Wednesday, 10 November 2004

New Lady Sovereign biog

She’s the self proclaimed white midget with a barely there 5’1 frame. The alternative microphone vandal her witty lyrics hit like left hooks to the proverbial face, subject matter dashing between flirtations with McDonalds, smoking hash and swigging Pernod. With a moniker that reflects her love of cheap cigarettes and pikey jewellery, Lady Sovereign is a random, cheeky, outspoken teen that no one in their right mind would want living next door to them. Well tough shit, she does.

Hailing from the Chalkhill Estate in Wembley, this 18 year old girl is already bouting with the best of them. Despite having only just signed her record deal, Sovereign has already supported Basement Jaxx on their Grolsch Summer Sets (including the massive Somerset House gig), Obie Trice, Dizzee Rascal, D12 and The Streets on UK tour dates. It’s no surprise then that alongside the estates of Britain, fans also voicing approval include Mike Skinner, Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley. This summer has seen Sovereign promote a message of inter-racial tolerance and harmony at a number of festivals and events such as Respect, Love Music Hate Racism, the Lord Mayors Urban Show and Euro Social Forum. Where many established artists battle for such prestigious slots, it’s undoubtedly her fresh, energetic and undeniably enthralling stage show that’s putting her a top of promoters wish lists. The Lady Sovereign school of thought is working in a world of mass, over produced pop fodder.

Her genre defying appeal is easily understood. Bang some pots and pans together and Sovereign will ride it. A product of 90’s youth culture, her music’s the curent sound of inner city estates, obvious influence taken from popular dance movements such as grime, garage and jungle while also embracing ragga, hip hop, R&B, hardcore, country and western. Amongst her eclectic collection you may even find Tracy Chapman, Charles and Eddy or Ace of Base. Other current favorites include Wiley, Dizzee, Stush, Taz, Missy Elliott and Outkast - anyone who’s braving it and doing their own thing.

Sovereign has graced the pages of magazine and newspapers including NME, The Face, Touch, Time Out, B&S, The Telegraph, Evening Standard and The Guardian. Further underlying her status, her website has proved very popular, since launched in July while her profile on has already garnered 80,000 hits.

Yet the support hasn’t always been there. Inspired by Ms Dynamite, dedicated Mac FM listener, Lady Sovereign, then 14, decided to put pen to paper. When she started trying to get herself heard on internet sites the chorus of disapproval was more than evident. Her first feature in a 2002 edition of Touch magazine met with a blaze of hate mail, but Sovereign used this battle field as a training ground and is now confident that she can send home challengers and weak opponents in a lyrical body bag.

Alongside her DJ, Frampster (who she met on the So Solid forums), they formed the HLD (Heavy Like Dat) Family. A week after forming they played their first set at Brixton haunt, Orange. While the crew was only short lived, it allowed her to put in the much needed practice hours on pirate radio and in bedroom sessions at her humble council dwelling. Having left school early and with no qualifications, selling doughnuts and telesales didn’t work out and her attempt at shifting windows was a disaster. After three weeks and not one sale a career in dossing and filling up her note books with sharp 16’s seemed the only option until her dad suggested acting. A point in the right direction from welfare officers saw Sovereign packed off to drama class where she won the lead part in an educational film and a chance to record for the soundtrack. Through a friend of a friend, the demo landed in producer Medasyns lap and things haven’t been the same since.

By the summer of 2003 her first collaboration, “The Battle” produced by Medasyn featuring Sovereign, Shystie, Frost P and Zus Rock was signed to Casual Records. Her first solo outing, “Little Bit of Shhh!” followed in June 2004 on white label and Casual Records then released, “Ch Ching”, a reworking of Sunship's garage classic “Cheque One Two”. Both tracks, despite their limited vinyl release, received widespread support from the underground to the suburbs and beyond, “Ch Ching” getting played on every Radio 1 specialist show and “Little Bit of Shhh!” going on to be playlisted at 1Xtra in addition to being one of the most requested videos on Channel U. A cameo performance on The Streets “Fit But You Know It” remix (679 Recordings) alongside Donae’o, Kano and Tinchy Stryder also followed similar suit, garnering critical acclaim.

Touring aside, Sovereign is recording tracks for her debut album due for release in spring 2005. Apart from her self-produced material, producers aiding and abetting already include Medasyn, Target & Danny Weed (Roll Deep), Menta (Daniel Bedingfield, Ms Dynamite) and Wonder (Dizzee Rascal) with potential collaborations coming from Mike Skinner (The Streets) and Basement Jaxx. In the meantime more food for thought will be provided when Sovereigns latest outing, “Random” gets released in January 2005 on Casual Records.

Regardless of gender or generation, you can be assured that Sovereign’s the queen set to reign supreme.

Words: Chantelle Fiddy

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