Tiggs Da Author – Interview – 2015

Wow is an understatement! A Concorde 2 crowd could not believe the emphatic way Tiggs Da Author introduced himself to Brighton with a set that warranted a headline stadium slot. Addictive beats mixed an East London sound and old skool R&B creating a high energy show which had the majority dancing, and left the venue with a buzz like no other. He may not yet be a house hold name, but give it a few months (when he would have performed on Later with Jools Holland), Tiggs Da Author will be the UK’s next big thing. BrightonsFinest caught up with Tiggs before his support slot to Rag’n’Bone Man to find out more about him and his music.
Where did you grow up?
I lived in Tanzania till I was eight years old. Then I moved to the UK and have spent most of my life in South London. I go back to Tanzania every year to spend Christmas and New Year with the family. When I’m there I always go to Jazz clubs and find out about the new music that is coming out. The music over there is amazing!
Are you a big fan of Jazz music?
Not just Jazz, I would say it takes up about 20% of my music. Jazz music has a sort of feel that you cannot describe until you are there and witnessing what is going on live. That’s what I really like about it – it has its own rules, it’s unconventional and it takes incredible skill.
Can you remember the first album you bought?
I think it was Dizzy Rascal’s Boy In The Corner. At the time I used to listen to a lot of pirate radio with my friends and heard about him that way. Then I saw the video for ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ and thought I just had to by the album it was on.
Did you ever envision progression of your sound from Grime sound to what it is now?
No. At first I thought, “This is cool, all my friends are rapping. I’ll do the same thing”. My friends went onto pirate radio, so I followed them. I then started to love music more than I ever planned to. Eventually I started to listen to more and more music but it was when I went back to Tanzania that I started to pay attention to African Jazz. Before that, my mum used to play it in the house but I was a kid and didn’t care for it. Now as I am older, I want to keep some of my roots and foundation I’m my music. When I got home from Tanzania, I started messaging people on Facebook, got a band together and started making this kind of music. You can see the Grimey influence on ‘P.O.W.E.R.’, from my first EP, then on ‘From The Jazz We Come’ I am still rapping but mixing it up with singing to. That was definitely a transition period for me. I was trying to say to people that I come from Jazz, embrace it then add my own vibe to it and hopefully people will love it.
How do you approach writing music?
I need to shut myself away. I don’t really like writing around anyone. I can be in my own space, my own zone and really get to focus on what I am writing about. I don’t want to be writing just for the sake of writing, just saying lines because they rhyme. Imagine doing coursework which has to be in the next day and you are around people who aren’t working – it would be impossible.
Tell us a bit about your single ‘Georgia’?
It kind of defines the direction I’m going in for the album. It’s up tempo, witty lyrics, melody and chorus driven, and the majority is on that same vibe. It has that East African influence in the way I deliver some of my lyrics and in terms of melody, but it also has Mowtown drums and a 60s influence that gives it its driving energy.
I saw some backstage footage to the ‘Georgia’ video with you in a massive trailer, looks like it was a lot of fun?
It was epic! America likes to do everything “huge”. It was literally on a whole road and there was so many people – I was like “Flipping hell! I guess I cannot mess up then”. I had to, you know, man up. It was good I got that test early, so if I’m in a situation like that again I will know how to handle it. It can be overwhelming, but it was still really good and I had a lot of fun shooting it.
The internet has been going mad over ‘Run Run Run’, will it be the next single?
It’s so crazy! I haven’t even put the song out for people to hear, it’s only on Fifa 16 and the advert for Ruby World Cup. People keep asking me about it and where they can get it. It’s another cool song and as long as people like it …..
What has been a musical eye-opener for you?
When I had my first show at Servant Jazz Quarters and saw the reaction I received. That was a pivotal moment for me. I was like “Ok – I want to do this”. It’s hard to explain it. You can see how you make people feel and that is a crazy feeling.
If you put on a show of three acts, who would it be and where would you put it on?
Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse. Then Michael Jackson closing the show as he is a bit of a mover. It would be at the Roundhouse. I went there the other day and really liked it, it’s not too big and the acoustics are really nice.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be and why?
I would want to do a chorus with Tupac, let him do whatever he wants. I would be sick!
If you could have written any song, which one would it be and why?
My favourite Michael Jackson song, ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’. That song has some super vibes! If you hear that song and you don’t want to dance, there is something going on in your world.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to so much. For instance, today I listened to Jack Bugg, Stormz, a killer jazz band, James Blake – really weird combinations of music but I like it.
Do you get to go to many gigs?
Yeah. Best one I saw recently was probably Pharrell at the Apple Festival. I am a huge fan. I really like his old catalogue which he played a lot. It was sick!
What are your future plans?
At the moment I am working towards my album, so I need to complete that and then release a few singles from it. Do a lot more shows and support slots. I just want to give people more of my music and hopefully they will love it the same way I do.
Listen to ‘Georgia’ on Spotify