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Oct 28 / Prinza

Ben Sloan’s Chat With “Dynamite”

Niomi McLean-Daley, aka Ms Dynamite, hit the headlines in 2002 when her debut album, A Little Deeper, won her the Mercury Music Prize. Now 24, she has given birth to a son, spoken at an anti-war demonstration in London and performed at Live 8. Her second album, Judgement Days, is out now. Do I call you Ms Dynamite, Dynamite or Niomi?Just Niomi. Never Dynamite.Does anybody call you Ms Dynamite?Oh God, no. Nobody does. [Laughs] That would be awful.If you hadn’t won the Mercury Music Prize, who would you have given it to?I can’t remember who else was on the shortlist. I think there was The Streets, Roots Manuva and Beverley Knight. I think if I had to pick who’d win, I’d have given it to The Streets.Now your brother, rapper Akala, is in the music business, is he coming to you for advice?It’s really nice having him doing the same thing as me. He doesn’t so much ask for advice but he talks to me about what is happening. I love the fact that he’s doing something he loves and that he’s very good at it. I’m really looking forward to us doing stuff together.You’ll record together?Definitely.Have you got other brothers and sisters?Yeah, there are 11 of us.Are they into music too?It’s really strange but they are all artistic in some way. After my brother, the next sister down is more of an actress but then my next brother is an MC and it goes on…You could be like the Jackson Five.Everyone says that – we’ll see how it goes.So has your son Shavaar inherited the musical gene?I think so. He’s very like me – he never stops talking.Are you going to have baby milk and nappies on the rider when you tour?Oh, he knows what he wants: ‘Sweeties, Mummy.’Did you ever feel British music was running away without you while you were taking time off?No, I never really thought that. I was always aware of what was going on.You recently said you used to cut yourself as a teenager living in a hostel. Did you make a conscious decision to mention it?No and that’s not really what I meant either. I wasn’t like these young girls with cuts on their arms. I was talking more on an emotional level – like alcohol abuse, not looking after yourself. But it wasn’t a conscious decision to put that out there.So what you said was misconstrued?Yeah and that happens. Some people are going to hear what they want to hear and journalists have to write something. I understand that – as long as it’s not a barefaced lie or something far from the realms of truth. So to clear that up, you didn’t cut yourself?Not in that way. Not in that sense. When you see young girls who have cut their wrists, it wasn’t like that. It’s about looking after yourself physically, emotionally, using alcohol or other things classed as drugs to escape from your issues.You must get a lot of calls to speak on behalf of different causes. How do you prioritise?Honestly, I’ve got to a point where I try to let other people not so much prioritise for me but make me see issues in black and white, because I care about everything. There’s no way you can choose between speaking for, say, a charity that works with children who are terminally ill, or speaking about Rwanda, or for people who are dying of Aids, or have been raped, or whatever. How can I ever choose? To be honest with you, I don’t know. It’s a combination of various factors but it’s always a really hard choice. Really hard.What’s the most surprising record you own?Hmm. My publicist says Kaiser Chiefs but there must be something other than that.That’s still pretty cool.Oh, you want something cheesy? MC Hammer. I used to really like MC Hammer. I had the baggy trousers and everything. I looked a right idiot.Was that your first record?No, that was Kris Kross. And yes, I did wear my trousers back to front.

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