Lady Chann: The Interview!
Having just released her new single, 'Equilibrium'/'Informer', our very own UK dancehall queen, Lady Chann, has big plans for 2012. Loukia Constantinou caught up with her to talk about being the leading lady when it comes to all things bashy in the UK, what she thinks about grime artists trying their hand at the genre, what it was like dancing on stage with Beenie Man and much more...
The Wrap Up: So, Lady Chann, your new single is out now. Before we get into that, tell us where it all began for you?
Lady Chann: I grew up listening to bashment. My dad’s from a sound called Exodus and my uncle is from a sound called Special Edition, so I’ve always been around that. I always wanted to be in the music world, and I try to infuse an R&B sound with the bashment, sing the hooks and leng down the verses. I mix dancehall with grime, electro and dubstep, and it’s all good!
TWU: Tell us a bit about the new single that came out this week…
Lady Chann: The new single, ‘Equilibrium’/’Informer’, is out now. Working with Glamma Kid on ‘Informer’ was amazing. He’s a legend! I already had the track – I had done the verses and the hook – so I sent it to him to see if he liked it. Three days later, he came to the studio and smacked it in one take.
TWU: Bashment is really big again now, but why do you think this is?
Lady Chann: I don’t know why it’s got so popular again, it goes in cycles. It’s like un-chartered land and people think it might be cool to try it now. I think that’s why it’s so unique and, of course, the energy in it is crazy. It doesn’t matter when people say, ‘Dancehall isn’t as big as it was in the 90s.’ So what!? We’re in 2012 now.
TWU: There are also some unlikely suspects from the UK scene trying out bashment these days as well. How do you feel about that?
Lady Chann: It’s true. Nowadays, you get all these people – who aren’t bashment artists – jumping on it. There are a few, but let me not mention any names (laughs). All I can say is that dancehall is not a fad. If you’re a dancehall artist, you do it because you love it, you don’t do it to be popular. It’s cool to put little influences from different things in your work, to celebrate the genre and give it props, but don’t take the p**s out of the genre. Don’t come out like you were a grime artist, and now you’re spitting straight patois. What are you going to do after? Are you going to have a follow-up tune? You’re not all of a sudden going to turn into a bashment artist, so it’s a fail from there.
TWU: What have been some of your performance highlights so far?
Lady Chann: There are so many, but I hooked up with Beenie Man in 2006 at Stratford Rex. I did a bootleg of his tune, ‘Hmm, Hmm’, which was big at the time. He heard it and invited me to perform it live with him. We smashed it! You know when you’re doing something and it feels so surreal? I was like, ‘This isn’t real, man. I am NOT wining with Beenie Man.’ Yeah, it was mad.
TWU: Last year, Rinse FM’s The Heatwave put on a huge bashment event, ‘Showtime’, which you were part of. What was that like?
Lady Chann: ‘Showtime’ was one of my best London shows last year. London can be quite pretentious sometimes, and it’s when you go out of London and out of the country that everyone appreciates what every artist does. ‘Showtime’ was amazing and we have to give props to The Heatwave for even thinking of that whole concept for a show and bringing it to life.
TWU: And you were one of only three female performers on the night, weren’t you? You and Stush took on all the men with great ease…
Lady Chann: Yes! Get the DVD if you weren’t there, it was unbelievable. I love Stush! I was just getting to know her around that time and it was instant love – it felt like we’d known each other forever. We haven’t worked together yet, but we will.
TWU: What’s it like being a female in such a male-dominated and sexually explicit genre of music?
Lady Chann: It’s mad when I think about it, but I love it. When people talk about the slackness and stereotypes, I don’t care. We love that! I don’t mean to be crude but, basically, everyone f***s. Why do people pretend to be prudes? I’m like, ‘Don’t lie! You do the same thing that everybody else does. We just say it, that’s all!’ You can put things rawly, but you can put them cleverly as well. I’m just real.
TWU: There are a lot of girls in the UK doing there thing at the moment, but who are you rating the most?
Lady Chann: No Lay is sick! I respect her bars so much. She will out-bar the best of the man dem all day long. Don’t chat to that gyal (laughs). She’s my pal as well. We have to get the right project going and hopefully we can do something.
TWU: Okay, so what else are you working on right now?
Lady Chann: Well, the mixtape is out now, ‘Dun Dem Season Volume 2’ – which is a mad one – and I’m also working on my album. It’s knuckle down time. I’m not trying to do too many other side projects.
TWU: Tell us a bit about the forthcoming album…
Lady Chann: I’m working with some nice producers and some good sounds at the minute. There’s one producer that I’m really excited about working with, Greg The Wizard. He’s so sick! He will play me ten tracks and I will like all ten. I’ve recently worked with Dillon Francis and obviously there’s Sticky. I first hooked up with Sticky at then end of 2008 and did ‘Sticky Situation’, and it all expanded from there. I’m hoping to do a few more bits with Toddla T, too.
TWU: Any plans of working with any Jamaican artists or producers?
Lady Chann: I’ve already worked with Ward 21 on ‘Ease Up’. That was a good collaboration. I need to actually go to Jamaica and do some work out there, though. Delly Ranx has invited me to do some work and I’d like to work more with Ward 21 and Natalie Storm as well. I’m going to try my best to go out there this year.
TWU: Sounds exciting! Alright, so is there anything that you’d like to tell us/your fans?
Lady Chann: Just that I’m really excited about 2012. I never get excited a particular year, but I can just feel it! 2011 was like a warm up. I can’t even imagine what 2012 is going to bring…
Lady Chann's new single, 'Equilibrium'/'Informer', is out now.
Stay up to date with Lady Chann on Twitter – www.twitter.com/LadyChann
Words Loukia Constantinou (@LoukiaC)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)