Born in Ireland, Biig Piig artist Jessica Smyth is not who you’d imagine to not just be bilingual, but actively sing in English and Spanish. Her style as an artist is intriguing enough, then you hear her segue right into a Spanish verse, and you’re left even more fascinated with her sound. From switching between the two languages, as well as merging different genres of music and pulling from a multi-ethnic mindset, Smyth finds and interesting sector of music for herself that is all her own.
With her newest single, “Cuenta Lo,” she sings almost exclusively in Spanish and accompanies the song with a dark and atmospheric music video. From Goth to Baroque, the music video adds to the song’s ominous and slightly dark tone as the camera moves through a visually stunning bar scene with ominous poker card players who shape shift into glowing eyed demons, distorted imagery and amidst the chaos is Smyth in the middle of it all, seemingly unfazed.
While Smyth uses her past experience as a late night poker dealer as a jumping board for this single, she takes it deeper to explore the dark sides of money, industry and power.
“‘Cuenta Lo’ is an alter-ego-driven song about money, sex and power. The video is based around when I used to be a poker dealer, and it’s about the coldness and greediness that money can bring in all industries…including music,” she notes in a recent interview, “It was definitely the most emotional job I’ve had in my entire life. I must have cried so many times. You’d get guys coming up to you saying, ‘you’ve just lost my month’s wages – thank you very much.’ Other guys would be like, ‘I can now take my child to Disneyland!’ You have to be like the mum of the table – take everything on, take everyone else’s problems on and hold it together.”
Smyth, who learned Spanish at a young age when her family moved to Spain for several years, actually had a hard time reading and writing in English when her family moved back to Ireland. The duality of her English/Spanish past as well as other tumultuous times for the teen who had moved rather suddenly several times as a youth, quickly found its way into her music, something she cultivated when she was stuck at home for several months.
Her musical explorations were furthered after she met other DIY artists in a music technology class in college where she met young musicians who started their own label including Mac Wetha, who co-wrote and produced music with Smyth for quite some time.
Since releasing some of her first songs on SoundCloud back in 2017, Biig Piig has dropped a few albums and many singles. From her poker dealing days as a teenager, her family, to her unconventional Spanish roots, the backdrop for Biig Piig’s music is a vast tapestry of inspiration, style and connection whether it be her own music or collaborations with others.
And now, with a year of self reflection and further growth under her belt, Smyth is refining her voice and finding more space to explore and evolve through her music.
Words: Patti Sanchez