New Big Dada signing : Speech Debelle
Speech Debelle (formerly Speech Therapy, UK, Hip Hop / R&B / Soul)
Photo by Alice White (alicewhiteart.com)
About Speech Debelle :
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. That isn't to say she's another run of the mill rapper with more complaints than insights. Quite the opposite. Like all musicians worth listening to, she draws you into her universe and makes you glad you visited. There's always a thaw to the chillier moments.
'Searching' is her debut single, and a perfect example of the offbeat, folky production that will litter the forthcoming album, as well as the whisper-in-the-ear quality of her vocals. One thing is certain, hip-hop has never been done in quite this way before. 'Searching' makes you wonder why not.
Speech started recording with a close acquaintance (Sam from Bounce UK) in his home studio. Sam was one of the first to witness the lightning speed in which Speech wrote which he says hasnt been matched to this day. During recording Speech was asked to record a verse on N.A.T's album?? An A&R from BMG records heard her verse and invited her up to the label's office. What should have been an opportunity of a lifetime became Speech's first experience with the now screwed up.
"On major label those people are crazy, they hear you and know they're hearing the truth and even though they'll invest in a white guy strumming a guitar with no top ons truth, our truths just a little bit 2 scary. Maybe if I was light skin with blonde hair it would have worked, who knows?"
Speech somewhat disheartened by the experience backed away from the music and head first in street life. "I come from a middle class background but at the time no one would have believed it, I got kicked out my mums and was living in a hostel. I remember sitting in the room hungry as fck thinking, let me call my friend and see what's really good, cause this JSA thing is a joke. It lasted about 4 years and let's put it this way.I didn't do a bird!!"
With a new take on life and a hell of story to tell Speech got back to recording her debut album. In 2004 Speech was asked to submit a track called 'Living In Sin' (the lyrics of the chorus was featured in a edition of Burning Spear Newspaper) on N.A.T's 'Black Queen' album. While listening to the completed album Speech heard a track by the talented spoken word artist ShortMAN, she called him and they immediately hit it off. He asked her to do a verse on one of his tracks 'Can I Be Wiv U', also featuring the very talented Sharlene Hector. She record the verse at the First Luv studios. Also at the studio was founding members Self Taught and Realism. By the time they left the studio Speech was officially First Luv!
"Being in the studio with First Luv is like being at the Grammys without the bullshit! Honestly, it's like being in the presence of geniuses. Since I met them I've never heard a better soul singer than Universe, a better song writer than Ella-B, a better poet than shortMAN, a better producer than Self Taught and a more charismatic rapper than Realism. I'm blessed to have met them and I wish them all prosperity!"
With production from the incomparable Self Taught, Kafari, Friday d 13th and Speech herself this album is going to be crazy. The album also has appearances from Realism, Tempest, shortMAN, Ella-b, Universe and Normadelic.
"The interest has been crazy, I've been in Sony's office, BMG and Big Dada's and I havent released anything yet. I remember speaking to Universe one time and telling her I didnt think people would be ready for this, she was like are U ready cause people want this, people need good music in the life. That's where I'm at right now. The tracks featured are 'On My Way Now' produced by Self Taught (check him out on my friends on Myspace), 'Ovastanding' produced by Realism (check him out on my friends on Myspace) and 'Wheels In Motion' produced by kKfari (check him out on my friends also!."