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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 20:14 GMT
Dynamic Dynamite looks ahead
Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite was a surprise winner of the Mercury Prize

Ms Dynamite is leading the pack for the 2003 Brit Awards with four nominations. It follows an explosive year for Ms Dynamite in 2002 - she enjoyed a dramatic rise from relative obscurity to become a major musical force in award-winning style.

As the star from north London led the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh, she had a stunning year to look back on, but her eyes are firmly set on the future.

The 21-year-old - real name Niomi McLean-Daley - has been a major hit with young music fans in 2002, while winning the Mercury Music Prize for her album A Little Deeper gave her the respect of her musical peers as well.

Ms Dynamite
She was persuaded to perform by her brothers and sisters
"So many amazing things have happened to me this year," says Dynamite, dressed casually, but with a palpable air of elegance.

"I don't think there's been a bad point, for everything has got better and better. All the award ceremonies have been good for me - it's good to know you're being supported."

Dynamite talks confidently and eruditely, the same as she sings and raps on her musically strong mix of R&B and garage which has a positively British urban vibe.

Apart from a clutch of top 10 hits, Dynamite scooped three Music of Black Origin (Mobo) Awards and is a strong tip for nominations at next year's Brit Awards.

But this lady seems aware that the music business is fickle and is not planning to stand still as another year fast approaches.

"Everything I do I really think about and comes from the inside. But I'll try my hardest to make the next album different, just to keep evolving with new sounds and styles," explains Dynamite.

So Solid Crew
Ms Dynamite has worked with So Solid Crew
"My new album, A Little Darker, is more of an underground album, with a lot more garage, MCing, breakbeats, hip hop and darker R&B," she reveals - but is more evasive on speculation about possible big-name collaborations.

Dynamite may be eyeing up more distant prospects in the coming year, by having a crack at the lucrative but notoriously tough US market.

"There are talks about it, and quite a few record labels over there are interested. It would be important to me as a British artist," she says with pride.

"But not a lot of us have made it over there, especially R&B acts. I'd definitely like to take my success a bit further."

This young woman knows that while she is a musical hot property, her responsibility to her more impressionable fans is always on her mind.

"I'm very aware that a lot of young people look up to me, are inspired by me and take what I say quite literally a lot of the time," says Dynamite, who herself has 10 brothers and sisters.

"I choose to be as positive as possible and to address issues which I see as extremely important," adds the star, whose heartfelt lyrics touch upon gritty issues.

When Dynamite talks about something with considerable passion, her trademark hoop earrings shudder with her intelligent gesticulations.

If her dynamism and natural enthusiasm are anything to go by, then there is every reason to believe that this musician is set to build upon her staggering rise to the top in 2003.

  The BBC's David Sillito
"The Brits isn't about talent it's about success"

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