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Lady Sovereign - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Lady Sovereign

August 2006

Not many young, and female, and white rappers get signed to Def Jam. Fewer get signed personally because of a certain artist named Jay-Z. Lady Sovereign has though. Hailing from the UK, the self proclaimed "Biggest midget in the industry" is following her huge buzz off of her "Vertically Challenged" EP on Chocolate Industries, and prepping her US debut "Public Warning," set for an October release. I had a chance to talk with Lady Sovereign, who came off as very shy but down to earth.

MVRemix: What was it like growing up as a female rapper in North London, did you feel any sort of stigma or have problems with people taking you seriously?

Lady Sovereign: Kind of, yeah. I don't think people took me too seriously back in the day. But I mean I was a little rat back in the day; I was shy - so that didn't really help that situation. But I mean... yeah.

MVRemix: How did you overcome that?

Lady Sovereign: Honestly, I can't really put my finger on what helped it. I think, it's just like - I don't know about that stage.

MVRemix: Why do you feel the cockney accent is so well received in North America?

Lady Sovereign: Um [pauses] - where are you from by the way?

MVRemix: I'm actually from Hertfordshire (England).

Lady Sovereign: Okay.

MVRemix: So I get a good reception with the good old accent...

Lady Sovereign: [chuckles] Yeah, I was wondering like, "Where are you from?" But, yeah... [long pause] I don't know.

MVRemix: It's kind of a tough one...

Lady Sovereign: Yeah, but then again like years and years ago, when I properly met an American person, yeah. Like the accent, to hear was weird. I think they find it weird and ear catching.

MVRemix: How did the moniker first come about?

Lady Sovereign: Alright basically, I stole a sovereign ring from like my friend's stupid boyfriend. He was bein' an arsehole. Just nicked it and I was like, "Oooh, now I can crown myself Lady Sovereign!" It was like marriage.

MVRemix: And is that the ring you wear today, or...

Lady Sovereign: No, I lost that one - I lost it in a park somewhere.

MVRemix: How did the signature ring and keys on your chain come about?

Lady Sovereign: I don't know. Like I just put my keys on a punk chain, yeah, and was like, "Okay, I like that." Then it just became a habit to wear 'em.

MVRemix: Since being signed to def jam, has the corporate Jay-Z you spoke of changed at all towards you?

Lady Sovereign: Yeah, I mean it's cool now. I love comin' up to do the Def Jam thing now. It's like I've kind of got to know everyone and it's welcoming.

MVRemix: You grew up listening to artists like Method Man and Redman, being their labelmate, have you had a chance to meet?

Lady Sovereign: [pauses] I haven't had a chance to meet with them personally to be quite honest, 'cause they're kind of like just walking around the office...

MVRemix: Tell me about "Public Warning."

Lady Sovereign: The single or the album?

MVRemix: The album.

Lady Sovereign: Wow, that's gonna be huge [chuckles]. The album is finished, "Um, yeah - finally." There's some stuff on there that people already know, and then there's like other stuff on there. It's pretty, um, I don't know. It's different, it's irregular - so nothing sounds the same. Nothing is duplicated off anything else.

MVRemix: How many songs were recorded for it in total?

Lady Sovereign: Total? I don't know, but I only put twelve on the album.

MVRemix: Is there a video planned for "Love Me Or Hate Me"?

Lady Sovereign: Oh yeah - it's going to be huge [chuckles].

MVRemix: When are you gonna be filming that?

Lady Sovereign: Next week.

MVRemix: Can you tell me a little bit about the concept or something that's going on in it?

Lady Sovereign: Um, see... No I can't. It's gotta come out of the blue and hit [chuckles].

MVRemix: How involved were Def Jam and Jay-Z been in the record? Was it more so under your control or a mixture between the two? Or...

Lady Sovereign: I mean, I'm honestly open to ideas and suggestions. But, well I make all my decisions. So I was just you know... But I was in control. Some things it's from like big label suggestions...

MVRemix: How did you hook up with Ad-Rock (Beastie Boys)?

Lady Sovereign: Someone played him my music and he wanted to do a remix, and out of all the tracks he chose "Shush." I weren't actually there when he done it, but I have actually hooked up with him and done things.

MVRemix: What was the most influential live show you saw?

Lady Sovereign: [pauses] Well I haven't seen that many people live for one, and the one's that I have seen, no offense, it wasn't exactly inspirational - know what I mean? I've not been to one of those bloody life changing concerts. I've never seen a great, great show. I'd love to watch myself; I do wonder.

MVRemix: Have you ever seen yourself?

Lady Sovereign: No, I have, but I mean if I wasn't me. I'd be serious. That's the one thing I could never do.

MVRemix: What inspired you to have a live band as opposed to just a DJ or a machine in the background?

Lady Sovereign: 'Cause it sounds better.

MVRemix: And how did that start? Did people approach you, or did you approach people?

Lady Sovereign: Oh, well see I don't know many people that actually play things. So it's one of those audition things. But now like I've got to know everyone, I already knew my DJ, obviously, but everyone else - I've got to know 'em now and what they're like.

MVRemix: I know UK tabloids love to make up stories, what's the funniest made up story you've read about yourself?

Lady Sovereign: About me? [ponders] I don't know. Tabloids don't really write shit about me.

MVRemix: Really?

Lady Sovereign: No... Not tabloids - magazines do, but not tabloid tabloids. They don't even like me, I don't think.

MVRemix: What happened with the "Save The Hoodie" campaign - what was the end result?

Lady Sovereign: I'm still keepin' it open... Just so I can build it up and just keep it a bit more heated to what I really think, then I can just reach into the situation like, "Here, here's the petition." Look at how many people wrote in.

MVRemix: Was there a particular incident which sparked off the Hoodie ban?

Lady Sovereign: Nah, it was only banned in a couple malls - it's just material, do you know what I mean?

MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?"

Lady Sovereign: I'd like to slap Jessica Simpson with a wet fish. She annoys me. She's just pointless.

MVRemix: You've labelled some of your fans as almost stalkers - do you feel that may alienate them and impact your sales?

Lady Sovereign: I don't know what you mean by that...

MVRemix: Well these people that are fanatical about you, but also support your record - do you feel that they may react badly?

Lady Sovereign: Nah - I mean they know I'm only joking [chuckles].

MVRemix: Any last words?

Lady Sovereign: Cheer up.

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"I stole a sovereign ring from like my friend's stupid boyfriend. He was bein' an arsehole. Just nicked it and I was like, "Oooh, now I can crown myself Lady Sovereign!" It was like a marriage."