In keeping with her growing reputation, this September sees Speech Debelle embark on her first national headline tour. The 26 year-old rapper and her super-tight three piece band (double bass, acoustic guitar and drums, occasionally joined by her hypeman, Incredubwoy) will tour the country in support of an album which has not only been nominated as a Barclaycard Mercury Music Album of the Year, but which is being widely tipped to win the prize on September 8th.
Hearing the record is one thing, but when you see the band live and get more of a sense of Speech's slow-burn charisma and sheer presence you know you're witnessing the birth of a very important artist. Still playing small and intimate venues, booking early is advised – by next year she'll be playing in much bigger spaces and some of her rapport with an audience will be lost.
In the last few weeks Speech has featured three times on the BBC's Glastonbury coverage (having played seven separate gigs at the festival!), had her photo on the front page of The Independent and Evening Standard, been interviewed for major features in the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Times and the Observer, as well as appearing on BBC1's breakfast telly couch, Channel 4 news, CNN, BBC1 6'O Clock news and even Radio 4's venerable show, Womens' Hour. In doing so she had insured that her rise from hostel dwelling and bad deeds to articulate, honest and abrupt pop star has become the biggest story of the Mercury season.
The single "Spinnin'" which includes a remix by Jammer and Donae'o is to be released on September 14th. Produced by Tunng mainman Mike Lindsay, "Spinnin'" is a hugely catchy singalong of a tune, a feelgood route into the sometimes dark and emotional world of Ms Debelle. That's not to say the girl sacrifices any of her lyrical intelligence. Her words are packed with barbed one-liners, clever asides and great imagery. This her purest pop moment yet.
This is Ms Debelle's time. Catch her now.
Fri 25 Sep UK Bristol Colston Hall support to Roni Size orchestra show £18
Sat 26 Sep UK Sheffield Plug £7
Sun 27 Sep UK Manchester Night & Day £8
Mon 28 Sep UK Leeds Uni – Mine £8
Thu 1 Oct UK Glasgow Arches £8
Fri 2 Oct UK Belfast Stiff Kitten 13.60 Euro
Sat 3 Oct Ireland Dublin Academy 2 13.60 Euro
Sun 4 Oct UK Liverpool Masque £7.50
Mon 5 Oct UK Morecambe Library £8
Wed 7 Oct UK London The Scala £10
Thu 8 Oct UK Brighton Coalition £7.50
Tickets can be bought through sites such as: