Boooo! Ms Dynamite is back on Cloud 9 and heading this way
After a hiatus from music, Ms Dynamite is back with a new single and heading to Dubai, performing at N’Dulge, Atlantis, The Palm.
The pathway from underground pioneer to celebrated commercial star is well trodden nowadays. Just look at how dubstep star Skream went from making beats in his bedroom to being a new music host on BBC Radio 1, or how Katy B went from little known grime vocalist to chart sensation in just a short space of time and with hardly a beat missed. For Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley, though, the path to the top has been littered with obstacles and, after a dizzying amount of early success, she seemingly disappeared completely, only to recently reappear after years in the shadows.
It was more than a decade ago that the now 32-year-old Ms Dynamite (originally called Lady Dynamite and of shared German, Irish, Jamaican and Scottish descent) first started providing crisp vocals for UK garage tracks. A little underground success came with the track Booo!, thanks to it getting heavy play on various pirate radio stations around London. Before long a local DJ discovered Ms Dynamite and managed to introduce her to various major UK labels, and just a year later she released her debut album, A Little Deeper, featuring songs It Takes More and possibly her most known of all, Dy-na-mi-tee. It took a re-release Stateside for things to really take off, and in 2002 Ms Dynamite won the highly acclaimed Mercury Music Prize. (As someone who had always harboured a desire to be a social worker, it’s no real surprise Ms Dynamite gifted her £20,000 prize to a children’s charity.)
In the past said award has been a death knell for young artists, and indeed Ms Dynamite did go quiet after winning it, although it was primarily to look after her young son rather than because of any creative stalls. Performances at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games at the City of Manchester Stadium and at 2005’s Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London, proved she was a performer, entertainer and vocalist who could really connect with crowds no matter their size.
When she did return, it was with 2005’s Judgement Days, an album that offered up more social commentary than before, including the explicitly Tony Blair-baiting track Mr Prime Minister. Although not as critically well acclaimed as her debut, it placed high on the charts and spawned a number of singles. Following that album, Dynamite was more or less on hiatus, releasing the odd mixtape, appearing on the odd TV programme, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen and guest hosting on BBC Radio 1Xtra in the UK.
Now, though, she is back once again with a new single, Cloud 9, on influential drum ‘n’ bass label Digital Soundboy Recordings. It comes in collaboration with established drum ‘n’ bass dude Shy FX and is a much more positive and cheery offering than those found on her last album. Backed with silky deebee percussion and rubbery beats, she sings about someone “Getting me high, high, high. So high I don’t wanna come down”.
Speaking to UK broadsheet The Independent recently, Ms Dynamite confessed to having a lot of therapy and reading plenty of self-help books during her musical hiatus. Whatever she’s been doing, it seems to have worked – just look at her social media presence and you’ll be greeted with a wealth of happy thoughts and positive vibrations, all of which will no doubt be fed into her long awaited, oft-promised longplayer follow up due, apparently, some time next year.
Ms Dynamite also recently performed at the MOBOs in Scotland to a warm reception, while on November 21 she’ll be playing at N’Dulge in Dubai, where you can expect the consummate performer to drop old classics alongside her newer material, all in her usual inimitable style. While there sure have been ups and downs throughout her career, Ms Dynamite, it seems, is currently on an upward arc once more, and for that any and all lovers of urban music should be thankful.
N’Dulge, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai
Tel: (05) 5147 6034 Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm
Thursday, 10pm to 4am
Dhs100, Ladies free before 11pm