Lady Sovereign: Wikis


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Lady Sovereign
A white female in her mid-20s raps into a microphone.
Background information
Birth name Louise Amanda Harman
Also known as Sov
Born 19 December 1985 (1985-12-19) (age 24)
Origin Wembley, London, England
Genres Grime, electro-hop, hip hop
Occupations Rapper
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2003–present
Labels Midget Records, Casual, Chocolate Industries, Def Jam

Louise Amanda Harman (born 19 December 1985),[1] better known by the stage name Lady Sovereign, is an English rapper and grime artist.[2][3] She is noted for her small stature, her hip-hop style of dressing (particularly her liking for the Stussy clothing label),[4] and professionally for her success in performing styles of music generally dominated by young males.


Early life and family

Lady Sovereign was born Louise Amanda Harman to Colin Adien Harman and Nicola (nee Wood). She was raised in North West London's Chalkhill Council Estate in Wembley. She has a sister, Chloe Christie (born 1984) and a brother, Richie Colin (born 1987).[5] She was influenced by her mother's Salt-n-Pepa albums and began writing her own raps at the age of 11 and a half. She began MCing "in front of a mirror with a can of hairspray for a mic." She was inspired by Ms. Dynamite: "When I heard Ms. Dynamite's track 'Boooo!' in 2001 it inspired me. I hadn't heard a female MC before that... she's real... her presence... her image... the way she does everything... she opened so many doors for us girls [...] MCs are real, they write their own stuff, they rap about what they know, the stuff around them."[6]

She began uploading some of her songs to various music Web sites. Around this time Harman adopted the Lady Sovereign moniker, a reference to the large sovereign ring she wore.[2] After dropping out of school she landed a job acting in an educational film about the life of an up-and-coming MC who also dropped out of Preston Manor High School at 14.

She convinced the film's producers that she could record a soundtrack for the film, the demos for which landed in the hands of record producer Medasyn. He partnered Sovereign with Frost P, Zuz Rock, and Shystie for a male vs. female MC freestyle contest, titled "The Battle". It was released in 2003 on Casual Records. Every artist that was featured on "The Battle" has gone on to be signed by a record label.

Her mother has a terminal brain tumour - this has been suggested[7] as a contributing factor in Lady Sovereign's behaviour. On March 14th (Mothers Day in the U.K), 2010, her mother passed away[8].


Early singles and EPs

"The Battle" began a string of singles that would push Lady Sovereign into the spotlight. While "A Little Bit of Shhh!", "9 to 5", and "Sad arse Stripper" were selling well, free Internet-only freestyles like "Tango" and "Cheeky" were becoming just as popular. On 15 November 2005, Chocolate Industries released the Vertically Challenged EP, which collected most of her singles recorded to date. In April 2006 she released her second EP, Blah Blah in the UK. She released yet another EP, but was limited for US radios; Size Don't Matter!

Lady Sovereign at Reading Festival, 2006

Aside from her own records, 2005 saw Lady Sovereign appear as a guest or contributor on several projects. She began 2005 by appearing on the grime compilation Run the Road, both as a solo artist and with The Streets. When The Ordinary Boys released the single "Boys Will Be Boys", Lady Sovereign came back with a reply remix, featuring the music and chorus of the original, but with mostly her own vocals to the tune of "girls will be girls". In May 2006, she was featured on the Ordinary Boys single, "Nine2Five", a remixed version of her own "9 to 5", credited as "The Ordinary Boys vs Lady Sovereign." "Nine2Five" entered at #39 in the UK top 40 singles on downloads only, and jumped to #6 upon availability as a CD and 7" vinyl single during the week commencing 22 May 2005. This is her highest chart position to date.

Def Jam and Public Warning

Lady Sovereign capped off 2005 by meeting with the American hip hop artist and CEO of the labels Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records, Jay-Z. This marked her foray into the American music scene. With Usher and L.A. Reid seated next to him, Jay-Z asked for one on-the-spot freestyle from Sovereign before offering her a contract with Def Jam. With the single "Hoodie", Lady Sovereign released her full-length debut, Public Warning, on Def Jam in 2006.[2] Lady Sovereign is the first non-American female to ever be signed to Def Jam Record Label.[3][9]

On 31 October 2006, her debut album, Public Warning, was released, featuring "Random", "9 to 5", "Hoodie" and single, "Love Me or Hate Me," which was also released on the same day.[10][11] The music video for the single features Lady Sovereign mocking stereotypical ideals of femininity by satirizing popular dress and mannerisms. Some of the lyrics include I'm fat, I need a diet/No, in fact I'm just too light/I ain't got the biggest breast-ises,/but I write all the best disses/I've got hairy armpits/But I don't walk around like this/I wear a big baggy t-shirt that hides that nasty shit. With the lyrics continuing in this satirical nature, Lady Sovereign continues to comment on and express her dissonance with female lifestyles in popular culture.[12] She began an American tour on 23 October 2006 and soon after appeared on Late Show with David Letterman. In addition to her own tour, she appeared as the opening act for various artists, including The Streets and Gwen Stefani on her 2007 The Sweet Escape Tour.

On 17 October 2009 "Love Me or Hate Me" became the first video by a British artist to reach #1 on the United States (and original) version of MTV's Total Request Live.[2][3] "Love Me Or Hate Me" was released in the UK on 29 January 2007,[13] with the album following on 5 February 2007.[14]

Lady Sovereign has recorded a cover of The Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant" for The O.C.'s new album, Music From The O.C. Mix 6 "Covering Our Tracks".


Lady Sovereign released a second album in spring 2009. She also went on tour.[15] After a final dispute with Island Records, it was revealed on her official webpage that she was going to release on her independent record label, "Midget Records", and that her second studio album was fully written and some songs were already recorded. She also said the album was going to be released in the United States and United Kingdom on 7 April 2009. On Monday, 8 December 2008, Lady Sovereign restated that her new album, titled Jigsaw, would be released on 6 April 2009. She also released a free single entitled "I Got You Dancing", making it available on her MySpace site and her official website.

Celebrity Big Brother

Lady Sovereign was the third evicted housemate from the seventh and final series of Celebrity Big Brother. She was nominated for both first and second evictions. Having survived the first double eviction, she was evicted the second time around with 69.5% of the vote. While in the house she said to Nicola Tappenden that she had had lesbian relationships, the most recent of which ended shortly before she entered the house. Tappenden asked her if she has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, to which she said she hadn't had a boyfriend for years. Tappenden asked her if she is more attracted to girls; Lady Sovereign confirmed that to be the case.[16]

Television and commercial appearances

Lady Sovereign has appeared on Soccer AM several times. She has appeared in a feature story on Cartoon Network and in an educational movie called X-ED which can be viewed on YouTube.[17]

In late 2006, "Love Me or Hate Me" was played in a Verizon Wireless advertisement. It also appears on the soundtrack of the video game Need for Speed: Carbon, and is the theme music for the show The Bad Girls Club. "9 to 5" also appears on The Bad Girls Club, as well as on the soundtrack of the Xbox 360's version of EA Sports' FIFA World Cup 2006 video game, on the Ugly Betty soundtrack and features in the 2007 film St. Trinian's. "Random" appears on the Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix soundtrack.

"Hoodie" was used for the Mario Party Nintendo DS commercial.

On 23 October 2006, Sovereign made an appearance on American talk show The Late Show with David Letterman. During her performance of "Love Me Or Hate Me" the lyrics "If you hate me, then fuck you" were changed to "if you hate me, then I hate you".

Lady Sovereign served as the host and spokesperson for Adult Swim and Chocolate Industries] Chocolate Swim.

Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham Racing 4 video game on the Xbox 360 features the song "Blah Blah" by Lady Sovereign.

EA's Fight Night Round 4 video game features Lady Sovereign's "Bang Bang" track.

In January 2010 Bally Total Fitness selected Lady Sovereign and her song "I Got You Dancing" for the featured artist section on their website, the song is also being used in their television commercials..

"So Human" appears in season 2 episode 2 of the television series '90210'.

On 22 January 2010, Sovereign was due to appear on This Week, a BBC political review show, to discuss the laws regarding self-defence for householders. Early in the programme, she was shown backstage waving to camera in anticipation of her appearance. However, when the segment began, presenter Andrew Neil apologised to viewers and explained the rapper had "done a runner." Neil instead discussed the topic with regular contributors Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott and concluded by joking "Who needs Lady Sovereign? Who is Lady Sovereign?" Abbott laughed and responded "I don't know."[18] In an interview with The Guardian's Rich Pelley on 30 January, Lady Sovereign said of the incident: "I had a panic attack! My hands went stiff and I started hyperventilating. I didn't want to do it hours before but I went anyway, then I just changed my mind at the last minute, I guess."[19]


"Random Night" and aftermath

In 2006, a San Francisco based fan named Zach Slow made an online plea to raise $10,000 for a "random" night with Lady Sovereign. The effort garnered wide media coverage, and was successful in both raising the required funds and securing the agreement of the artist to attend.[20] The aftermath was acrimonious, with both sides exchanging insults in the San Francisco Chronicle.[21][22]

Andrew Bancroft, a local MC known as "Jelly Donut", originally involved with the "random night" endeavour, attended a 7 January 2007 show in Maidstone dressed in a donut costume and attempted to disrupt the performance, throwing a drink and spitting. Security escorted Jelly Donut out of the concert.[23]

Arrest for assault

In September 2009, whilst in Brisbane, Australia for the Parklife Festival, Lady Sovereign was arrested for assault and drunk and disorderly behaviour after spitting on a nightclub bouncer, claiming a transvestite had attacked her in the club's bathroom.[24] She had only been in the country 7 hours before the assault occurred, and spent her first Australian night in jail. She was ordered to pay a fine of $400AUD and $200AUD in compensation to the bouncer.[25]


Lady Sovereign discography
Studio albums 2
Extended plays 3
Singles 9
Music videos 12
Promo singles 4
Tours 2


Year Album Peak chart positions[26][27]
2006 Public Warning 58 97 45
2009 Jigsaw 120 87 152


Year Title
2005 Vertically Challenged
2006 Blah Blah
Size Don't Matter! (Promo EP)


Year Title Chart positions Album
2004 "Ch Ching (Cheque 1 2)" Vertically Challenged
2005 "Random" 73 Public Warning
"9 to 5" 33
"Hoodie" 44
2006 "Nine2Five" (vs. The Ordinary Boys) 6 How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted in Ten Easy Steps
"Love Me or Hate Me" 26 10 48 45 Public Warning
2007 "Those Were the Days" 88
2008 "I Got You Dancing" Ineligible to chart Jigsaw
2009 "So Human" 38 36
2010 My England [Re-Release] - - - - TBA

Promo singles

Year Title
2004 "The Battle" (Featuring Frost P, Shystie & Zuz Rock)
2005 "A Little Bit of Shhh"
2006 "Blah Blah" (featuring Kalie Burgess)
2009 "So Human" Finland Release

Mixtapes and promotional releases

Year Title
2006 Chocolate Swim (EP, free download)[28]
2009 Jig-Raw! (official mixtape, free download, mixed by Jack Beats)[29][30]


  1. ^ Lady Sovereign at IMDB
  2. ^ a b c d Catriona Mathewson (22 February 2007). "Sovereign hits her gold mine".,23663,21235541-5007184,00.html. 
  3. ^ a b c Jasmine Dotiwala (13 February 2007). "Jasmine's Juice". The Voice. 
  4. ^ Douglas, Joanna. "Lady In Waiting". Elle Girl. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Marriages and Births England and Wales 1984-2006
  6. ^ Braddock, Kevin (24 February 2004). "Partners in Grime". The Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  7. ^ Sov wants to make dying mum proud
  8. ^ Lady Sovereign Official Twitter
  9. ^ Simon Price (11 February 2007). "Lady Sovereign, Scala, London". The Independent. 
  10. ^ "Lady Sovereign: Official Site". Def Jam. 
  11. ^ "Lady Sovereign's Warning". Yahoo! Launch. 17 July 2006. 
  12. ^ "Love Me or Hate Me" Video. Lady Sovereign.
  13. ^ BBC Radio 1 Playlist
  14. ^ albums: Public Warning (2007)
  15. ^ - Lady Sovereign - London, UK - Hip Hop / Garage / Autre
  16. ^ Video of 17 January 2010 episode of CBB
  17. ^ X-ED with Lady Sovereign
  18. ^ "Lady Sovereign's brief appearance on This Week". BBC. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 
  19. ^ Pelley, Rich (30 January 2010). "One last thing ... Lady Sovereign". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  20. ^ Help Me Get Random With Lady Sovereign
  21. ^ Pop Quiz: Lady Sovereign
  22. ^ LETTERS / San Francisco man who raised money for a 'date' with Lady Sovereign tells his side of story
  23. ^ Lady Sovereign News on Yahoo! Music
  24. ^ "Lady Sovereign spits on Nightclub bouncer". ABC News. 2009-09-26. 
  25. ^ 26/Sep/2009 British rapper spat on Brisbane bouncer Yahoo news
  26. ^ Lady Sovereign acharts
  27. ^ Public Warning ARIA album chart
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^

External links

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