Ms Dynamite’s rise to fame from living in £25 a week hostel to becoming first Black female artist to win a Mercury Prize
UK garage, grime, RnB and rap brought Black talent to the forefront of the nation’s music scene.
With a little bit of luck, hard work and talent, artists such as DJ Luck and MC Neat as well as girl bands like Misteeq, were able to achieve notable success in a competitive industry.
Although every contribution played a part in furthering Black music , there were some pioneers who broke through barriers and exploded onto a scene dominated by men.
Ms Dynamite, raised in Kentish Town, blazed the trail for UK female rappers and became the first Black solo female artist to win a Mercury Music Prize Award after a once in a lifetime offer opened the door for her.
Most know the London based rapper as Ms Dy-na-mi-tee, but before she took the industry by storm, she was born Niomi Arleen Daley, and when she was just 13 she had to grow up fast when her mother developed cancer.
She told the Daily Mail : “When I was supposed to be a child, I had the responsibilities of an adult.”
A couple of years later, Niomi struggled to cope with her mother’s ailing health and decided to move into a £25 per week hostel where she turned to alcohol and “felt suicidal”.
She said: ‘I’d wake up in the morning, have a smoke, go to school, come back, have a drink – to the point of, like, I’m coming to the end, I can’t take it any more. I actually felt suicidal.’
But underneath the turmoil she faced was an intelligent academic kid who went on to achieve A-levels, in art, English literature and media studies.
The Londoner could have gone to university but decided to follow her passion for music instead.
A family friend who owned a pirate radio station offered the fledgling star a slot as a presenter on his show and then she went on to present on Freak FM.
From that point on, she began honing her skills as a performer and offered her vocals on the song They Don’t Know, by Battersea group So Solid Crew.
Niomi then signed a one-off single deal with London Record and released her garage track ‘Booo!’ which reached chart success at number 12.
This would become the first of many chart hits as the star released her debut album, A Little Deeper, in 2002 which featured the hit songs It Takes More and her most known Ms Dy-na-mi-tee as well as other hits which captured her feelings about society.
In 2002, the then 21-year-old beat The Streets, The Coral, and David Bowie to win the coveted Mercury Music Prize Award as the first Black female music artist.
The conscious star then donated the £20,000 prize to children’s charity NSPCC.
Niomi returned home as her career took off, to take care of her mother.
Music runs in the family as Niomi’s brother has also stormed onto the music scene.
The star’s younger brother is Akala born Kingslee James Daley who raps, writes and has become a political activist over the years.
In 2003 the artist gave birth to a son, Shavaar with fiancé Dwayne Seaforth by her side, but two years later the couple split.
She refocused on music again and in 2005 released another album – Judgement Days.
Niomi went on to achieve further success and acclaim by winning two Brit Awards and three MOBO Awards and by 2018 she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Speaking to the Guardian she said: “When I found out I was being offered an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, my initial reaction was – no way.”
Niomi continues to perform and even featured on Peckham artist – Katy B’s hit single Lights On.
The Londoner continues to promote and give back to the Black community by raising awareness for movement such as Black Pound Day.