Tiggs Da Author

'Listening to what’s being made in Tanzania and getting in touch with my roots has been so influential': Tiggs Da Author on the free-flowing sounds that have shaped him...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 12 Aug 2019
  • min read
Adam Simon, aka Tiggs Da Author, is a producer and songwriter who fuses the frenetic sounds of Tanzania with jazz, hip-hop, drill and grime.

Recent pilgrimages to the vast sub-Saharan country have fired him up, its free-flowing musical vibes spilling over into the sounds he cooks up from his London base.

Tiggs has been grafting hard for a few years now, collaborating across his conurbation with likeminded souls Blade Brown, NOT3S, Stefflon Don, Nines and J Hus, to name a few.

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed; the PRS for Music Presents alumni has won love from BBC 1Xtra, The Fader, Red Bull UK, GRM Daily and London in Stereo for his anything-goes approach.

Off the back of the single Nasti Riddim, featuring NOT3S, earlier this summer, we grab some time with Tiggs to pick his musical brains and learn what he’s got in store for the rest of 2019…

How did you first get into making music?

My best friend was a DJ and I used to live with him. I was always around people who were making music, MCs, producers, DJs, and my friend had music equipment all over the house. In my spare I’d mess around with it. I must’ve been about 18.

And when did you first find your voice?

I don’t really know. I only wanted to produce and write songs at the beginning, but in order for me to send demos to people I had to record the songs myself. A lot of people ended up using me, when really, I’d only sent them a demo vocal. Once I got that sort of feedback, I started taking it more seriously.

What has inspired you most along the way?

Going back to Tanzania has been really inspiring. Listening to what’s being made over there and getting in touch with my roots, that’s been the most influential thing.

What is it about the Tanzanian music scene and culture that you find so interesting?

It’s very free-flowing and unconventional. A lot of the jazz music over there doesn’t really have a structure. It’s just more of a vibe, everything is melody-driven, and I’ve tried to apply that to my music.

You get involved with all aspects of music-making – writing, production, performing. Where do you feel most comfortable?

On the stage, because everything else is pretty stressful. Recording is stressful. The writing process can be stressful too, because you’re piecing everything together and doing a lot of thinking. On the stage, I can just let out all the energy and work I’ve put in.

How do you prepare for your performances and get into the right mindset?

I try not to think about it too much. I mould into a different person. I know deep down I’m pretty decent at improvising; even if I mess up, I can bring it back.

There’s no better feeling because you’re seeing people’s reaction there and then. Whereas, when you’re making music, you don’t really know if people are going to like it or not.

Your first big break was around 2016/17 – how have you kept up the momentum since then?

I’m always working, it’s non-stop for me. I’ve done a lot of collaborations over the last few years and that has helped a lot. And I’ve been writing, recording and putting out music whenever I can.

You mention collaborations - how important are these projects for you?

To be honest, I’ve been doing collaborations for four or five years, but it’s only now that they’re more about my songs. Before, I was jumping onto others’ songs, and now I’m getting people to come in on my projects.

What have you learned about yourself through working with others?

I know that when I’m writing a song, I need to be by myself, because I find it difficult to be inspired where there’s a lot going on in the room. I usually know what I’m looking for. I might start off by vibing with someone and then take it away and chill by myself to get on top of the songwriting.

Lastly, do you have any tips for up and coming artists and producers?

Just make sure you’re working harder than everyone else, then the opportunities will come.