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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 08:34 GMT
Talking Shop: Lady Sovereign
UK rapper Lady Sovereign has already made a name for herself in the US - she was the first non-American woman to sign with the Def Jam label and made her album debut inside the Billboard top 50 last year.

The 21-year-old from Wembley also had a top 10 UK hit last year with Nine2Five, a remix of her earlier single of the same name, this time collaborating with the Ordinary Boys.

The self-confessed "biggest midget in the game", Lady Sovereign hopes to replicate her US success on home turf with her latest single Love Me Or Hate Me. Her album Public Warning is due out in the UK on 5 February.

Here, the 5ft 1ins star tells of her fairytale meeting with rap legend Jay-Z and explains how she pioneered the use of the internet for promoting her music.

What was it like to make it big in the US before cracking the UK?

Lady Sovereign
Lady Sovereign says her worst job was cleaning bakeries

That's just the way it happened - I can't walk down the street without people recognising me. Things are going really well over there, I love it.

I spent most of last year out there so I got used to it and I'm back in the spring, touring with Gwen Stefani.

How important is it for you to make it big at home?

It's important, I always want that recognition in the UK. People know who I am now but it doesn't necessarily mean I'm that successful here.

Do you like the fame that comes with the musical success?

Yeah and no, it's hard sometimes 'cause everyone watches your every move, I try not to think about it that much - you do the littlest things and I'm like, why do people really care?

So you really were the first non-American female to be signed by Def Jam?

Hell yeah! Jay-Z heard my music, it was weird, a meeting out of the blue.

I tried to drink as much as I could before I went in to audition to calm my nerves!

You didn't slur your words, did you?

Yeah, thought I'd ruined it! But an hour after I went in there, they were like: "Welcome to Def Jam".

Your music is very British, musically and lyrically, with mentions of shepherd's pie etc. Did you feel any pressure to come up with a more American sound for the US market?

I only say what I know, so if I do talk of my American experiences that's because I know it and I live it - I know where I'm from, the whole British thing is just me.

Who are your musical influences?

I like UK garage, drum and bass, techno and I love old punk, X-Ray Spex, Buzzcocks, I want to do more of that.

A lot of artists are using the internet to promote themselves these days. How much do you credit the net with getting your career off the ground?

A lot. I'm the internet pioneer, I'm the originator. Everyone says it's Lily Allen or Arctic Monkeys but I was doing it for years before everyone else. It was me!

I begged my dad for a PC and then the internet, got bored one day and just started doing it. I met my DJ on there. It was all word of mouth. I still run my MySpace page.

You did a few odd jobs after first leaving school. What was your worst job?

Cleaning bakeries with my friend - we didn't even get paid, we were just given cakes and bread!

The single Love Me Or Hate Me was released on 22 January. Lady Sovereign's album, Public Warning, is released on 5 February.

Lady Sovereign talked to BBC News Entertainment reporter Emma Saunders.

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