I had the pleasure, yet again, of chopping it up with young and successful artist The Real Simba. I first discovered Simba a couple of years back when his music caused a world wind across airwaves and stages throughout the states. Without hesitation, I linked up with Simba to release his distinctive story. Since then, his music has voyaged from state to state, and from country to country!
MJ: I know fans are fascinated to hear the back story of Simba. Tell us what life was like growing up as a child in Jamaica? Did it prepare you for your new life in Mount Vernon, NY?
Simba: I was born and raised in St. Catherine Jamaica and came to the states when I was 7 years old. In Jamaica I came from a one-bedroom house shared with me and about 9 cousins, brother, and mother. I grew up in the country side where people raised animals and grew plants as one of the main motives of survival. I spent time with my dad at his home in Central Village, perhaps one of the most dangerous places in Jamaica. That experience made me humble but it also made me a fight for the things I want most. It also matured me faster because I experience things normal kids didn’t see at my age. I came to Mount Vernon and the violence seemed nothing new to me because I saw it countless times in Jamaica.
MJ: The environment around you in Mount Vernon was and is horrific. You were exposed to the horrors and nightmares that no child should be. Rather than fall victim to that you chose an escape. Talk about your writing and how it ultimately became your savior.
Simba: Mount Vernon is hectic but I feel that if I grew up anywhere else it wouldn’t feel the same. I don’t think I’d appreciate many aspects of life that I do now. Growing up in Mount Vernon made me wise and how to carry myself. Mount Vernon hardens you, it makes you a fighter, and teaches you not to give up. At the end of the day I don’t want to die not having done something great. Living here helped me to set goals and also showed me the things that I don’t want to fall victim to. The main reason I work hard is so I don’t have to fall to the negative stigmas of my town. Ultimately my writing became the main reason for me to do so. It gave me something to dream for and gave me away to express myself. Music is my love and gives me meaning.
MJ: One of your very first records was a result of that escape, “Susie’s Story”. Was that the beginning of your career?
Simba: “Susie’s Story” means a lot to me. It’s a record I wrote from the heart. I wrote that for people to see how their actions affect people outside of their initial intentions. I’ve seen too much happen to innocent people and I just wanted to tell people of the tragedy that takes places almost day to day in my town. Initially that’s a story I wrote about a mother who lost her daughter to violence. Things like that break my heart and I found a way to express how I was feeling in a song. Sad to say I feel like it’s a story I’ve seen too many times. It wasn’t the beginning of my career it was just one of my first emotional songs.
MJ: Although you are young in age, you are very family orientated and hold that above anything else in life. What kind of impact does your family and their support have on your career?
Simba: Family is one of the main reasons I do this. Ultimately I want to be the one that helps my family to advance in life, and that’s because they’re the ones that motivate me the most. My brothers, cousins, my mother, and dad tell me all the time that I’m good at what I do. I also have my sisters always supporting me as well whether it’s buying my mixtapes or coming to my shows, they always show love. It’ll mean so much to me when I can give my family the things they deserve. I even have my little nieces and nephews singing my songs every time they see me. My family really supports me and pushes me to be great and I just want to do that for them.
MJ: You have experienced a tremendous amount of success in a short period of time, yet you are not flashy or egotistical like many other young artists. What keeps Simba humble, and grounded in his tracks?
Simba: Through my music I want to inspire people. I want to show them that we all have the potential to be great. I want to stay connected to the people. Though I love fashion and I always try to look fly in my own way, at the end of the day I don’t want people to see jewels and expensive clothing. I want them to first see me for who I am. I’d rather take that money and give back to the people. I’m currently saving up to build a basketball gymnasium for the kids of my town.
MJ: For those that are not familiar with Simba, and shame on them, talk a little bit about your style. What separates you from other young up and coming artists?
Simba: I make music that isn’t bounded by a year. I feel like most young artists nowadays make music that’ll last a few months then it’s gone. My music is something that’ll be timeless. There’s a deep meaning behind every word when I craft a song. Originality and personality is what separates me from other artists. My music is positive, fun, and intellectual because I am that way. I integrate my life, ideas, and personal views into the music. It’s my story I don’t know someone that has lived the exact same life as me.
MJ: Let’s get to the music! What is hot right now and available for all your fans?
Simba: “Ohhmyygoodness” was the single that first got people looking at me as an artist. It’s a catchy, fun, and also very lyrical track. It has the classic rap feel. The single “Blue Faces” is one of my breakout hits. It’s a single that’s being played all over the world right now. It integrates my playful, aggressive, and love for the music. All of these can be found on iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, etc. In both these songs you can hear my seriousness and determination. It just shows how bad I really want and believe in myself as an artist. It is also something listeners can be motivated by.
MJ: Give us a little inside scoop on some forthcoming projects you are working on.
Simba: “This Is Only the Beginning” is a project I am creating that collectively shows all aspects of my personality and just a peek at my life and who I am as a person. I give a Reggae feel on songs such as “Good Love”, a playful feel on songs such as “Come Up”, I share my love life on songs such as “Fear of Love”, and family struggles on songs such as “Yeezy Taught Me”. My music is me! It’s real and exciting filled with love, pain, and joy. This project takes you through all the phases of my life, my pain, struggles, love troubles, and family issues. I wanted to give the people something they can relate to as well as something that will let them know we all share similar stories. But those stories are what push us or drive us to be great.
MJ: As we wrap up is there anything else you would like to share with the world of Hip Hop?
Simba: I just want to thank the people for all their support and their love for my music. Ultimately, because of them it pushes me to be better knowing that I have people checking for my music and constantly showing love and support!
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