She may have lost her favourite ring, but Lady Sovereign's still got a lot to be smiling about...
“My last ring slipped off my skinny finger like the rest of them, but when I find the time I’m getting my personalised Sovereign sorted.” Let’s hope that nineteen year old Lady Sovereign gets a day off soon then. While last year might have been busy, that's going to be nothing given what's already lined up for her in 2006. Just before Christmas, a deal with Island Universal already in the bag and hard at work on her debut album, Public Warning, something unprecedented happened. Following an impromptu performance in the USA, Jay-Z called her management. "It was, well it still is surreal. These are people I've grown up listening to after all" Ess-Oh-Vee told Touch over her favourite tipple, Pernod and lemonade. A meeting and freestyle for Jigga, Usher, LA Reid and the family tree later, she bagged a deal with the Def Jam imprint, La Familia where label mates now include Noreaga and hotly tipped rapper Aztek Escobar. Since then there's been the UK tour, accompanied by both a DJ and full band, followed by an even grander scale sell-out tour of the USA. And it’s not just paying punters who are showing their support for her unique lyrical prowess. Industry faces spotted in the rafters range from the Eski-boy Wiley and R&B princess Christina Milian to actor Jamie Kennedy and reggae great Damian Marley. Sovereigns ability to defy genre is no doubt what’s generating her ever-diverse fan base. “I don’t think the record labels can quite work me out, no one’s quite sure where I fit In but I can’t do anything about that. I can’t say to you ‘I’m hip hop’, ‘I’m grime’, ‘I’m alternative’ cause I’m just me and I’ve never been scared of what people might think of how I experiment with my music.” Confusion may be the case but her debut release on Chocolate Industries in the States, the Vertically Challenged EP (which includes a remix of Little Bit Of Shhh! by the Beastie Boys Ad Roc), is riding high in the college charts, selling out of it’s limited 25,000 vinyl run as well as earning her a two page spread in the prestigious Rolling Stone Magazine. Despite the now endless options open to her, musically speaking, Sovereign’s keen to stick to her original plans (although a record company source has confirmed there’s a date with The Neptunes in the diary). “I’m supposed to be working with Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) but we’ll see what happens cause I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself, I don’t want to freak out.” There’s already tracks delivered (for the album, now due out early Summer) from Basement Jaxx, Menta and right hand man Medasyn. Following the success of remixes such as ‘Hoodie’, she’s also keeping it real in the UK and getting back in the studio to work with Mizz Beats, Skepta and JME. “I used to get caught up in all that selling-out hype but my experiences are giving me a better understanding and I know how much work it takes to break through. I want other people to share these experiences that’s why wherever I go I’ll try take the scene through too. I’m waiting for JME to drop me off a load of mixtapes to hand out, rags, when I go away next.” And she’s not going to be leaving her hometown either. “Put it this way, I’ve thought about it but I don’t like the food in America. I’d miss things like cottage pie and cheese & onion pasties too much, plus I’m going to be an auntie soon and if anyone’s going to spoil that baby, it’s going to be me.”
Words/Pic: Chantelle Fiddy. A version of this article appeared in Touch Magazine 2006.
Ch-Ching XXXChange Remix
"Adidas Hoodie Remix" feat. Mizz Beats, Skepta, JME, Ears, Jammer & Baby Blue
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