Creative Soccer Culture

Tiggs Da Author Talks Music, Football & Falling In Love With Man United

A Tanzanian-born, London-bred Manchester United fan. Ticks a lot of the boxes for people screaming about plastic fandom. But when you’re a young boy growing up in Africa and you love football, the local choices are limited. And so it was that for Tiggs Da Author who had free reign to fall in love with Eric Cantona and the Red Devils.

Having moved from Tanzania to London at the age of eight, Tiggs’ devotion to United was already set. Playing to a reasonable standard for Gravesend and Northfleet player (now known as Ebbsfleet United), Tiggs had to make the decision between football and his other passion: music. It was the latter that won out, but his love for the beautiful game never went away, and following the launch of his long-awaited mixtape ‘MOREFIRE’, in which the rapper, singer, songwriter and producer teams up with some of the best of British, including fellow United fan Not3s, NSG, Nafe Smallz, K-Trap and Blade Brown, we caught up with him to talk about his younger years in Tanzania, how his love for United began, and his choice of music over football.

Can we head back to the beginning. When did football first enter your world?

I can remember playing football for as long as I can remember [laughs]. Like from when I could run I was playing football so, like, a very early age.

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Can you tell us about your early years in Tanzania. Can you remember playing football over there?

Yes, I grew up in Tanzania and would play football with my friends after school. Yeah, they love it over there, much like anywhere I guess. I feel like it’s a universal language and it’s how people can connect even if they can’t speak to each other. They can feel unity. 

Man Utd are obviously massive around the world – did you have much of a choice over who you supported?

Yes, I could've supported anyone but I just loved Eric Cantona when I was a kid so he was inspirational in making me fall in love with United. So yeah, Cantona was my hero growing up. But I also liked Schmeichel and Fergie. I wasn't really watching live games at that age but I had a video tape of Man United 100 greatest goals so was seeing them banging in mad goals. 

Moving to the UK, getting into the world of Pirate Radio – can you tell us about that and what made it so appealing?

For me it felt like the only way for people to get their voices heard because it was unusual to be on daytime radio unless you were making pop music for example. So, it was a perfect platform for us to be unapologetic, raw and without compromising the sound. 

You got to a good standard of football – was there a fork in the road moment where you followed one passion over the other?

Yeah, when I reached a certain age my passion for music probably overtook and I started focussing more on that. 

I could've supported anyone but I just loved Eric Cantona when I was a kid so he was inspirational in making me fall in love with United"
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You probably get to be a little more free through music than the demands of a football players lifestyle but do you see similarities between both professions?

Yeah, both take a lot of hard work and dedication so yes of course there are similarities but in terms of physical requirements is obviously different. 

Tell us about your music now – like anyone your inspirations change over time but how would you describe your mindset and output?

It’s all about getting across the right message so each body of work has its own message and it’s about getting that message out to as many people as possible. 

You’ve been on the FIFA soundtrack before – what did that do for your career?

Just growing up and being a huge football fan, it was a dream to get my song on FIFA and showed me what’s possible and inspired me to carry on making new music. Hitting those types of heights definitely just made me more hungry.

What have been your proudest moments to date would you say?

I’m just proud of everything I've done so far. All the music I've put out and grateful for all the opportunities I've had. 

How tough is the music industry and breaking through? What have you learnt over the last few years with that in mind?

Every industry is tough, but you just need to be relentless and thick skinned but most importantly you have to love what you do and believe in yourself. So now I’m just gonna keep on putting out music and great bodies of work and see what the future has in store for me.

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What would your equivalent of playing in a World Cup final be?

There is no equivalent to that haha! But I guess in music it would be something like being nominated for a Grammy record of the year.

Tiggs Da Author's mixtape 'MOREFIRE' is available to purchase and stream here.

Daniel Jones

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