A closer look at British soca artist Simbaarley


The talented Simbaarley (Nathaniel Seún Leigertwood) represents both Saint Vincent and Antigua in the soca scene. How does he define himself as an artist and what is his personal vision of his career so far?

First, what made you choose Simbaarley as your artist name?
The name is a cross blend of my hair and my family. “Simba” represents a lion and the “aarley” was a representation of my grandfather. I grew up knowing my grandfather was a Rasta, so I naturally associated the musical and artistic name Marley with Rasta. So Simbaarley follows!


When did you start making music?
I started writing and creating music in May 2019. I have a friend named Paige Lihya who is a very talented and soulful R&B artist who helped me record my first demo. His ear for melodies and his writing are simply extraordinary. So yeah… we just ran around with some ideas. It wasn’t until the summer of that year that I was watching different interviews on OJO and came across a live Instagram video of an interview with a British soca artist called Batch that we ended up having. a conversation and bringing me to his studio that same day. It was there that I met DJ Simply E and the Trinibrit Productions team. That same night, he just sent me a riddim. I wrote the song within four hours and recorded it the next day. It was my first outing, called I care, which was released in August 2019.

Simbaarley, representing Saint Vincent and Antigua.

What inspires you to keep creating?
My inspiration varies. It can come from the simplest things – my family, or a beat I hear, or just everyday life, just experiences of things that happen naturally become an inspiration, whether positive or negative.

How many songs do you currently have?
Five tracks: Simbaarley I care; Simbaarley + Chenelle Andrew Intellectual wine; Simbaarley ft Batch My lsland; Simbaarley Bamsee; Simbaarley BPB (Big People Bacchanal).

Tell us about your latest release, Big People Bacchanal (BPB). What did you hope to achieve with this track?
Well, the song was co-written by myself and my good friend / brother / mentor figure Joseph Figueroa, otherwise known as Prince Pronto. The combination of lyrics used was just right to make people feel something different, especially during the pandemic.


We all know when the world reopens there will be a BPB (Big People Bacchanal), so that’s the life of the song!

What part of the creative process do you enjoy the most and why?
For me, it’s writing to a beat late at night in the dark, and just finding different melodies and words and putting them all together!

And if I get stuck, there are people I can go to, but I’ll mention them a little later …

Does your mixed Caribbean heritage influence your style of music?
Certainly. I would say my mixed heritage helps me connect with my style of music.

What makes you unique as a soca artist in the UK?
Well, the artists and genres that I listen to have helped me become the artist that I am. I believe my USP is that my influence comes from so many different genres – alternative R & B / R&B, rap, grime, funky house, garage, hip hop, as well as genres that reflect soca, such as afro beats, afro swing, bashment, reggae, dancehall …


What has been the highlight of your trip so far?
Undoubtedly, part of Kerwin Du Bois’s “Vision”, which is called SPUT (Sing, Produce, Unleash Talent). I auditioned on Instagram like a lot of people and am truly grateful to be part of a process that allows me to work underneath and learn from someone I grew up listening to. There are so many up-and-coming artists, producers and songwriters that I am also grateful.

How has Covid-19 affected your music career?
It has allowed me to network with so many people that I probably wouldn’t be connected otherwise yet. I definitely used Covid as a cooling off period.

What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Performing alongside my fellow UK based soca artists Sundivas, Terrah Dan, Batch and Triniboi Joocie at KISS FM’s carnival show in honor of the carnival season! Big up to the Dixon Brothers and Mista Redz every time!


What advice would you give to aspiring soca artists in the UK?
I firmly believe in the law of attraction; Surrounding yourself with positive energy is a big deal because that’s how you attract positive things.

Never be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.

Believe in your craft and always be ready to learn. As humans, we never stop learning. It doesn’t matter how old we are.

And believe in YOU.

What’s next for Simbaarley?
Come back to the world. Finally shows, and many other releases to come, some releases dive into the modern pop sound of the island and much more!

Finally, how can fans connect with you on social media?
You can reach me on Instagram and Twitter @simbaarley.


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