ShaSimone: A Star Was Born

Inspired by 90s hip-hop and the genre’s legends like Lil’ Kim, Tupac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, NWA, and Missy Elliot, British-Ghanian rapper ShaSimone quietly fostered her immense talent for the art of rapping until the stars aligned and she was ready to show the world, who ShaSimone is.

It was the peak of the pandemic; back in 2020, ShaSimone sensed the industry’s pause and other creatives’ silence and found her moment to shine. Born and raised in Hackney, ShaSimone is a hard worker, a tunnel-vision dream chaser, aware of her self-worth, and not afraid to dedicate all her energy to becoming the biggest act and performer in the world.

In the discomforting comfort of a lockdown, ShaSimone started posting her freestyles, filling the gap at this time and tapping into an audience hungry for ShaSimone’s smart and witty lyrics. Even during the early days of her musical career, the quality of her wordplay was impeccable, certifying her to be a part of the mix of the greats.

Speaking of our generation’s icons, ShaSimone’s incredible stardom energy, and mutual producers saw her in the room with Dave for the recording of the immersive single ‘Both Sides Of A Smile’ taken from his #1 album, ‘We’re All Alone In This Together.’

Later last year, she confirmed her abilities with her debut project ‘Simma Down,‘ where ShaSimone packaged her best efforts and endless studio nights into an industry-shaping EP. Not holding back, ShaSimone returns with a new energy explosive single and the first release of this year, ‘Played out.’

Noctis is honored to support ShaSimone and her career, as she only scratched the surface of what the future has in store for her. She shares details about collaborating with Dave, her own material, and how this all even started.

To start things off, could you tell us some of your favourite spots in Hackney?

Hackney Wick, love the scenery over that side, Hackney food market and the vibrant and liveliest place of all in Hackney – Dalston. 

Could you name your favourite Hackney-bred musicians/artists?

Definitely my guy Rimzee, NSG and defo Unknown T. They’re all so diverse and unique with their sounds, great representation of Hackney. 

When you realised you wanted to pursue music professionally, who inspired you the most?

I realised I wanted to purse music the most when I was in secondary school. I grew up listening to a lot of 90s hip hop which made me fall in love with the art of rapping. My faves were Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, Tupac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, NWA, Missy Elliot.

What made you want to start posting freestyles on Twitter during the pandemic?

I’ve always been sick at freestyling, and I finally thought, why not let the world hear how great I am and not just my friends and family haha. Plus it was also something to do as we were in lockdown and other artists weren’t really releasing at the time so I just took the opportunity to showcase myself. 

How did you get from that point to releasing your music and writing songs?

The pandemic helped me a lot if I’m being honest. I was in studio quite a lot working on my craft and I had a great team around me that helped bring my visions to life and continued to push me. It’s so funny as I feel like my cadence and voice grew within the pandemic as I remember I used to rap with a soft voice, but that’s just a testament to you get out what you put in, and I was putting in a 100hours plus ha!

In 2021, you appeared on Dave’s #1 sophomore album ‘We’re All Alone In This Together On a track featuring James Blake ‘Both Side Of A Smile,’ how did this come about?

We have some mutual producers in common that reached out to me saying Dave wanted to get me on the track after hearing some of my stuff, thought I’d be a great fit for the song as my part was from a woman’s perspective. We linked up the same day in studio and the rest was history! I’ll never forget that day, such a special moment, we were in studio till like 4am after laying down the vocal and were just freestyling back-to-back.

Could you share anything about the behind-the-scenes of recording the track?

It was very intimate; a lot of vulnerability and a lot of passion went into it. Dave is a very creative guy with a lot of depth, and he really took me into his mind so I could understand the importance of the song to him. 

What does ‘Both Side Of A Smile’ represent to you?

It represents the two sides you have in relationships. Men don’t really understand women and women don’t really understand men to be completely honest. From the lyricism to the emotion behind the song it really brings to the forefront the raw reality and emotions of both sides for each other to understand.

You also performed it alongside Dave in front of 20 000 people at his O2 show. How was it? Was it intimidating at all to perform at the iconic venue?

It was a very liberating experience. Very surreal. I was just super excited to be up there alongside him. The reaction and energy from the crowd when I stepped on was surreal. I’m still in awe till this day. I think it also helped that we had performed the track before at Parklife and that was to 80,000 people, so doing the O2 you could really see the chemistry and was more special as we were performing in our hometown London. 

How was the recording process for your debut EP ‘Simma Down’?

It was an emotional rollercoaster. So many ups and downs, I even had a fractured foot in the process but still was coming to the studio every day. I really enjoyed cooking up with the artists features on the tape, Avelino and BOJ. Two very very sick artists. It was also an amazing feeling being able to finish something that I started and see it through to the end despite all the mental challenges.

What was important for you to express in your debut project?

The most important thing for me was to show people I can rap and my range in music. There’s so much that goes into making a good song and I believe it is reflected well in my music. I also wanted people to get to know me a little deeper, as my story is not quite of a typical girl. I think track 1 & 2 gives you an insight to my life. 

What did you want to express in your new single ‘Played Out’?

I wanted to express my ability to flow on such a up tempo beat, show off my word play and remind you guys who I am haha seeing as I hadn’t released any new music since my project in September. 

When working hard, staying up at night at the studio, what is the one dream/vision that keeps you going?

The one thing that keeps me going is remembering that this dream I have is bigger than me. My destiny is attached to so many people.

What is next for you?

More music more music and a sprinkle of more music! I really want to grow within the industry and expand past music.

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Words: Karolina Kramplova