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In Conversation with Speech Debelle

Speech Debelle, whose given name is Corynne Elliot, came onto our radar in 2009 when she met great critical acclaim having won the Mercury music award for her debut album, Speech Therapy - an impressive feat without considering she was the first female to do so in seven years.

After a spot of time away she came back to grace us with the brilliant EP, titled 'breathe.', comprising four aural tour de force tracks you'll be reciting endlessly. Starting with 'The Work', Speech's growth of sound and self are evident, whilst her signature matter-of-fact expression remains. The EP ends on 'No War No Peace' with a call to battle that demands a response, the bass-line of which lets you know it had better be an affirmative one.

Laying jazzy, yet soulful, melodies over a heavy samba-style beat - think Lianne La Havas' husky yet easy tones over a Notting Hill Carnival rhythm and you're on the right track - Speech Debelle lyrically ushers us gently through the truths of our day-to-day lives. Having strived, without much success, throughout my teen years to get into hip-hop, it really wasn't until I listened to "Better Days" on Speech Therapy that I felt I understood the genre as a fan. Something about the grind involved in self-work spoke to my 19-year-old self in a way that nothing musical had quite managed to achieve until that point. So it seems fitting then, that the quality that first drew me in to Speech Debelle's style and music, her relatability, won out when we met; what transpired was an only slightly anxiously-charged lesson in life, perspective, and personal growth.