You're a winner, Speech Debelle!
Tuesday, the 26-year-old rapper from South London received Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize for her debut, Speech Therapy, trumping a strong batch of nominees that included Bat for Lashes, Glasvegas, Kasabian, and La Roux. In winning, she joins the likes of Portishead, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Pulp, and PJ Harvey, all of whom had previously earned the prize, which is given by the British Phonographic Industry and British Association of Record Dealers to the year's best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland. Phew! All that and a cup of tea.
But given that Debelle's album just dropped on August 18 on this side of the Atlantic (two months after its UK release), you could be forgiven for wondering, you know, who she is. So to help you keep up with all the music-obsessed anglophiles out there, we've prepared a brief Speech Debelle cheat sheet for you, along with some audio-visual goodies. Enjoy!
Who: Speech Debelle, real name Corynne Elliot.
Album: Speech Therapy (Ninja Tune)
Sounds like: In an interview with SPIN, Debelle said she fancies herself a purveyor of "acoustic hip-hop, but the other day somebody called my stuff neo-rap. I can agree with that." We say it sounds like a street smart and heart tuff blend of soulful string and horn-graced arrangements set to organic beats largely free of drum machines and synthesizers. It's all topped off by Debelle's smoothly flowing, plainly emotional raps, which touch on failing relationships, ghetto hardship, and family troubles.
You should hear: "Go, Then Bye" -- a gorgeously mournful and string-dappled lament about the difficulty of saying goodbye in the era of text messages and Facebook status updates.
Watch the video for "Go, Then Bye." Then download "Better Days (Revox)," featuring Micachu of Micachu and the Shapes.
WATCH: Speech Debelle, "Go, Then Bye"
LISTEN: Speech Debelle, "Better Days (Revox)"(DOWNLOAD MP3)