About three years ago, I was certain the artist known as Lady Sovereign would become a star. I had the pleasure of conducting a video interview with the British MC, born Louise Amanda Harman--at South By Southwest for some other organization--and found her funny and charming.
She had been signed to Def Jam by Jay-Z after some impromptu freestyling in his office as Usher and L.A. Reid looked on. Her 2005 debut EP, Vertically Challenged, featured such hot numbers as "Random" and "Ch Ching," and included a remix by Beastie Boy Ad-Rock. That was an appropriate match. Sov seemed like a Brit Beastie Girl. Her punky attitude and fast-flowing rhymes added a feminine twist to the hip-hop lunacy of early Beastie Boys. But something went wrong. Her full-length debut, Public Warning, garnered some favorable reviews, and included the chart-topping club hit "Love Me Or Hate Me," but failed to crossover into the mainstream consciousness. She had an on-stage breakdown, struggled through a tour, and then seemingly disappeared. But fear not fans, after some delays, the S-O-V has returned. Her new album, Jigsaw, drops Tuesday (April 7) on her own Midget Records label. Check out the clip for the album's first single, "I Got You Dancing," below.
As you can hear and see in that clip, Sov is still "a funky little monkey." On the album, she also shows off her punk--actually post-punk influences--by sampling the Cure's "Close To Me" in the track "So Human," much to the dismay of some of the fans of Robert Smith and company. "Sweet jesus! What is this! ................................. NO, NO, NO!," wrote one fan on the Cure's bulletin board. "That's what I said! I mean, why defile the wondrous Close To Me? And who in god's name gave her permission!," wrote another. Seems a new artist by the name of Thomas Jules also recently sampled "Cloe To Me," which means perhaps the Cure is bigger than ever. Whatever the case, check out Sov's version below, and you can preview Jigsaw in its entirety here.
It seems as if Lady Sov hasn't lost any of her cheekiness. "The album is the next chapter. It's a massive leap forward for mankind," she told Billboard's Jonathan Cohen late last year. But pop music is a fickle game. I'm wondering if Lady Sov had her shot and now it's too late for her to regain the spotlight. What do you think? While you weigh the gravity of that question, take a look back at one of the songs that made us take notice in the first place by watching an exclusive performance of "Random," as well as an exclusive interview and tour of London.