Ms Dynamite – Artist Information | The Camden Crawl 2012

The Live8 concert in Hyde Park in July saw Ms Dynamite return to the stage after a two-year absence. She had vanished from the public eye at the height of her new-found fame. Her priorities had suddenly changed leading her to place her music career on hold. She gave birth to her son, Shavaar, in July 2003. When she hit the pause button, Ms Dynamite had been famous for less than a year. Yet in that time her rise from underground MC to the princess of British Black Music had been sensational. Britain had never seen the like. She was sharp, talented, original, charming, streetwise, outspoken and opinionated. She was young, black woman, had something to say – and had the tunes to back it up. She exploded into the national consciousness like a pocket-sized supernova. More accolades followed her Mercury triumph. In October 2002 Dynamite landed three MOBOs – for Best single, Best Newcomer and UK Act of the Year – at a ceremony where no other artist won more than one. Next came two BRIT Awards, for Best British Female Artist and Best Urban Act. After a one-year sabbatical with her newborn Shavaar, Dynamite began to write her second album in summer 2004. She flew to Los Angeles to record with hip hop producer Chink Santana (best known for his work with Ja Rule and Ashanti). “He is just madly multi-talented – he can sing, rap, play instruments, everything! There was a musical connection straight away.” Dynamite hooked up again with Chink in Miami, where she also collaborated with Jamaican dancehall legend Stephen ‘Lenky’ Marsden (nominated in 2003 for Producer of The Year at the US Billboard Music Awards, alongside the Neptunes, R Kelly and Timbaland) and up-and-coming Miami producer Wayne The Brain. Back in Europe she flew to Sweden to work with Christian Karlsson, aka Bloodshy, hitmaker for Britney Spears and to Ireland for sessions with Reza Safinia, who has worked with Britney and Kylie. Artists she collaborated with included Southern rapper Lil’ Wayne (from the Cash Money crew), fast-rising Jamaican dancehall MC Assassin, Chink Santana (with his MC hat on) and UK MC Sincere – a hot name to watch. The result is Ms Dynamite’s long-awaited second album, Judgement Days. She conceived of the title (Judgement Day is also the title of the first single to be taken from it) after a late-night conversation with Chink about “life, the things we see, the things we’ve been through”. “I’m not a particularly religious person, but the concept of judgement day has played on my mind in the past. You’re supposed to be judged on your day of dying. But I feel that where we go wrong as human beings is that we feel we’re only going to be judged on this one day. But I think every single day of our lives, every situation, every conversation, every action, every relationship is part of our judgement day. It’s not just about the final day; it’s about all the days that build up to that day and the fact that God whoever he or she may be is watching over us at all times.” A little bit older, wiser, a celebrity and a mother, too, a lot has changed for 24-year-old Niomi Daley. “I definitely feel less angry and more at ease and at peace with myself. I had a load of issues I hadn’t really dealt with before my first album – and then the music came along and I didn’t really need to face them. I definitely needed to slow down, and I feel like I’m at the other end of a tunnel now.” Though Niomi Daley may have mellowed, fans will soon hear that her alter-ego Ms Dynamite still isn’t pulling any punches. Topics on Judgement Days include gun crime, the decline of UK clubland and absent fathers. Love is a theme, too: both adult relationships and teenage crushes. “When you’re an adult, love enters this zone where things get complicated. Whereas when you’re a child and you think you’re in love, it’s just a smile. It doesn’t go any further or deeper than that. On one track, Back Then, it’s just saying, just take me back to then when it was all so simple.”