Little Simz by Jackie Nickerson for Document Journal Summer/Pre-Fall 2022
One of my favorite rappers is Little Simz. She is one that doesn’t compromise herself in search for money and fame. All her albums are great. I remember seeing her at Coachella for the first time and being able to stand at the front of the stage because not a lot of people were there to see her set. I hope people are paying attention now. She chats with Imani Elizabeth Jackson for this interview for Document Journal. Take a look at the photos taken by Jackie Nickerson and what she has to say in this issue of the magazine.
On the acclaim of her most recent album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
I’m super proud of the album, I put a lot into it. I distilled a lot, I channeled a lot, I tapped into places that I hadn’t really gone before. The acclaim is great, but I’m more proud of me for getting out everything I wanted to say gracefully—and standing in my truth. That’s maybe why people connect with it and can relate to it. The music speaks for itself, I think.
On making music and acting
I’ve always written from a very personal, introspective place. I don’t really know anything else. It’s not something I consciously think about. It’s what I feel, it’s what I think, and that’s it, you know? I’m just blessed [laughs]. With acting as well, it depends on the role, and it depends on the person and what I feel I need to tap into, or what I need to draw from. But they’re both storytelling in some way, shape, or form. That’s what I love most about both of them: the fact that I can tell a story, [either] my own or [from] someone else’s perspective. I love storytelling—what that brings, who that can inspire, people seeing themselves in people, humanizing people. I believe that my life is already on display through my art, but anything outside of that, I’m entitled to have for me. Because it’s actually my real life. To someone else it’s like, ‘Yeah, cool, I’ll listen to the album and whatever,’ but I live with this. I’m very protective over it and over myself. I feel I need to be.
Ways to maintain freedom and flexibility
I’m not afraid to live my life, and I think that more success, or whatever you call it, can force you to be a bit of a recluse. I understand that, but in the same breath— as much as I like being in the house and being outside—I know I can’t go places and [expect to be] alone. How I feel when I’m out with my family—I’m very nice about it, but I’m with my parents, you know? It’s not being afraid to be that way and learn that I’m entitled to live my life. I’m entitled to my privacy. I’m not a mean person, it’s cool, it’s chill. [But] I’d much rather just chat with you for a minute then let you take a photo. I’m not afraid to be outdoors. I am an artist, I’m always looking for inspiration, and you’re not always going to get that in the house. So I like to spend time with my friends. I play tennis—I’m a very active person, I like sports. I do things that genuinely fuel me and make me happy outside of my work, and, without me even knowing, it really inspires my art. I try not to get caught up in what you’re supposed to do now that you’ve got success or whatever. And I’m very grateful for everything, but in the same breath, if I didn’t have anything to talk about, no one would care about me— apart from my real, immediate people, you know? There’s a reason we’re on the phone right now, and it’s because I’m Little Simz and I’ve created something and put it into the world. I’m mindful of living my life for me, because music is the love of my life. I want to make music and I enjoy making music, and that urge comes from being me.