Lady Sovereign

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Self-proclaimed ‘Midget MC’ 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 Magazine’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 doesn’t care what you think: whether you dig her disc or not, you’ll love her in person.

“Me as a performer, I’m fucking amazing. I give it my all.”

Format: What’s new since the last time we talked?
Lady Sovereign: I don’t even know. What’s new? Not much. Just droppin’ the album. Just been working hard and promoting stuff.

Format: Have you read any of the reviews yet?
Lady Sovereign: Yeah, I’ve read some reviews. I kind of google myself every day now, love. It’s been mixed. Some things have been pretty harsh. But, whatever. I’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 “lippy, dimwit banter.”
Lady Sovereign: That’s good! I kind of like that, actually. I like the word “banter.” Banter’s a good thing. If I read that, I’d be like, ‘whatever.’ It’s not bad. It’s not excruciating.

Format: It could be worse. It could be no one was talking about you.
Lady Sovereign: Yeah, it could. Like, ‘Oh, she’s a pile of shit. Let’s give her one star for her album.’

Format: I especially like “Jigsaw” and “I Got You Dancing.” And I like “Food Play.” 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. It’s really weird actually; that’s my mom’s favorite song on the album, which I find really weird.

Format: Disturbing!
Lady Sovereign: She’s like, “Oh, Lou, my favorite song is ‘Food Play!’” and I’m like, ‘What?’ Whatever tickles your fancy.

Format: Do you put the lyrics together before the beats go down?
Lady Sovereign: It’s mixed. Sometimes I have things in my head; I’ll go in the studio, I’ll sit there. My producer, Medasyn, and I will sit there and work on beats and then I’ll put something down, and then we work more on the beat. I’ll work more on what I’m doing. It’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, nothing’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 couldn’t even whisper. Then, I had a party to do. I’m always going to try. I don’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 couldn’t even whisper. My voice was fucked. So, I tried to remedy myself. I rang up Perez. I was like, “Listen, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do your party.” He’s like, “Okay, fine, fair enough. Just let me know.”

So, I went there later and he came backstage and I couldn’t even whisper. He’s like, “Why don’t you just lip-sync?” I’m like, “Uh, I don’t do that.” That’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, ‘Here’s some real talent, not like that cunt Lady Sovereign.’ I didn’t deserve that; I went there, I showed face, I tried to be nice about it. He knew I couldn’t perform and was being a dickhead. I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve that kind of shit. I’m over it now. He still has arguments on Twitter. Whatever, he’s an asshole.

Format: So, what’s going on with Midget Records? I understand that right now it’s just you. Are you looking into any other artists that you might be signing to bring on?
Lady Sovereign: I haven’t seen anyone yet that I’m really excited about. But I’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: Let’s talk Auto-Tune.
Lady Sovereign: I only use it on two tracks; “I Got You Dancin’” and “So Human.” I didn’t really use it that much. I’ll play around with it again, but I’ll use it in a way that I feel is acceptable to me. I’m not gonna do a whole album. I don’t think I’ve got that bad of a voice. It’s fun to play with, to be honest. It’s great.

Format: So, what are the main differences between Public Warning and Jigsaw?
Lady Sovereign: I didn’t go out of my way to try and make anything different; I just kind of approached making an album in the way I’d approach it: me getting into the studio making music. I’m just gonna have fun with it and I’m always gonna be honest and do things that I enjoy. It’s just a natural progression.

Format: You definitely tried out singing on this one, that’s a difference.
Lady Sovereign: Yeah. And I’m definitely going to produce stuff on the next one. Properly bring all the ideas I have. I’ve got hundreds of beats I don’t show to anyone. I wanna get these ideas finished off and actually get credit for it. A bit frightening. I’ll try some more singing, probably, but it’s too early to talk about all that. It’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 didn’t approach it in the right way; he didn’t think about me enjoying myself. I think he was thinking more about himself because he hired out this big yacht and he wouldn’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 Cure’s “Close to Me.”
Lady Sovereign: I just liked the song. On their version, the intro goes on for about forty seconds and I’d always rap over that bit, because it was just an instrumental bit, until they’d start singing on it. But, I just liked it and then, I figured, okay, let me sing to it, and that was it. It’s only a sample, but it felt right, so I did it.

Format: Anything you’d like to add?
Lady Sovereign: Not really. Just go buy my album please. No, not “please.” It’s out. It’s about. If you’re not going to buy this one, buy the first one. Experience Sovereign and don’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 they’ve even had a chance to see me live, and that’s where people go wrong. Me as a performer, I’m fucking amazing. I give it my all. I say what I need to say. I completely go for it. In May, I’ll be back on the road with my drummer. His name is RJ. I haven’t been on the road with a band member for ages. That always adds a lot to my shows. So, if you’ve caught a show lately, it would have just been me and my DJ, but now I’m going back to instruments, so this should be even more crazy. I just really go for it.

More Info: www.ladysovereign.com.

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Nell Alk

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