Q&A: Buddy gets his big break everyday

Jordyn Zitman

Fresh off collaborations with the likes of Alison Wonderland and A$AP Ferg, Simmie Sims III — better known to fans by his stage name Buddy — is putting his own take on rap music. The 24-year-old Compton native is currently touring with rapper Joey Bada$$ to promote his new album dropping summer 2018. En route to Texas for a show at Emo’s Austin on April 29, Buddy spoke to The Daily Texan about getting his start in the industry, who inspires him and his “big break.”

Daily Texan: How did you get your start in music? Did you always know that you wanted to rap?

Buddy: I actually started out acting. I was in this conservatory — it was called AGC, Amazing Grace Conservatory — where they taught a bunch of inner-city Los Angeles kids how to act, sing and dance. We did theater plays, so we would audition for parts and put on theatre plays. They put a talent show together as a fundraiser to get money for stage design/costume design, and they threw me in this rap group! We made a song about white tees and I kind of just kept rapping after that. It was amazing, so fun.

DT: Did you use SoundCloud or other music sharing sites in the beginning?

B: I put some songs on MySpace back in the day, I put some songs on SoundCloud, I used all the streaming sites. I just put some songs out. I just feel like it’s a whole new day and age. It’s like a bunch of different sounds and this shit makes it more accessible for people to just hear a bunch of different types of music instead of just radio all the time. It kind of like forces everyone to be a little more original, you know what I’m saying?

DT: Is there a moment that sticks out when you remember thinking “I’ve done it, I’ve made it?” 

B: Man, every day I wake up, and I’m like ‘this is my break!’ This is my break right now, that energy is in every moment. There’s not just one. Everything I’m doing is like my big break for sure, constantly big-breakin it!

DT: You’re currently signed to Pharrell’s label, I Am Other. How did it feel to connect with Pharrell, who is such a big player in the music industry?

B: My homie Scott Vener introduced me to Pharrell. My homie is a music supervisor for a bunch of shows like 90210, good friends with Pharrell. He heard my music, thought it was tight, played it for Pharrell, and Pharrell thought it was tight too. So I met him, and he fucked with me. We was in Miami, doing a bunch of songs. That’s the big homie right there. 

DT: Who are your biggest inspirations in making music?

B: My family is probably my biggest inspiration. My dad, my mom, my nephew, my sisters, my friends, my manager, everybody. All the people I love in my everyday life really just inspire me to be the best that I can be for myself and for them — that’s the biggest inspiration ever.

DT: How did growing up in Compton influence your sound and who you are as an artist?

B: The city is very inspiring; it definitely shaped me as a person. I feel like a lot of people just learned a lot sooner about fucked up shit, so people who grew up in that area, I really just learned how to focus on the positive outlook of life and in my music and my sound, rather than just the stereotypical gangster rap like ‘everybody’s gonna die,’ and ‘fuck the cops’ and all the stereotypical shit that Compton is known for.

DT: What was it like to work with A$AP Ferg?

B: It was tight! I was working with Pharrell at the time, trying to get him to make me a beat for my album, and he was working with me and (A$ap Ferg) at the same time. Pharrell got kids, so he had to go after a while and then I was hanging out with Ferg, I played him the record, and he instantly wanted to rap on it. He was like ‘ooh send that over to the engineer,’ then just like started rapping on it.

DT: Now that you’ve had a few big songs, what advice would you give to all of the rappers who are trying to get their first big break?

B: Just be original, be original, be authentic and be yourself. Don’t give up, all the cliche stuff. You gotta keep going and keep doing you — fuck what the haters say.

DT: What is one thing you would want people to know about you right now?

B: I would want them to know I’m putting an album out this summer. I’m stoked, my shit fire! It’s all brand-spanking new. Brand spankin.