Self-proclaimed â€˜Midget MCâ€™ Lady Sovereign recently hopped the pond to hang out in New York. She made some waves while in Manhattan, strutting her stuff on the red carpet at Paper Magazineâ€™s annual Beautiful People Party and, more importantly, breaking it down at the Tribeca Grand for her official record release show. The London-based spitfire cutie-pie commanded an enamored crowd, singing a mini-set of six songs, from both her recent and previous albums. Onlookers spied a new addition: a new tattoo of a digital clock set to 11:11.
Aside from this recent change, things have been status quo for Lady Sovereign. Since her February Pianos performance, her first live gig in over a year and a half, Sov has been promoting her sophomore album Jigsaw. But this 23-year-old demon-on-the-mic doesnâ€™t care what you think: whether you dig her disc or not, youâ€™ll love her in person.
“Me as a performer, Iâ€™m fucking amazing. I give it my all.”
Format: Whatâ€™s new since the last time we talked?
Lady Sovereign: I donâ€™t even know. Whatâ€™s new? Not much. Just droppinâ€™ the album. Just been working hard and promoting stuff.
Format: Have you read any of the reviews yet?
Lady Sovereign: Yeah, Iâ€™ve read some reviews. I kind of google myself every day now, love. Itâ€™s been mixed. Some things have been pretty harsh. But, whatever. Iâ€™m kind of over reading bad reviews. I kind of half expect it anyway. So, whatever.
Format: The Independent was negative about the album. They called it â€œlippy, dimwit banter.â€
Lady Sovereign: Thatâ€™s good! I kind of like that, actually. I like the word â€œbanter.â€ Banterâ€™s a good thing. If I read that, Iâ€™d be like, â€˜whatever.â€™ Itâ€™s not bad. Itâ€™s not excruciating.
Format: It could be worse. It could be no one was talking about you.
Lady Sovereign: Yeah, it could. Like, â€˜Oh, sheâ€™s a pile of shit. Letâ€™s give her one star for her album.â€™
Format: I especially like â€œJigsawâ€ and â€œI Got You Dancing.â€ And I like â€œFood Play.â€ What inspired that? Kind of reminds me of Flight Of The Conchords, in some respects.
Lady Sovereign: I actually wrote that song years ago. I finished it off. At the time, I was sort of seeing someone and I would always make jokes and fun about food and all that shit. Itâ€™s really weird actually; thatâ€™s my momâ€™s favorite song on the album, which I find really weird.
Lady Sovereign: Sheâ€™s like, â€œOh, Lou, my favorite song is â€˜Food Play!â€™â€ and Iâ€™m like, ‘What?’ Whatever tickles your fancy.
Format: Do you put the lyrics together before the beats go down?
Lady Sovereign: Itâ€™s mixed. Sometimes I have things in my head; Iâ€™ll go in the studio, Iâ€™ll sit there. My producer, Medasyn, and I will sit there and work on beats and then Iâ€™ll put something down, and then we work more on the beat. Iâ€™ll work more on what Iâ€™m doing. Itâ€™s kind of give and take, really.
Format: How long are you touring until?
Lady Sovereign: I do a month in America, a little over two weeks in the UK. Not that long, to be honest. I do a lot of festivals this year. But, nothingâ€™s intensely intense.
Format: Speaking of festivals, whatever happened with Perez Hilton? What went down during South by Southwest?
Lady Sovereign: [Laughs] I went out to Austin to do South by Southwest. I had four shows lined up. I did two. My second show, I went for it. It was a really fucking good show. I made everyone else look like rookies. No offense. Everyone did great, but I really went for it. I woke up the next morning and my voice was gone. To the point I couldnâ€™t even whisper. Then, I had a party to do. Iâ€™m always going to try. I donâ€™t like letting people down. The whole place was full up. I go onstage. I try to perform. I gave up after, like, half a song. I couldnâ€™t even whisper. My voice was fucked. So, I tried to remedy myself. I rang up Perez. I was like, â€œListen, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m going to be able to do your party.â€ Heâ€™s like, â€œOkay, fine, fair enough. Just let me know.â€
So, I went there later and he came backstage and I couldnâ€™t even whisper. Heâ€™s like, â€œWhy donâ€™t you just lip-sync?â€ Iâ€™m like, â€œUh, I donâ€™t do that.â€ Thatâ€™s not in my nature to do. So, we left it at that. Then, I left because I was really sick and they would have just looked stupid with me there, partying it up. The next morning, I hear that he got onstage and called me a cunt about fifty times and before any artist he introduced, he said, â€˜Hereâ€™s some real talent, not like that cunt Lady Sovereign.â€™ I didnâ€™t deserve that; I went there, I showed face, I tried to be nice about it. He knew I couldnâ€™t perform and was being a dickhead. I hadnâ€™t done anything wrong to deserve that kind of shit. Iâ€™m over it now. He still has arguments on Twitter. Whatever, heâ€™s an asshole.
Format: So, whatâ€™s going on with Midget Records? I understand that right now itâ€™s just you. Are you looking into any other artists that you might be signing to bring on?
Lady Sovereign: I havenâ€™t seen anyone yet that Iâ€™m really excited about. But Iâ€™m sure someone will come along. But, right now, I just need to focus on me. [I need to] create a platform for myself and a platform for me to be able to put out an artist in a good way.
Format: Letâ€™s talk Auto-Tune.
Lady Sovereign: I only use it on two tracks; â€œI Got You Dancinâ€™â€ and â€œSo Human.â€ I didnâ€™t really use it that much. Iâ€™ll play around with it again, but Iâ€™ll use it in a way that I feel is acceptable to me. Iâ€™m not gonna do a whole album. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve got that bad of a voice. Itâ€™s fun to play with, to be honest. Itâ€™s great.
Format: So, what are the main differences between Public Warning and Jigsaw?
Lady Sovereign: I didnâ€™t go out of my way to try and make anything different; I just kind of approached making an album in the way Iâ€™d approach it: me getting into the studio making music. Iâ€™m just gonna have fun with it and Iâ€™m always gonna be honest and do things that I enjoy. Itâ€™s just a natural progression.
Format: You definitely tried out singing on this one, thatâ€™s a difference.
Lady Sovereign: Yeah. And Iâ€™m definitely going to produce stuff on the next one. Properly bring all the ideas I have. Iâ€™ve got hundreds of beats I donâ€™t show to anyone. I wanna get these ideas finished off and actually get credit for it. A bit frightening. Iâ€™ll try some more singing, probably, but itâ€™s too early to talk about all that. Itâ€™s a bit exciting.
Format: Going way back in time, what was it like going on that date with the guy in San Francisco who raised $10,000? How flattering!
Lady Sovereign: It was flattering, but it was a bit ridiculous because he raised all this money and he didnâ€™t approach it in the right way; he didnâ€™t think about me enjoying myself. I think he was thinking more about himself because he hired out this big yacht and he wouldnâ€™t let anyone on it. There was space for a good fifty other people.
Format: What inspired you to do a different take on The Cureâ€™s â€œClose to Me.â€
Lady Sovereign: I just liked the song. On their version, the intro goes on for about forty seconds and Iâ€™d always rap over that bit, because it was just an instrumental bit, until theyâ€™d start singing on it. But, I just liked it and then, I figured, okay, let me sing to it, and that was it. Itâ€™s only a sample, but it felt right, so I did it.
Format: Anything youâ€™d like to add?
Lady Sovereign: Not really. Just go buy my album please. No, not â€œplease.â€ Itâ€™s out. Itâ€™s about. If youâ€™re not going to buy this one, buy the first one. Experience Sovereign and donâ€™t be afraid of it.
Format: What should people expect from a live performance when they come out to see you?
Lady Sovereign: I think a lot of people dismiss me before theyâ€™ve even had a chance to see me live, and thatâ€™s where people go wrong. Me as a performer, Iâ€™m fucking amazing. I give it my all. I say what I need to say. I completely go for it. In May, Iâ€™ll be back on the road with my drummer. His name is RJ. I havenâ€™t been on the road with a band member for ages. That always adds a lot to my shows. So, if youâ€™ve caught a show lately, it would have just been me and my DJ, but now Iâ€™m going back to instruments, so this should be even more crazy. I just really go for it.
More Info: www.ladysovereign.com.