Quick chats with some of Splore's most intriguing acts.

She's had shout outs from hip-hop heavyweights Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z, while indie music bible Pitchfork called her a "future rap king".

But Little Simz, the pint-sized UK rapper set to perform in New Zealand for the first time this weekend, isn't letting all those accolades go to her head.

"I try not to feel pressure. It's all cool.

"It's great to know that these people are fans - that's an awesome feeling. I'm just trying to do my best," she says from her home in London.


Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo, had her biggest year yet last year, thanks to the release of A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, her debut album that heaves with grimy bass and her aggressive, livewire flow.

It earned rave reviews and means Simz spent much of the year on tour.

"Last year was crazy, I think everything had been in preparation for this point.

"The release of my record was such a highlight, it was something I'd wanted for so long.

"This year is going to be even more intense. I haven't been in my home country for more than two days in the past month."

But earning as many plaudits as her music is the way Ajikawo is releasing it.

All that praise meant plenty of interest from major labels, but she shunned them all to set up her own label, Age 101.

"It's not about the money," she says, more about having control and independence.

"I'm at a stage where I really know my life, and I'm not saying I'll never sign a deal, but that situation just didn't present itself at the right time.

"I'm not in any particular rush. No matter what happens, I don't have anything to lose."

• Little Simz peforms at Splore on Saturday night. Her debut album A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons is out now.