Speaking as part of this week’s NME Big Read, Simz (real name Simbiatu “Simbi” Ajikawo) discussed the “very personal” nature of her fourth LP and admitted that it wasn’t easy for her to open up at first.
“It definitely was not easy,” she told NME. “I struggled with it because it is very personal, like having someone read your diary. But I think I understood that this is bigger than me and I know this has the potential to help someone.”
She added: “Above all, it’s me saying my truth and I think there’s great power in that. There’s great strength in vulnerability, so I persevered and I’m really happy I did.”
In early 2020, Simz travelled from London to Los Angeles to start work on the album, but she was forced to return to the UK when the coronavirus pandemic first hit. She then “parked the album” and instead put out ‘Drop Six’, her lockdown project.
She restarted work on ‘Sometimes I Might Be An Introvert’ in September 2020, which she said was “always going to be quite cinematic and of scale”.
“I wanted to make a visual and colourful album that was almost a soundtrack to my life,” she said. “The orchestration really helps bring that to light, especially the way we use strings and have it float throughout the project and within these interludes, making it feel concise. I think that was a genius decision, to be honest.”
Simz said she listened to greats such as Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday while making the album, all in a bid to create a “timeless” project.
Elsewhere during the chat, Simz discussed working on the album with enigmatic producer Inflo.
“That’s my G, bro,” Simz said of the SAULT producer. “Our chemistry is just unmatched. We really understand each other in the studio. It’s a trust thing as well: when you go into making an album with someone, there has to be a high level of trust because it’s not going to be an easy ride.
She continued: “He trusts my ear and I trust his; we push each other. We’re also both fearless where there is no boundary or no limit of what we can try in the studio. There’s just the freedom to create and if it works, sick, but I think having the space to try new things is what I love most about working with ‘Flo.”
In a five-star review of ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, NME‘s Dhruva Balram wrote: “Little Simz has ferocious energy on this album, a relentlessness that she must get everything in her head out now. It feels like she is closing the volume to a book, the last chapter in it written and filed.”
He added: “With ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, Little Simz has crafted a near-perfect album that will exist as a marker for future generations to try and attain; it’s not hyperbole to suggest that this canonises her work forever, elating her to be one of the greats.”