2021 is looking like another tough one, but Birmingham emcee Lady Sanity is more motivated than ever to stamp her name on the UK scene this year.
Sanity made her name in Brum’s grime scene with some undeniable skills behind the mic. But on her latest five track EP Sanity has subverted everyone’s exceptions, taking influence from old school hip-hop and jazz to create an amazingly diverse project with producer Cuzn Fred.
We caught up with Lady Sanity to talk about her start in music and the ‘A Problem Shared’ EP.
I’ve got to start by asking about your name, what’s the story behind it?
I started rapping in school and my name was ‘Young S’ but… as I started getting ready to leave and taking my music more serious I was like I’m not going to be ‘Young’ forever. As you do when you leave school – you think you’re hella grown. So, I went on a little search for a new name. I was at my cousins house and one of the music video channels was on in the background playing ‘Dizzee Rascal -Bonkers’. The line where he says ‘let sanity give me the slip’ kept standing out for me and I was just like…”Sanity!” I liked the name – liked what it stood for so that was that.
Have you been able to keep your sanity with all the crazy stuff going on in the world right now?
Hm. Sometimes. I think one thing we can all agree on is that are emotions and state of minds are constantly up and down during this thing. Somedays I wake up feeling so low and annoyed with everything happening in the world. But then there have been quite a few occasions I’m like, “I’ve got this” or… “I’ve gotta use this time to my advantage”… It’s all balance though. I have to use the lows to really appreciate the highs.
When did you first get into making music?
It was a gradual thing. I was constantly being exposed to music, whether it was reggae in my dads cars; I had a lot of older cousins, each of them would play anything ranging from Hip-Hop and R&B to Heavy Metal… my big sister listening to UK Garage and Grime when it all first started to pop off. And being the youngest I had no say. I think the combination just allowed me to fall in love with it all though. Just sound in general.
So when I hit secondary school I started writing lyrics and playing guitar. I’d post things online and then kids at school caught onto it and would ask me to rap in the playground. I got a bit of recording equipment for Christmas and birthdays and eventually would record & attempt to ‘mix’ myself and some of my school friends music.
What’s the scene like in Birmingham for upcoming emcees?
Healthy – but could definitely be better. I think it’s hard to find your feet here. Unless you get your own setup… theres a lack of programmes and places for emcees to hone their skills, create, collaborate and experiment. We definitely have the talent. It’s the infrastructure that’s not there. So it’s hard to really establish yourself professionally.
I loved your ‘A Problem Shared’ EP, a lot of the lyrics are about keeping your head up through struggles. How do you find the motivation to write the uplifting bars?
Thank you. Some of my best songs or most motivational ones are written when I’m actually in a really low place mentally. I’ve found that writing when I’m in that headspace, I almost take on the personality that I need. I say the things that I need to hear to make me feel uplifted but also try to stay as realistic as possible about the situation. I think honesty with yourself and your listener is key.
What’s your favourite track off that EP and why?
It literally changes every hour. It genuinely depends on what mood I’m in. Because I’m kinda chilled right now and in deep thought it would probably be ‘A Problem Shared’. Production wise it has that mellow vibe but lyrically it’s packed with a lot of raw emotion.
But then if I had to perform it all live it would probably be ‘My Ones’ for the hype.
Finally, 2021 is looking like another rough one, but what are you looking to achieve this year – what should we expect from Lady Sanity?
Collaborations. During pretty much every lockdown I’ve worked on new material, mainly collaborations with other artists and new producers. If anything I’m looking at this positively and telling myself there’s no other time or way that I’d be able to work with so many creatives. I’m usually up and down travelling doing shows etc. and so is everyone else. But now – everyones in their yard, everyones trying to stay motivated or active. So if there’s ever a time to shoot your shot it’s now.