Ms. Dynamite is an aptly named artist. The 21-year-old English hip hop/R&B diva has taken the U.K. by storm over the last year and a half, proving herself one of the most dynamic new acts on the globe with her first album, A Little Deeper. Final proof of that came when she won this year's coveted British Mercury Music Prize, beating out the likes of superstar David Bowie.
Born Naomi McLean-Daley and raised in North London, Ms. Dynamite started rapping in clubs just for fun when she was 17. "I loved music but it's something that I never thought that I could or should take seriously," she recalls. But then her single "Booo!" helped launch her from the English garage scene to stardom thanks to its infectious beats and her no holds barred observation on violence in the London clubs. With her vocal mix of singing and rapping and tracks that draw from soul, hip-hop and Caribbean music, Ms. Dynamite has a broad appeal. And she is determined to use that as a platform for pointed social commentary.
"I am not here to be a stereotypical feisty young girl that just wants to get up onstage and chat," she says. "I'm actually here with what I believe is something important to say. I think growing up as a young black woman in this big flipping world where there's so much badness going on and all the rest of it, I just wanna give my perspective of life. I guess I'm trying to bring positivity to people and even make light of negative things while encouraging people to think. That's all I'm trying to do is to provoke thought and if that means I have to go and stand at the top of whatever building and scream at the top of my lungs to do so, then I will. I just want people to think more."