Jazzie B on Godlike Genius FKA Twigs: “She goes to the limits. She really forces the envelope”

The Soul II Soul legend and self-described “NME virgin” said the UK should “be super proud of Twigs” at the BandLab NME Awards 2022

Soul II Soul legend Jazzie B was at the BandLab NME Awards 2022 to present the Godlike Genius award to FKA Twigs, whom he praised for innovation “off the Richter scale” and her “thespian-like” approach to her art. Watch our video interview with Jazzie B above.

Jazzie B spoke to NME from the winner’s room at the awards show held March 2 at O2 Academy Brixton. It was his first time ever attending the Awards, which he joked, on the red carpet, made him “an NME virgin”.

At 34, FKA Twigs is the youngest person to ever be crowned Godlike Genius, and also the first Black woman to receive the honour. Jazzie B was effusive about Twigs’ talent. “Her innovation is incredible. It’s off the Richter scale,” he told NME.

He continued: “I know her and the efforts and hard work she puts into what she does. She deserves that Genius Award. A person that young that talented and so driven – it’s interesting to watch that evolve in today’s very fickle, even more so than my day.”

Soul II Soul Jazzie B and Godlike Genius FKA Twigs on the red carpet at the BandLab NME Awards 2022
Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B and Godlike Genius FKA Twigs on the red carpet at the BandLab NME Awards 2022. Credit: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Jazzie B praised FKA Twigs’ “almost thespian-like” approach to art, “because she almost consumes everything that she [then] oozes, which is very rare for a musical artist these days. It’s often a lot short-lived, and not as deep and hasn’t had the textures and depth.

“But I find with Twigs, she does – she goes to the limits. She really forces the envelope. And it’s so wonderful for her to be from the UK with this level of innovation. [She] truly has my support all the way 100 per cent.”

He added: “There’s still so much more to come. And you know, we should really truly in Britain be super proud of Twigs.” Watch Jazzie B’s full winner’s room interview above – and his red carpet chat with NME below.

FKA Twigs proved why she was a Godlike Genius with a surprise performance at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, taking to the stage with her dancers for an ethereal rendition of ‘Meta Angel’ and ‘Tears In The Club’, both from ‘Caprisongs’ – which was nominated for Best Mixtape. ‘Tears In The Club’, which features The Weeknd, got a nod for Best Collaboration.

Before presenting Godlike Genius to FKA Twigs, Jazzie B said on the podium: “This is a young lady at the very top of her game. You’re blessed baby, you truly are blessed.”

FKA Twigs accepted the trophy with a moving speech. “I don’t know a godlike genius but it’s a godlike strength to carry on throughout difficult times, the personal experiences, through world experience, the hardest thing to do is to keep going,” she said. Watch it above.

As for a Jazzie B and FKA Twigs collaboration? “Always possible with a happy face, a thumping bass,” Jazzie B coyly told NME. “Just watch this space.”

The BandLab NME Awards 2022 also saw an opening performance from Sam Fender, as well as live appearances from Rina SawayamaGriff and Sigrid, an historic collaborative set from Chvrches and Robert Smith, and an epic five-song closer from Bring Me The Horizon.

Check back for all the news, winners and interviews from the BandLab NME Awards 2022.