Rapper, charity fundraiser, multi-MOBO Award and Mercury Prize winner, MC and mum, Ms Dynamite is a busy lady. So much so that it takes me a couple of days of increasingly frantic calls to track her down ahead of her forthcoming headline gig at Area Nightclub in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
The words of her most recent single Neva Soft released last year ring true to me as I hang on the phone. ‘All the hype from the anticipation... Never know ‘bout the moves we’ve been making... Best things come to those who been waiting’.
I ask if the lyrics reference her long-awaited third album.
“I don’t want it to come off that I’m the boss, I’m not so egotistical,“ says Ms Dynamite. “Words couldn’t describe the support I get from people and I totally acknowledge that. However, in the same way I can’t put a time limit on when it will be finished as that’s all pressure, and creativity shouldn’t be rushed or pressured. It would be much worse to deliver something rushed at the last hurdle.“ So will she commit to a date for the next single even?
“It’s definitely getting very close but I’ve never committed to a date. The beauty of the position I choose to be in right now is that I don’t function as a record label on a schedule. I’m more in a space and a zone, and more open to how I feel, so I can get the best out of myself musically.“ The Archway-born artist, real name Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley has just turned 31. So what’s her biggest birthday wish?
“Erm, honestly without sounding cheesy or hippyish, I’m happy with everything the way it is. I’m not really a birthday person, it’s just another day and I’m not wishing for anything I don’t have already.“ The years away from the spotlight seem to have done her good. The one-time schoolgirl garage scene sensation, who shot to fame in 2002 with her debut album A Little Deeper, wanted to focus on raising her now eight-year-old son, Shavaar. She produced a second album Judgement Days in 2005. Then she took a break until 2009 when she appeared on Zinc’s Wile Out and Nextmen and Andy Cato’s The Lion’s Den. Last year she guested on Katy B’s huge club tune Lights On. The single and video for Neva Soft came out last summer.
My role in life has been as a big sister to anyone and everybodyMs Dynamite
Since then, she has been juggling motherhood with “writing, recording, working in a studio and performing.
“I always knew that one day I would get back into music. But I really closed the door and focused all my energy on being a mum. I made my choices because I didn’t want Shavaar to have pressure from the decisions I’ve made.“ What does he think of his mum’s music?
“He likes some of it but not other bits. He’s quite opinionated. He loves to sing, rap, play the piano and drums – he’s very musical.“ Children feature a lot in her work too. Niomi has raised funds for Childline, Stars Back Poverty and Children in Need, as well as this latest appointment at the Colosseum’s GOSH fundraiser.
“For me it’s basically feeling like an older sister to anyone and everybody. My role in life has been as a big sister and children are very dear to my heart. Obviously now as a mum, that’s just increased. Children are natural and amazing. The energy, genius, beauty and innocence that children hold needs to be protected.“ Now more dynamo than dynamite, Niomi is heading for a full- on summer of festivals and guest spots.
“It’s non-stop. I looked at my diary yesterday and I don’t think I have a Friday or Saturday night free until November, but I love performing – it’s one of my favourite aspects of what I do.“ And the new album?
“I like to keep my cards close to my chest,“ she laughs but admits she’s probably about two-thirds of the way through the album, which she plans to release on her own label Dynamic Ventures, this summer. Already three tracks are in the mix. The old-school reggae track No More, feelgood pop track Runnin’ and the semi-acoustic ballad Miss, which features a rap from Dynamite and vocal hook from Emeli Sandé.
“At the time I wrote Miss I was becoming a little bit more grown-up. And a little bit more aware that we all have hundreds of different sides to us as individuals. For me, part of being strong or being alright in life is about accepting all of the elements of yourself.“ Also in the line-up for the GOSH fundraiser are DJ Luck and MC Neat, John Kelly, Matt Jam Lamont, Dubba Johnny, Jake Abraham, Ed Case, Jamesie, DJ KGB and Spanish Fly, Champagne Bubblee, Matt Cadman and Sacha Dieu.
Area Nightclub, The Parade, Watford on Friday, May 4 at 8.30pm. Details: 0845 075 3993
Due to unforeseen circumstances the Colosseum is unable to host this event. Area Nightclub has very kindly agreed to host the event to ensure as much money as possible is raised for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.