In Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, there’s a central question that Little Simz keeps coming back to: “Simz the artist or Simbi the person?”
The line comes in the album’s epic scream of an opener, Introvert. With an urgent delivery against a thundering orchestra, Simz confronts both the deeply personal (“Close to success but from happiness I’m the furthest”) and the highly political; “All we see is broken homes here and poverty / Corrupt government officials lies and atrocities.” Introvert is both a rallying war cry for an activist generation forged in fire and a study of the personal internal conflict that drives the rest of the album; Simz the artist or Simbi the person?
“As I started making the album and properly piecing together the songs, it seemed like a recurring theme that kept coming back” Simz explains. “Sometimes it feels like these two parts of me are at war within the same body; I need to find a way to make them coexist in harmony. I had a lot of honest conversations with the people closest to me about how my life and my success has changed our relationships. There have been times someone might have needed me on a personal front and I’ve had to do something work related. Sometimes I think back on those occasions and I don’t even remember what the work was, but I remember that person needed me, so which one was more important?”
With Mercury and Mobo nominations, Ivor Novello and NME Awards, a critically garlanded music career and a starring role in Top Boy, one of the most talked about Netflix reboots under her belt, Simz has undoubtedly had a meteoric few years, coming a long way from her start handing out mixtapes in the school playground. There’s no question she was always poised for success though; she has always been an artist – wildly ambitious, fiercely talented and devoted to her work – for as long as she can remember. But it wasn’t until she started marking her new album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, on the verge of her twenty-sixth birthday, that she realised the toll that success was taking on her personal life. “I decided to go out to LA and do some sessions. I wanted to open a fresh notebook and analyse this part of my life; I didn’t find the writing experience easy, I went to depths that are really uncomfortable” she admits. “I pushed my pen, I really challenged myself”.