We caught up with Mercury Award winning British rapper Speech Debelle to chat fave gigs, dream collabs and what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2017…
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a rapper, aspiring chef and podcaster.
What does a day in the life of Speech Debelle look like?
Wake up, get some coffee, hit some emails, watch a show online, then maybe go for a meet, Skype, or call, cook some lunch, repeat.
How would you describe your aesthetic and how does it inspire your music?
Displaced African, trying to find a place called home. Indigenous styles, mixed with 90’s Jamaican dancehall DJ.
What’s the best gig you have ever played?
Paris, maybe 2010, so packed people were standing on the what they could find. I’ve never felt energy from a crowd like that before. I have an affinity with Paris and Parisians. They seem to get the music the most as well.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
It would have to be Me’Shelle Ndegeocell. She’s made about 10 albums and they’re all different. She isn’t human. And I’m into that.
Your new album Tantil Before I Breathe is accompanied by a digital cookbook, amazing! What’s the concept/inspiration behind this?
There are 9 songs from each of my three albums. Each song has a memoir style write up, that then inspires a recipe. It also features track lyrics and info. Food and music are the same to me. They can both inspire and heal.
Why do you think the relationship between fashion and music is so strong?
Artist, particular those that perform in stages have already imagined the offering while they are still creating the song. There’s already an idea of “one day, I’ll share this”. That borderline egotism is asking to be seen. Fashion, or even better, style is how you share that vision.
What’s your favourite music video?
I.A has sick videos. Stormzy “Too Big For Your Boots” is the best I’ve seen in a while.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Reggae and soul mostly. My mum listened to music of the 70’s and 80’s so that’s what was in my house most but I loved pop music. The box TV channel, Backstreet Boys, Immature, SWV.
Who’s your biggest musical inspiration?
Gotta be Michael Jackson. Who else is there?
What’s your guilty pleasure, most played track?
Without Guilt, Pete Josef “Colour”, Sizzla “Love is Divine”, Kwabs “Perfect Ruin”, Black Motion “It’s You”
Last album you listened to all the way through?
Frank Ocean and Solange
What track gives you goosebumps?
Gretchen Parlato “Holding Back The Years” knocks me off balance every time.
How would you describe your personal style?
“Displaced African, trying to find a place called home. Indigenous styles, mixed with 90’s Jamaican dancehall DJ”
If you could steal anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be?
The singer Miguel or Teyanna Taylor.
What 3 clothing items could you not live without?
Right now my Wallabees, homemade African print drop crotch trousers and I guess, a hair band on my wrist to wrap my locs when needed.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
Yea, lets eat.
What’s your spirit animal?
I fainted in front of Black Panther at a safari in South Africa a few months ago, so I’ll go with that. I thought I was like a beaver or something but that happened so I’m going with panther.
What emoji best describes you?
Spacecraft taking off emoji.
Who are you currently stalking on Instagram?
Chaka Bars is interesting. Majah Hype is hilarious.
What makes you laugh?
Most things. Things that remind me of things. Like “that sounded like….”
What’s your secret addiction?
Socks straight out of the washing machine are like sniffing glue.
Who’s your celebrity wannabe wife?
I don’t want to marry anyone I don’t know.
What would be your superhero power?
The ability to speak to animals, like Dr Dolittle. I don’t think they talk as much sh*t as we do.
What was the first thing you did thing morning?
Tripped over my cat and had a pee. Standard.
Tell us something weird about yourself…
I thought the sniffing freshly washed socks was pretty weird.
What’s your song to get you ready for a party?
Some kind of African House music. Maybe from “Black Motion” or “Black Coffee.”
Where can we see you perform next?
I’ll be in tour in the UK in May.
What’s on the agenda for 2017?
– Season one if the podcast “The Work Brunch” is about to finish so getting ready for season two. The album and cookbook are out March 17th. The UK Tour + summer festival gigs.
Wanna know more? Follow Speech Debelle on Insta @speechdebelle
…and listen to her tracks on Soundcloud: