When an artist lists both the Wu-Tang Clan and Samuel Beckett as its influences, it is often the stuff of hipster fluff, but U.K.
poet and rapper Kate Tempest backs those name-drops up with a Big Dada recording contract and a Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry. Born in Brockley, South London, Tempest launched her career at 16, performing at open-mike nights at the local record shop. In 2010 she formed the hip-hop group Sound of Rum while launching a career in solo performance poetry. Between the two gigs, she found herself opening shows for artists as diverse as post-punk poet John Cooper Clarke and rapper Scroobius Pip. Sound of Rum released their album Balance in 2011, while Tempest's first book of poetry, Everything Speaks In Its Own Way, was released by Zingaro Books in 2012. In 2013 she performed her work Brand New Ancients with orchestral backing at London's Battersea Arts Centre, which won the Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry that same year. A year later, she made her solo album debut with Everybody Down, released by the Ninja Tune-affiliated label Big Dada. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi