Speech Debelle

Speech Debelle (1983, London, England) is a British rap artist, winner of the 2009 Mercury Prize. Debelle is signed to the Big Dada record label. Debelle's debut album, Speech Therapy, was released in the United Kingdom on 31 May 2009. The album has had three singles released, "Searching", "The Key", and "Go Then, Bye". ...show more

Speech Debelle (1983, London, England) is a British rap artist, winner of the 2009 Mercury Prize. Debelle is signed to the Big Dada record label. Debelle's debut album, Speech Therapy, was released in the United Kingdom on 31 May 2009. The album has had three singles released, "Searching", "The Key", and "Go Then, Bye".

It won the Barclay Mercury music prize in 2009. The Mercury judges said she was a "remarkable new voice in British hip-hop, tough, warm and reflective". One judge, the broadcaster and conductor Charles Hazlewood added: "She's just quietly telling her stories in the most beguiling way." Speech began writing poetry aged nine and started rapping lyrics in the schoolyard aged 13. Back then, initial inspiration came courtesy of Michael Jackson, which quickly turned to Blackstreet, Mary J Blige, TLC and reggae.

The first thing about Speech Debelle that strikes the ear is a contrast. Her voice is warm, youthful and listenable, and if you heard her in the background you might assume that her lyrics were the same. You'd be better placed tuning into them. In common with her new label-mate Roots Manuva, she's astoundingly honest in her music, detailing and exorcising some very personal demons. ...show less