With her current single ‘Where Are You Now’, a grimy, hard edged, heavy bass, mosh pit bit of fire featuring the godfather of grime Wiley, tearing up the urban scene, Lady Leshurr has taken yet a further step towards huge global recognition. Having been part of that period of time where the UK seemed overly blessed with femcees, she is one of only a few who seem to have survived. While; life, motivation or whatever it may be has seen many femcees from that era MIA-Leshurr is rightly the Queen Of The Scene.
“I have just constantly been active” she states when the question of why her contemporaries have all but disappeared is posed, “by putting out music regularly you stay relevant because if you do not then there will always be some younger rapper waiting to take your space. There is always another similar you who wants to take your spot”.
Still in her twenties, Leshurr’s journey has been a series of peaks and troughs but of course her talent has never wavered. She has travelled that arduous road where overnight success is generally a figment of an over-zealous imagination – it very rarely happens. Instead qualities like; persistence, endeavour, failure, morphing, developing, re-developing are the words of the day. 10 years in the game and Leshurr appears to have found her formula and the UK are now starting to appreciate brand Lady Leshurr like Trump gains column inches in the national press.
For sure when ‘Lego’ (circa 2011) dropped, I was sure that Leshurr’s rapid ascent would follow but it never materialised – “I had to take a little time out and plan” she responds in understanding why she did not blow up after that massive track, “I realised what was happening in the scene and what was not happening in the scene which was fun, entertainment or a sense of humour. As a normal person I like to have fun, mess about and have jokes and I thought that I would use that part of my character as a natural part of me in my music. That is how I created Queen’s Speech and I have done ‘me’ and felt really comfortable since that time”.
While we all salivated over said track which perfectly displayed her talent, one could argue it has taken the UK a while to appreciate Birmingham’s best export. “I do in fact think a lot of people slept on me” she answers without a hint of arrogance, “whether it was my fault or their fault I do not know but I knew what I had and I knew what I could do. Sometimes in life you can be the best in the world but if you are not consistent and you do not have a good management team behind you then you cannot really go that far.’ She adds, ‘For me I always felt that I had the talent but I did not have that strong team behind me that could take me to the next level-I feel that I have that now.”
And to that next level she flies.
There is historically evidence for the UK sleeping on their acts while the US positively embraces them – Skepta to name one. Indeed Leshurr’s braggadocious self has attracted attention from Busta Rhymes and Chris Brown. Let’s not forget that Atlantic Records in the US wanted to sign her – she turned the deal down but the fact that they felt that she could take on Niki Minaj speaks volumes – they clearly see her global potential.
It is of course not just her monstrous verbal ability displayed in cuts like ‘Lego’ where she went all Busta Rhymes and the ‘Queen’s Speech’ series where her clever world play and on point put downs – ‘go brush your teeth’ were on glaring displayed it’s the fact that Lady Leshurr is a brand. She possesses the ability to market herself, market her music and connect with her fans as she Tweets, Snapchats, Youtubes ensuring that she is an accessible name.
“I do not know why I am like that” she laughs “but the main reason is probably because of my mother because she has always been that person who will not wait for anyone she will just get on and do it really. I have that mentality that I will not wait on a PR I have my own brain and I can do it. You have a phone and you only need to post things and have a strategy and be consistent and people will understand what you are doing.”
My supporters are consistently backing my projects
With the amalgamation of all that embodies ‘brand Leshurr’ and of course timing 2016 could well be the time for her power move and global recognition – despite Brexit! Work on her debut album is in earnest as she traverses the globe between the UK, Canada and the US sequestering the talents of producers.
“The album is called Queen Of The Scene and it will be a journey and people will connect with me and I want people connect with me not just on a ‘Queen’s Speech’ level but more serious stuff as well. ‘Q S ‘was there to grab people’s attention and I do not want people to only think that I am some comedian. The album will feature the music I grew up to; reggae, bashment, hip-hop obviously grime and a few experimental things as well.”
While she works on that, brand Leshurr gathers momentum exponentially – things seem set, the timing is right and Leshurr – well she has always been ready – she is ready I am sure to become the UK’s biggest femcee. With that, I pose this rather leftfield final question:
So if you sold brand Leshurr’ on Dragon’s Den what would it be worth?
“wow” she laughs, pauses and then responds.
“I would say I have a big machine and big brand it is very strong; half a million subscribers on YouTube, over 60 million views on YouTube, my supporters are consistently backing my projects, I think they would accept that. If I was to see my whole brand where I would have nothing left I would say I am worth 3 million plus – certainly 5 years down the line”.
Lady Leshurr – Nation Of Billions is in!
‘Where Are They Now’ out on the 26.08.16
‘Where Are They Now’ tour kicks off on the 22.10.16 and tickets are available here
Check Lady Leshurr at Afropunk