British-Nigerian singer Little Simz wins Mercury Music Prize – an award for best album of the year

Simbiatu “Simbi” Abisola Abiola Ajikawo was born in Islington, London, to Nigerian parents.

She is a British rapper, singer and actress. She rose to prominence with the independent release of her first three albums, namely A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons (2015), Stillness in Wonderland (2016) and Grey Area (2019).

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 won the Mercury Prize 2022 on 18th October 2022. [5] It also earned her the 2022 Brit Award for Best New Artist

Simz’ acting career began with the role of Vicky in the BBC children’s series Spirit Warriors, originally broadcast in 2010,[15] and as Meleka in the E4 television series, Youngers.[16] She was narrator for the television series, Afrofuturism,[17] and played Shelley in Netflix’s revival and third series of Top Boy which premiered in autumn 2019.[18] She appeared as herself in the Sony/Marvel film Venom – Let There Be Carnage, singing her song Venom in a nightclub

She describes her music as rap and experimental.[19] 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.[8]

Simz has performed at Rising Tide, iluvlive, Industry Takeover (Urban Development) Hackney Empire,[20] Somerset House and the House of Lords.[21] She also performed at the BBC 1Xtra Prom 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall, alongside a full orchestra led by Jules Buckley.[22] Simz can be heard on the Leave to Remain film soundtrack, performing the song “Leave It As That”.[16] In early 2013, she appeared on BBC Radio 1Xtra to discuss her performance at the Hackney Weekend.[23] Simz then went on to do a Maida Vale session for Huw Stephens. She also has received praise from Kendrick Lamar.[24]

On 16 December 2016 she released her second studio album Stillness in Wonderland.[25] It was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and supported by a comic book, art exhibition and festival.[26] 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.

Simz releases her music on her own Age 101 Music record label with an exclusive distribution licencing arrangement with AWAL Recordings.[8] On 6 September 2018, Simz and her label AGE 101 signed a worldwide deal with AWAL Recordings,[27] after AWAL had distributed her debut album “A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons” in 2015. This deal was renewed on 18 June 2020.[28]

Her 2019 studio album Grey Area was released to critical success and was nominated for the Mercury Prize,[29] and IMPALA’s European Independent Album of the Year Award (2019).[30]

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.

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