This young woman has built her way up from nothing, from dropping out of school, from selling donuts and double-glazed windows to making a slew of world tastemakers (from production collaborators Basement Jaxx to Missy Elliot and Jay-Z) take note of a random, cheeky, and undeniably charismatic talent. Now it's time for America to make way for the Ess-Oh-Vee, otherwise known as Lady Sovereign.
Even for many substantial and popular UK artists, trans-Atlantic success can be elusive. But Lady Sovereign, the self-proclaimed "big midget" born Louise Harman in a rough part of Wembley, England (Chalkhill Estate, to be precise) has hit that relatable note far beyond her origins with her personality and honest skills. She has attracted an almost deafening Stateside buzz before releasing even a note of music in the U.S. -- or turning 21.
Turns out, that buzz extended past the likely suspects who celebrate British culture into something else entirely. In August of 2005, she was flown out to New York to meet with Jay-Z, LA Reid, and Usher, and will now release her debut album in spring 2006 on the Island Def Jam Music Group.
Lady Sovereign expresses a unique perspective of youth culture that's previously been a hidden voice. An MC, lyricist, and producer, she's the alternative microphone vandal with lyrics that hit like left and right hooks, whether subjects are light or weighty.
She's also product of '90s youth culture and technology. Internet forums and the influence of discerning music blogs greatly helped to solidify her early popularity and attract intense media interest, even prior to releasing any songs. (It was through the Internet where she first offered her first rhymes at age 14 and met her longtime DJ, Frampster.)
Her music sees the current sound of inner city estates blending with an experimental melting pot of influence. From grime, garage, and jungle to ragga, hip-hop, R&B, hardcore, ska and punk, she embraces it all and makes it her own. Amongst her eclectic collection you may even find Tracy Chapman, Charles and Eddy, or Ace of Base. Other current favorites include Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani, OutKast, and Bloc Party -- anyone who's braving it and doing their own thing.