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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 22:08 GMT 23:08 UK
Explosive rise of Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite is not afraid to speak her mind
Ms Dynamite's career has exploded in the past year as she has won award after award and been given four nominations for the Brit Awards. But the star also has a message in her music.

Ms Dynamite says her debut album, the modern, cool and acclaimed A Little Deeper, is nothing special despite winning her a Mercury Music Prize and numerous other accolades.

The pregnant 21-year-old, who has been catapulted through the UK urban music ranks and does not look like slowing down, says some of the songs on the album are OK.

"But it's nowhere near as good as I want to be."

Maybe the glut of awards will convince her that other people think more of it than she does.

She won more Mobos than any other artist - from the UK or US - who comes into the loose genre of "black music".

Attitude and ability

With chart-friendly songs, an attractive persona and a stylish, sassy image, it was not be long before Ms Dynamite was being hailed as the female Craig David.

She has had a string of UK top 10 solo singles, plus another with garage producers Sticky, for which she provided the vocals and which launched her career.

The Sticky song, called Booo! reached number 12 in June 2001 after being a club hit for a year before that.

It came about after the Sticky producers saw her performing on a nightclub stage, where she impressed with a strong singing voice, attitude-laden MC style and ability to put together flowing rhymes.

Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite won three Mobo Awards
She had graduated to club stages from pirate radio stations near her north London home, where she had begun rapping (or "chatting") two years earlier.

But she only became involved in that after being persuaded by her 10 brothers and sisters.

If Niomi McLean-Daley, 21, had had her way, she would be a writer or a teacher today.

But record labels began to take notice when Booo! broke through, and they saw the potential of a performer who could appeal across social divides - and possibly across the Atlantic.

That appeal is down to her seamless blend of UK garage, hip-hop, R&B and reggae, all put together with her soulful singing voice.

The aim is now for Ms Dynamite to follow Lauryn Hill into the global consciousness as a young, black, female star who combines character with good tunes.

The first solo single for her new record label, Polydor, It Takes More, was an infectious hit that comfortably accommodated an accordion and dance beats, reaching number seven.

Responsibility

A self-assured attack on the glamour and violence culture of the UK garage scene, it also signalled a sense of responsibility that escapes most performers.

"I think it's a billion times more important to educate than entertain," she has said.

Ms Dynamite has also found her political voice outside of her music and is not afraid to speak out on a number of issues.

She took part in a London Stop the War rally and has performed for causes including Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign.

She also made a plea to stop the rising tide of gun crime at a memorial for two girls shot dead at a New Year party in Birmingham.

Even with a baby on the way, there is little chance that Ms Dynamite will disappear from the spotlight.



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