Monday, 16 May 2016

INTERVIEW Tiggs Da Author

NEXT month sees the 23rd Meltdown Festival. Hosted by the Southbank Centre, this year its curator is Guy Garvey.
The Elbow frontman, 6 Music DJ and presenter joins a pantheon of stellar names who have curated the event over the years including Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono and most recently David Byrne.
And Guy has got a veritable feast of musical greatness to entertain and delight audiences throughout the festival which runs from June 10 to 19.
Among the line up is Tanzanian born and South London raised, up-and-coming singer songwriter and rapper, Tiggs da Author who tells me he can’t wait to be part of such a prestigious festival.
“It is amazing to be at Meltdown,” he says warmly. “I’ve never performed at the Southbank Centre before so it’s going to be awesome and I'm really looking forward to it.
"It's pretty exciting because it's such a big gig. I’m going to give the audience something a little bit special that’s for sure.
"There will be a lot of energy and spontaneous things - in fact anything could happen,” he chuckles.
"It’s going to be energetic, fun, up tempo and opinionated. When I see certain things going on in the world I like to speak about it and don’t like to stay silent so there will probably be a bit of a political undertone to it as well."
But first things first, who is Tiggs Da Author and how did he get his name?
"I got called Tigger when I was at school because I wore stuff with Tigger from the Winnie The Pooh stories on them," he chuckles.
"I thought it sounded really silly but it stuck before getting changed to Tiggs which is a cool name.
"When I started writing poetry that’s where I got 'author' from and so I added them together and now I'm Tiggs Da Author."
Tiggs admits that as a kid growing up in New Cross - his family moved from Tanzania to London when he was about eight - he was never really into music - and says it was more by accident than design that he developed a passion for it.
"I went to Sedgehill School and was more interested in football than music," he remembers. "All my friends used to rap but I'd just listen to them - I certainly didn't think I could do it."
However things changed when he was about 16 and moved in with his friend DJ Fingers.
"He had his own DJ room and records which was amazing," says Tiggs. "I started to mess about with the equipment in my spare time and then it took off."
Since then he has been influenced by a diverse range of musical sounds, from reggae, garage, Motown, grime and East African jazz and his own music is a mix of all of that making him one of a kind.
"Musically I have been inspired by the likes of MC Dizzee Rascal, Ray Charles and James Brown although my tastes have broadened over the years," he says.
"There is a real energy to South London and that's where I get most of my influences from," he says.
"I also get inspired when I watch films and documentaries but also from speaking to older people who pass on their wisdom - that really inspires me to write lyrically."
And although he's a relative new kid on the musical block, such is his following, he's just finished supporting American superstar Jess Glynne on part of the European leg of her tour and his new song Run has been featured in the promotional campaigns for FIFA 16.
He's also appeared on Jools Holland's show which featured Tom Jones as one of the guests.
"I have to pinch myself all the time," he laughs. "I try not to think about it but playing in front of Tom and Jools with them watching me was quite a thing.
"When my manager asked if I'd like to play with Jess, well I couldn't turn that one down! It was pretty amazing.
"I'd love to work with Pharrell as I've been a fan of his for ages. I met him once, he was so humble and very nice and I was trying to act super cool!"
But for now his focus is on Meltdown and he says he hopes to see as much of the line up as possible.
"I'm so amazed to have been invited to perform on this stage - it's huge for me," he says. "It's such a great festival and loads of brilliant people have done it before me.
"I can't wait."

Tiggs Da Author is at Guy Garvey's Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre from June 10 to 19. Visit for full listings.

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