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Aug 12 / Prinza

The reincarnation of Ms Dynamite

Ms Dynamite is back, packing out tents on the festival trail and preparing her first album in six years.

 

With a new single ‘Neva Soft’ due late July and a gig at Relentless Energy NASS this weekend, we catch up with the North London R&B star after a triumphant Glastonbury show to talk motherhood, festival fans and her Twitter addiction.

Ms Dynamite’s late night slot in Glastonbury’s Dance Village saw the heaving tent locked down by security but those lucky to make it inside (plus those glued by the mud just outside) witnessed chaos as the singer returned to her fans after a spell away with favourites ‘Dy-na-mi-tee’ and ‘It Takes More’.

“There were people who definitely couldn’t see inside the tent, but there still were the ones who tried to get a bit of vibe and energy. I haven’t seen it like this for a long, long time. It was really cool,” she says with a sense of modest satisfaction.

With a number of festival shows booked over the summer including Bestival and Lovebox, the rapper is relishing the outdoor atmosphere again. “There’s definitely a difference between club performance and festival performances. I think that people come to a club to have a good time but they have a bit more ego,” she says, “but it’s with the element of darkness, they are hidden.

“When I did Rockness it was bright sunshine, and some people were really liberated and letting go in the daylight and feeling free, in touch with themselves and with music. I enjoyed it.”

Things have changed somewhat since her rapid rise to fame on the back of her first album ‘A Little Deeper’ for which she won the Mercury Music Prize. “I’m quite a private person, so it took me a long time to get used to people just being in my face all the time, knowing how to deal with that in a really mature and positive way,” she reminisces. “I think there’s something about being a mum, but I’ve always been this person and I just deal with whatever comes.”

“You gotta deal with it,” she offers as if providing therapy for VF, “or you just sit down all sorry for yourself, don’t go out, don’t change the world and you die.”

Much has changed since MS Dynamite took a break to become a mother, including the dubstep takeover, which has turned what used to be dubbed ‘urban music’ onto its head. Instead of being phased by the changes, she’s embraced them. “Music comes from underground, it’s been born in someone’s bedroom and then it gets to the club and then it goes crazy in the underground and then it becomes mainstream,” she says, “you can trace that back to drum and bass.”

“It’s nice to be amongst the creators of dub step and watch them grow,” she adds, a nod to her work with the likes of Magnetic Man.

She is enthusiastic about new music and about new talent too, with two new female artists in particular catching her eye, “I really like Yasmin and Emeli Sande. She is just amazing, she’s got an amazing voice and I just had a pleasure of working with her. These two young women, I think they are amazing.”

Although new talent may be thriving at the present, MS Dynamite was disappointed to hear that the WAC performing arts college she attended in Camden may close after losing funding: “I’m hoping that the decision isn’t final, and it’s important to stay focused on a solution, because it’s a kind of thing that none of us will agree on or be happy about.

“It’s sad to know that it will directly affect our children and the way they can express themselves. Music is one of the best things on the planet. It can help them to grow in positive ways, it can stretch them.”

Since her break, the emergence of social media has changed the way artists communicate with their fanbase; MS Dynamite sees this, as almost everything, as a positive thing. “I’m a twitter addict,” she admits, “but I think it’s great that an artist’s mystique is broken down because artists are just normal people like everyone else and I think it’s good for young people to grow up knowing there’s no difference between me and them.

“I wouldn’t have the career I do without the people that support me. I might not have to time to answer every tweet but it’s the least I can do to communicate with those people that help put me in the position I’m in.”

Time off has given MS Dynamite a period of reflection too, returning with an assured outlook on her life and career: “To me, my success is based on how I feel and not on how other people feel,” she says, “My life is my own. So, to me success is about having your level of happiness.”

“I basically just do what needs to be done to keep me happy, which keeps my home happy, which keeps my entire life happy and that’s it.”

Ms Dynamite’s new single Neva Soft is due out 18 July with an album expected, “probably in the new year.”

In the mean time you can catch her this summer at Relentless NASS 2011, Lovebox, Camp Bestival, Boomtown Fair, Global Gathering and Brownstock Festival.

 Photographer:Sam Brill | by Daniel Fahey, Daniel Lomas | 06 July 2011

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