Letitia Wright.[8] Ajikawo and Wright have remained good friends and Ajikawo photographed Wright for the artwork for her single, "Selfish" in 2019.[8][60] Whilst Ajikawo believes in God, she does not currently follow any religion.[61]

In 2018 her friend, model Harry Uzoka, was murdered, inspiring her to write her song "Wounds".[62]

Discography edit

Little Simz discography
Studio albums5
EPs12
Singles16
Mixtapes4

Studio albums edit

List of studio albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
[63]
UK
R&B

[64]
UK
Ind.

[65]
AUS
[66]
NZ
[67]
SCO
[68]
US
Curr.

[69]
US
Indie

[70]
A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons
Stillness in Wonderland
  • Released: 16 December 2016
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
Grey Area
  • Released: 1 March 2019
  • Label: Age 101 Music, AWAL
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
87 1 11 82
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  • Released: 3 September 2021
  • Label: Age 101 Music, AWAL
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
4 1 1 40 3 22 45
No Thank You
  • Released: 12 December 2022
  • Label: Forever Living Originals, AWAL
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
40 1 4 40 9 61
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Mixtapes edit

List of mixtapes with selected details
Title Details
Stratosphere
  • Released: 15 October 2010
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats:
Stratosphere 2
  • Released: 14 September 2011
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats:
XY.Zed
  • Released: 23 February 2013
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Blank Canvas
  • Released: 26 December 2013
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download

Extended plays edit

List of extended plays with selected details
Title Details
E.D.G.E.
  • Released: 18 June 2014
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Age 101: Drop 1
  • Released: 5 August 2014
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Age 101: Drop 2
  • Released: 25 September 2014
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Time Capsule
  • Released: 12 December 2014
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Age 101: Drop 3|000
  • Released: 18 December 2014
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
The Theory Of... (with Space Age)
  • Released: 27 January 2015
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Age 101: Drop 4
  • Released: 28 May 2015
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Age 101: Drop X
  • Released: 22 December 2015
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Digital download
Project Unfollow
  • Released: 2018
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Vinyl
Drop 6
  • Released: 6 May 2020
  • Label: Age 101 Music
  • Formats: Vinyl, digital download, streaming
Drop 7
  • Released: 9 February 2024[72]
  • Label: Forever Living, AWAL
  • Formats: Vinyl, digital download, streaming

Singles edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
BEL
(FL)
Tip

[73]
"Time Capsule"
(with Jakwob featuring Caitlyn Scarlett)
2014 Time Capsule
"Dead Body, Pts. 2 & 3"
(featuring Stormzy and Kano)
2015 Non-album single
"Backseat" 2017 Stillness in Wonderland (Deluxe Edition)
"Bombo Fabrika" (Remix)
(with Gabriel Garzón-Montano
Non-album single
"Offence"[74] 2018 Grey Area
"Boss"[75]
"101 FM"[76]
"Selfish"[77]
(featuring Cleo Sol)
2019
"Pink Youth"
(with Yuna)
Rouge
"Flowers" (Live at Metropolis Studios, London, 2019)
(featuring Michael Kiwanuka)
non-album single
"Introvert" 2021 11 Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
"Woman"
(featuring Cleo Sol)
"Rollin Stone"
"I Love You, I Hate You"
"Point and Kill"
(featuring Obongjayar)
"Venom" (Remix)
(from Venom: Let There Be Carnage)
Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artist edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
Dance

[78]
"Cuckoo"[79]
(Raleigh Ritchie featuring Little Simz)
2014 Non-album single
"Bad Dreams"[80]
(Joywave featuring Little Simz)
2015 How Do You Feel Now?
"The Nest"[81]
(Faze Miyake featuring Little Simz)
Faze Miyake
"So Human"[82]
(Rosie Lowe featuring Little Simz)
2016 Control
"Back to My Love"[83]
(Becky Hill featuring Little Simz)
Eko EP
"Far Cry"[84]
(Jack Garratt featuring Little Simz)
Phase
"The Book"[85]
(OTG featuring Little Simz)
2017 Garden of Osiris – EP
"Garage Palace"[86]
(Gorillaz featuring Little Simz)
37 Humanz
"Proud of Me"[87]
(Mahalia featuring Little Simz)
2018 Non-album single
"Favourites"[88]
(The S.L.P. featuring Little Simz)
2019 The S.L.P.
"You From London"[89]
(Sault featuring Little Simz)
2021 Nine (Sault album)
"Free"[90]
(Sault featuring Little Simz)
2022 Untitled (God)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other charted songs edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
JPN
Hot
Over.

[91]
"Gorilla" 2023 5 No Thank You

Guest appearances edit

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Get This in Check"[92] 2013 None Youngers, Part 1
"The Drop"[93] 2014 Nick Brewer Four Miles Further – EP
"Catapult" with Kat Winter 2015 Lena Meyer-Landrut Crystal Sky'
"Table"[94] 2016 Kehlani Non-album single
"Location"[95] (London Remix) 2017 Khalid Non-album remix
"Indie Girls"[96] Jesse Boykins III, Kilo Kish Bartholomew
"DBT Remix"[97] 2018 Lioness, Lady Leshurr, Queenie, Shystie & Stush Non-album remix
"Rewind Time"[98] VanJess Silk Canvas
"King"[99] Ghetts Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament
"3WW"[100] (OTG Version) alt-J Reduxer
"Pink Youth"[101] 2019 Yuna Rouge
"Venom"[102] None Top Boy – A Selection of Music Inspired by the Series

Notes edit

Tours edit

  • AGE101 DROP THE WORLD (2015)
  • Welcome To Wonderland (2017–2018)
  • Grey Area Tour (2019)
  • Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (2021)
  • NO THANK YOU (2023)

Filmography edit

Film & Television
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Spirit Warriors Vicky BBC series
2012 Ill Manors Youth Suspect at the Railway Station (Lil Simz)
2013 Youngers Meleka E4 series
2019–2023 Top Boy Shelley Netflix series
2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage Herself[103] Cameo
2023 The Power Adunola Recurring role

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2016 AIM Independent Music Awards Independent Album of the Year A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons Won [104]
2017 Best Second Album Stillness in Wonderland Nominated [105]
Hardest Working Band or Artist Herself Nominated
MOBO Awards Best Female Act Nominated [106]
Best Hip Hop Act Nominated
2018 UK Music Video Awards Best Dance Video - UK "Garage Palace" (with Gorillaz) Nominated [107]
2019 IMPALA Awards Album of the Year Grey Area Nominated [44]
Mercury Prize Album of the Year Nominated [108]
AIM Awards Best Independent Track "Selfish" Nominated [109]
Pioneer Award Little Simz Won
Best Independent Album Grey Area Nominated
2020 Ivor Novello Awards Best Album Won [110]
NME Awards Best British Album Won [111]
Best Album in the World Nominated
MOBO Awards Best Album (2017-2019) Nominated [112]
2021 BET Hip Hop Awards Best International Flow Herself Won [113]
UK Music Video Awards Best Hip Hop / Grime / Rap Video - UK "Introvert" Nominated [114]
Best Editing in a Video Won
Best Choreography in a Video Nominated
Best Wardrobe Styling in a Video "Woman" Nominated
Best Hair & Make-up in a Video Nominated
Libera Awards Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record Drop 6 Nominated [115]
MOBO Awards Best Female Act Herself Won [116][117]
Video of the Year "Woman" Nominated [116]
Best Hip Hop Act Herself Nominated
South African Hip Hop Awards Best International Act Herself Nominated [118]
BBC Radio 1 Hottest Record of the Year "Introvert" Nominated [119]
2022 Brit Awards British Artist of the Year Herself Nominated [120]
Best New Act Won
Best Hip Hop/Rap/Grime Act Nominated
British Album of the Year Sometimes I Might Be Introvert Nominated
NME Awards Best Album in the World Nominated [121]
Best Album by a UK Artist Nominated
Best Solo Act in the World Herself Nominated
Best Solo Act from the UK Won
Best Live Act Nominated
Libera Awards Best Hip-Hop/Rap Record Sometimes I Might Be Introvert Won [122]
Ivor Novello Awards Best Album Nominated [123][124]
Best Contemporary Song "I Love You, I Hate You" Won
BET Awards Best International Act Herself Nominated [125]
Mercury Prize Album of the Year Sometimes I Might Be Introvert Won [126]
UK Music Video Awards Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Video - UK "Point and Kill" (featuring Obongjayar) Won [127]
Best Wardrobe Styling in a Video Won
Best Hair & Make-up in a Video Nominated
Best Cinematography in a Video Nominated
Best Color Grading in a Video Won
Best Special Video Project "I Love You, I Hate You" Nominated
MOBO Awards Album of the Year Sometimes I Might Be Introvert Won [128]
[129]
Best Female Act Herself Nominated
Best Hip-Hop Act Nominated
Video of the Year "Point and Kill" (featuring Obongjayar) Nominated
2023 Ivor Novello Awards Best Album No Thank You Nominated [130]
AIM Independent Music Awards Best Independent Album Nominated [131]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Video "Gorilla" Nominated [132]
UK Music Video Awards Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Video - UK Nominated [133]
Best Performance in a Video Nominated
Best Production Design in a Video Nominated
Best Cinematography in a Video Nominated
Best Special Video Project No Thank You Nominated
MOBO Awards Album of the Year Pending [134]
Best Female Act Herself Pending
Best Hip Hop Act Pending
Video of the Year "Gorilla" Pending
2024 Brit Awards British Album of the Year No Thank You Pending [135]
British Artist of the Year Herself Pending
Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act Pending

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