Mercury winner, Speech Debelle, to quit south London over traffic congestion
Just a week after sensationally scooping the Mercury Music Prize, Speech Debelle is saying goodbye to south London to escape its “traffic and parking” problems.
The fact that the Crystal Palace born hip hop artist has decided to move out of her mum’s home in Streatham Vale comes as no surprise.
But the fact the former Norwood School pupil looks set to move north of the river will be a big shock to many.
On Tuesday she told the Streatham Guardian that she was leaving her south London roots because she had had enough of traffic congestion and wanted to broaden her horizons.
She said: "Its a real nightmare to drive round here, and don't even talk to me about parking. At least in North London I can get above 20mph."
But she said her decision was testament to her promise "to keep her feet on the ground" despite her new-found success.
She said: "Nothing has really changed. I will still always be about the music. I think the album deserved to win."
The 26-year-old was transformed overnight from a little known artist selling less than 3,000 copies of her debut album, Speech Therapy, to the most talked about name in the music business.
The rapper- whose music has many jazz influences - has turned down interest from major labels interested in signing her from her current independent label DaDa Records since scooping the award - considered the most prestigious for "real" UK contemporary music.
However Speech - real name Corynne Elliot - said she is more interested in starting her own label and supporting up-and-coming artists.
The singer was born in Crystal Palace but a troubled childhood saw her leave home in her teens.
Her experiences living in hostels across south London formed the basis for many of the lyrics on her debut album.
But she said she has "good memories" of her childhood south of the river - including visiting the Megabowl and Streatham Ice Rink when she was younger - then a pupil at St Luke's Primary School in West Norwood.
Now she is set to spend her last days in the area for some time.
She leaves on a UK and European tour on September 25, and will then be looking to do dates in the US and Australia. She says she is looking at flats away from south London to live in when she comes back.
She said: "I have always wanted to broaden my horizons."
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