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!


The Real Simba





Fol­low MJ @MJsHipHopConnex

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MJ Savino

MJ Savino

MJ is Hip Hop Blog­ger, Pub­li­cist, Book­ing Agent, Act­iv­ist, but fan first and fore­most. “Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the cul­ture”!

About MJ Savino

MJ Savino
MJ is Hip Hop Blogger, Publicist, Booking Agent, Activist, but fan first and foremost. "Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the culture"!