Biig Piig takes us on a sentimental journey through a selection of tracks that remind her of significant moments in her life.
For the London-based singer and rapper Biig Piig it all began in the music room of her school. There, jam sessions held with friends became a haven from the adversities of growing up as a teenager—a space free of judgment, where they could exchange ideas and collaborate. These gatherings gave rise to a community where individuals were encouraged to express themselves through their craft and ultimately led to the inception of the DIY art and music group Nine8 Collective. With its support, Biig Piig, than known as Jessica Smyth, began her path as a solo artist.
For such a young artist, Biig Piig’s discography is expansive. Her debut EP, Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol. 1, was released in 2019, followed by two consecutive volumes that same year. After her fourth EP, The Sky is Bleeding, in 2021, listeners had been waiting in anticipation for her next big project, which came to fruition this year through her debut album, Bubblegum. “This project is a journey about self-love. It’s about getting back to a place where I felt grounded and settled.”
For FF Mixtape #187, Biig Piig has curated a tracklist of songs she admires deeply and that bring back cherished memories.
As an emerging young artist on the scene—releasing your debut EP Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol.1 at the age of 19—how have you evolved over the years?
I feel like it’s been through so many stages. My music has reflected my growth. I just turned 25, but in these former years, so much happened in terms of growth, both musically and personally. I’ve just been exploring, realizing the things I like, and figuring out who I am. Also, I think from the start, I have always loved jumping between and fusing genres.
What is your creative mantra?
Follow your intuition. Don’t overthink. When it comes to creating, there is no need to force something that doesn’t want to happen. Let it come naturally.
As a bilingual speaker, you weave both Spanish and English into your lyricism. What does this add to your narrative?
It’s a weird thing when Spanish finds its way into my music. It hasn’t come for ages, and then with ‘Ghosting,’ it did. I guess the language kind of creeps into my mind when writing. I’ve realized that there is a pattern to lyrically singing in Spanish—at times, it is because I like to use it [Spanish] when talking to the person who the song is about, or when I want to have a secret conversation with them in the song. I wouldn’t be able to do the same thing in English.
As an interdisciplinary artist and member of Nine8 Collective, you work on a variety of projects within the fields of music, fashion, and events. What does community mean to you?
To be honest I feel like I owe so much to meeting these people in college. My confidence, at the time, was below the ground. I loved making music, but I had no confidence in myself. I remember showing a track to Lloyd [Mac Wetha] and him being so supportive in pushing me to put it up on Soundcloud. The collective came at the right time for a lot of us. It was nice to have a space where you could go and be vulnerable, creative, and not judged.
What kind of music do you like to listen to before a performance?
The whole of last year, it was Dijon’s ‘Talk Down.’When it comes to our pre-ritual routine in the run-up to a performance, we all get in the room, blast the speaker, and jump around and scream it to each other. It’s the best feeling in the world. By the end, we all come together and have a huddle before we go on stage.
Your tracklist includes an array of talented songwriters such as J.J. Cale, Dijon, and Thundercat. What do you admire about these artists?
For me, a good song is one that can bring you into a world. When you listen to it, you can literally escape. A lot of these tracks feel like that—from the songwriting to the beats and the production.
Finally, how did you select the tracks for this mixtape?
This is a playlist of tracks that I absolutely love, as well as a compilation of songs that personally take me back to a certain time in my life. There are so many memories that are attached to the tracks in this playlist, which is probably why I keep coming back to them.
Biig Piig is an Irish rapper and singer based in London. Alongside her work as a solo artist, she is also a member and founder of the DIY art and music group, Nine8 Collective. Biig Piig emerged from the London music scene in 2019 through her debut EP, Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol.1, which was followed by A World Without Snooze, Vol.2, and No Place for Patience, Vol.3. Her voracious love for music and songwriting is clear through her continuous stream of EPs following 2019—leading to the release of her debut mixtape, Bubblegum, which dropped last month. This is proceeding with a tour in America and Europe. Head over to the link to get tickets!
You can follow Biig Piig to keep updated with new releases, events, and performances!
Photography: Elif Gonen
Interview and Text: Isabelle Moulding