Dumped, the stalwart manager who guided Mercury Prize-winning British rap star Little Simz to fame

Dumped, the powerful director who led Mercury Award-winning British rap star Little Sims to fame

  • Little Simz won this year’s Mercury Award at Hammersmith Apollo in London
  • The British rap star fired her manager just weeks ago weeks ago
  • Worked with former manager Rob Swerdlow for seven years
  • But she failed to acknowledge it in her acceptance speech earlier this week

The British rap star, who won one of the music industry’s most prestigious awards, fired her longtime manager just weeks ago.

Little Sims was announced this year’s Mercury Prize winner at the star-studded event at Hammersmith Apollo in London last Tuesday.

She told the audience that she was “confused” to accept the award in recognition of her 2021 album Sometimes I May Be an Introvert.

The London-born artist, whose real name is Simbiatu Ajikawo, surprised industry executives by failing to appreciate the role of her longtime manager Rob Swerdlow in her success.

Rob Swerdlow (left) managed Little Sims for seven years.  The British rap star left the manager a few weeks before she won this year's Mercury Award

Rob Swerdlow (left) managed Little Sims for seven years. The British rap star left the manager a few weeks before she won this year’s Mercury Award

The Mail on Sunday understands that Little Sims, 28, ditched Mr Swerdlow – who has run it since 2015 – just weeks ago in a decision his friends say was “utterly disappointing”. One said: “Rob was with her in the trenches when things got tough.

“He was responsible for getting her out of tough times to where she is now. A lot of people hope he gets the recognition he deserves. Rob loved her and I would love to be her manager, so understandably it’s very difficult for him.”

Another executive who attended the award ceremonies added, “After the announcement of Sims’ victory, Rob’s name was the talk of the night.”

Little Sims gives her Hammersmith Apollo speech after winning this year's Mercury Prize

Little Sims gives her Hammersmith Apollo speech after winning this year’s Mercury Prize

Swerdlow was on the star’s side as she signed a publishing deal with Universal. Despite receiving a BRIT Award for Best New Artist that year, Sims struggled for success for years.

In an interview just last month, she described Swerdlow as “knowledgeable” and “open to new ideas”.

In the same interview with Music Week, Mr. Swerdlow, who leads the indie band The Kooks, praised the rapper, saying, “You rarely get an artist who can work and stand up in a world music space that is smart and culturally relevant 100 percent for independence… Sims don’t bargain

However, he no longer appears on the website of his company Starwood Management.

Swerdlow declined to comment. Simz representatives have been asked for comment.

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