Hailing originally from Nigeria and having moved to Dublin at the tender age of eleven years, Simi Crowns is a resounding one to watch and causing genuine sonic sensations in his musical wake.
He already has impressive musical support slots under his belt such as Pusha T and Mos Def.
I caught up with Mr. Crowns and enquired initially if the musical utopia- that is his country of birth - had a profound effect on him and responsible for his career choice (as actual musical movements were born in Nigeria).
“I only started being involved with music when I was about thirteen”, he says.
“I initially started off when I was living in Tallaght. I guess my upbringing and background in Nigeria did have some influence to it, I would say that what the primary catalyst. We used to play music when I was in Nigeria, the usual listening to tapes and what not. I didn’t even think that I could do it as a career - I lived in the middle of nowhere.
“We used to live in this secluded place, an isolated area in Tallaght and basically we couldn’t really go out after 6pm and there was very little public transport, so after school at 4 o’clock we were pretty much confined to home and I used to write stuff as a way to pass time, then eventually I figured that maybe I have a way with the words and then it was about 2006 when I started to take it seriously,” says Crowns.
A drawback for many in the music industry is the nervousness in the lead up and during live shows. However, for Crowns, it’s the prep long before that. It’s the writing that bothers him.
“For me it’s always about being on the stage I get more nervous when I am writing. It’s not that I have to worry about being creative it’s more how will they feel.
Everybody has that feeling to a certain extent. I wouldn’t say self-conscious, but consciously you be thinking how will people review it. However on the stage, for me it’s like you’ve got nowhere to hide so there is no use in getting nervous. It’s the real deal.”
Crowns’ debut single Pressure, is about the pressures of wanting to succeed. It’s personal and about vunerability.
“I do care to a certain extent what people think when they are receiving the message. My goal is not so much to impress other people but to impress myself so if it comes out a little raw or too much, it’s never in an apologetic way.
“The track Pressure itself, it is quite personal. I just finished college as well last September. I feel like every other typically ambitious person and so much so that I feel that it is within my control to make it happen,” he explains.
“I feel I know what I want and I know what I don’t want, which I think is more important than knowing what you want. There are so many influences and all these external forces, and internal forces too which can trick your mind a bit.
“I want to do this job and it’s not about the money, it’s what I need to do to survive. Internal and external pressure can stop you from being yourself, so basically it’s about being yourself. It’s more than just success, it’s the very foundation of life” says Crowns.
Crowns recently had a support slot for Mos Def at one of Ireland’s most iconic live venue’s, Vicar Street, but he admits he’s had to do a lot of grafting in not-so appealing venue’s.
“The last two years I have been playing everywhere so I have been playing some really shitty little venues but I felt that the more I kept playing, the more I kept meeting people so I was kinda spreading my wings out and I got a little more selective and that got people from the press and the media interested.
“It took guts to do it so we had people contacting us and I made sure that each gig I did was done like it was the only gig I was doing, meaning I give it all and people see that consistency.”
Is that how Mos Def found him?
“Yeah pretty much...we also played in Vicar Street a few weeks before that and we had a limited sound check time. I didn’t really get the opportunity to grasp the intensity of it and there was a good reception and people said it was a really good show.
"However, going to the Mos Def show was with vengeance on my part. The stage defeated me, in my opinion, considering my expectations of myself. The crowd was really amazing it was overwhelming to be honest. There were people in the crowd who knew my songs and about me and they were singing without me even prompting and I was like..”Oh shit!” it was an incredible feeling”.
With an EP in the works and a tour of the UK and Germany on the cards, Simi Crowns might be set for something big.