As she runs across a London Street, topless, just minutes after her makeup and hair have been finished, it’s pretty darn obvious that Siggy Smalls is pure awesome.
WORDS BY VANESSA MORGAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEE SAVINS
A shoot outside in London weather – what on earth could go wrong? Or right?! What did happen was an encounter with a vivacious, life-loving personality, London-based DJ Siggy Smalls. With her own weekly radio show and working as part of The In Crowd with Ricki Hall and Them & US, Smalls has made her mark on the London music scene.
Inked: Your body is a work of art. How closely did you work with your artists to get your tattoos to fit your body?
Siggy Smalls: Thank you! I’m so blessed and lucky to have met some amazing friends who are incredible artists. I worked in a tattoo shop in London a few years ago (doing tattoo removal) and I just bonded with the guys in the shop. With any piece I start I ask them to design something based on my personality. Aaron Anthony who tattooed my head and arm nailed it front the start. He’s such a dude. And Kieran Williams (@k_ieran) who did my back, he did the whole thing free hands o it sits and flows with my shape. I love him for that! I’ve always had an input with my designs. I usually come up with an idea, tell the guys and they do their magic.
When and how did you decide to get your back and arms patterned?
Siggy Smalls: I started my back tattoo around two or three years ago. It’s been a process only because I wanted it to sit right on me. I think Kieran Williams came up with a design and I just fell in love with it. We changed a few bits and just went for it. Over the years we added more bits, creating from what we had already. It’s just happened without too much thought going into it within placement; a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.
Please tell me you have some crappy, hidden tattoos somewhere?
Siggy Smalls: The kind that has a great story that goes with it, but is embarrassing to the world… [Laughs] My first tattoo! I got it when I was turning 17 years old. My dad took me. He asked what I wanted for my birthday and I wanted a tattoo. I decided to get a design from a book in the shop. It’s a phoenix but I added really crappy “shading” and, of course, the classic stars to it. I have a funny tattoo that makes people laugh: it’s a girl with a really big butt twerking holding a cigarette and wearing Adidas socks. [Laughs] My mate Dicky did it last year; it’s like a prison tattoo. It’s a great icebreaker when I’m at a party!
Are you an original Londoner, or how did you fall into the city?
Siggy Smalls: I am originally from Portsmouth, a small city south east of England. I moved to London when I was 18 years old. It was the scariest thing I’ve done in my life – started from scratch!
And were you a DJ first? How did you get your start?
Siggy Smalls: I started of as a make-up artist working on video shoots and then I got involved in modelling. I met some awesome people and my friend Patrick aka MC Rage from Chase and Status Hooked me up with some decks. I got started as a DJ then fell into radio around the same time.
What is it about music that is so important to you?
Siggy Smalls: For me, music is so important. You can create so much amazing energy, emotions, connecting people. My mum is the main reason I’m into music. She was always playing house music really loud and dancing around the house! I really love her for that!
When I was reading about MEATransMISSION I saw the Radio Rules “No Coldplay, No Beatles, No Bieber… etc. No Exceptions”, it sounds bloody amazing. Tell us more…
Siggy Smalls: [Laughs] Yes, the rules on MEATtransMISSION radio! Yes! I never really questioned why these are the rules… I guess all the DJs and Hosts on the station love a good 4/4 beat, something you can shake a leg too. One of my fav mottos on the station is “It’s not what you say, it’s what’s you play” – we are all about the music.
What music is a must for your current play list?
Siggy Smalls: My musical taste is forever growing and changing, I started off playing disco/house music but I’m really enjoying trap music at the moment. Sometimes all you need is a sick beat to just take you away. My fav artists right now are a few acts: I’m really loving TOKiMONSTA she’s a cool producer from LA and I love the fact she’s a chick killing the game at the moment. She’s in London in June and I can’t waiting see her live. Check her stuff out!
You have such a beautiful, tattoo covered body, but have you ever had any discrimination or issues due to your tattoos?
Siggy Smalls: A few years ago I got turned down for a job for a high-end designer for having a tattoo on my wrist. At the time I didn’t have many visible tattoos. I didn’t get the job because it was near my hand. But now that I have a lot more visible tattoos I can honestly say I get nothing but positive things from strangers. I’ve even had older ladies stopping me on the tube complimenting them! My two nieces love them. When I visit home they always ask to colour my line work in. It’s really relaxing.
Listen to Siggy:
Radio show: www.meattransmission.com every Sunday 16:00-18:00 (UK time) or listen back on Mixcloud: Meattransmission (full swing with siggy_smalls)
Head and arm tattoo: @aaronanthonytattoo