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Oct 4 / Prinza

Ms Dynamite Interview – New album on the way!

In 2002 Ms Dynamite was massive. Winning the Mercury Prize with her debut album, A Little Deeper, as well as two Brits and three MOBOs, she had quickly become one of the most talked about and respected female artists of the time.

With her first hit single ‘It Takes More’ and its infectious follow up, the anthemic signature song ‘Dy-na-mi-tee’, dominating the charts that year, it seemed like Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley could do no wrong. Not only did she have enormous commercial success, but – crucially – she was recognised as an artists who was able to write songs with a moral or political message, something incredibly rare in pop.

As all of us know, though, that the music industry is fickle. And, having taken time off from recording to have a baby, Ms Dynamite’s second album, Judgement Days, didn’t do nearly so well when it was released in 2005 to a public and a musical landscape that had moved on. This, followed by a stint of community service for a brawl outside a nightclub in 2006, saw the singer disappear almost entirely from the public eye – only cropping up in reality TV such as Hell’s Kitchen from time to time.

Her inclusion on the bill for Clapham Common’s dance and urban festival this month, South West Four, though, might just spell a return for the north Londoner. And news that she’s working on a new album (though she’s not giving much away about how it’s gonna sound) means that 2011 might be the year for a dyna-mighty comeback. We caught up with Ms Dynamite on the way to the studio…

Yo! How’s it going? What you been up to? 
I’m very good, thank you! I’ve been writing, recording, doing shows, meeting producers and possible collaborators, etc! 

Where are you right now?
In a car on the way to the studio. I can see Mr C’s yard food shop (belly rumbles lol)…

Are you looking forward to SW4?
I am really looking forward to SW4, its gonna be great! I’ve been doing quite a few recently!

Are you seeing this as a bit of a ‘come back’ gig?
Yes and No. Yes, because obviously I’ve been away for a very long time and a lot has changed in the industry! And no, because music is a part of who I am and what will be will be!

Is there a new album on the way?
I am working on new material and yes, there is a new album on its way. I’m not going to say much about it. So far so good, I’m happy with what’s coming out!

What sort of stuff are you talking about on the new record?
It’s very varied but, again, I wouldn’t like to say as I am not yet finished and don’t know for sure exactly what I will and won’t use.

You’ve always had a moral/political content to your songs. Do you think there’s a lack of people writing songs about issues that matter at the moment?
I’m not sure there is a lack of people writing songs with a level of social consciousness. I could name many artists with a ‘message’… Unfortunately these are not artist you are likely to see if you switch on your TV or mainstream radio right now, you have to look a little harder to find these artists.

What do you think of the explosion of electro femme-pop in recent years… Little Boots, La Roux, Ladyhawke, etc?
I may be mistaken but I don’t think women have (ever) had a significantly huge problem in the ‘electro-pop’ arena. Nevertheless, it’s good to see females expressing themselves!

The second album didn’t do nearly so well as the first… What do you think were the reasons for that?
It depends on what we define as ‘well’? On a ‘sales’, ‘media attention’ level it was a complete flop. LOL! And there were many, many contributing factors to this. On a personal level it gave me a second to stop and decide what I really wanted to do at that time, and that was stay at home with my baby, so it actually worked out for the best to an extent that you couldn’t imagine.

How do you think you have changed as an artist since you first exploded onto the scene in 2001/2002?
I’m older now so supposedly wiser, a mum now so definitely calmer, and have experience now so am undoubtedly 100 per cent comfortable with who I am as an artist and with what I do!

And how do you think the industry has changed?
To be honest it kinda seems like everything has changed, the boundaries and goal posts are ever moving!

What’s coming up in the future?
More shows, more energy, more music!

Upcoming Ms Dynamite live shows:

29 August @ SW4, Clapham Common, London

by Michael Wylie-Harris, first published in LondonTourdates #064 ,13th August 2010

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