Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - NUI TE KOHA On A Mis­sion out now ( Sony)

Dis­sect­ing 2011’ s best pop re­lease.

KATY B has been or­dered to be­have like a pop star.

‘‘ I al­ways end up at Brix­ton McDon­ald’s at three in the morn­ing, drunk, and hold­ing a Fileto-Fish,’’ she gig­gles.

‘‘ But I can’t do that any more. My record com­pany says I need to be aware of the dan­gers.’’ Such as? ‘‘ Oh, they think I’ll be kid­napped,’’ Katy B says, sur­prised at her own an­swer.

‘‘ There are some id­iots out there. It only takes one per­son who thinks they’re be­ing funny by punch­ing you in the face.

‘‘ I have to be sen­si­ble and street-wise. That’s the best way to say it, re­ally, be­cause I’m not scared.’’

Katy B, 22, born Kath­leen Brien, is from the tough streets of Peck­ham, South Lon­don, where ri­ot­ing broke out re­cently. She grad­u­ated from the BRIT School, a per­form­ing arts hot spot whose roll of hon­our in­cludes Amy Wine­house, Adele, Jessie J and Leona Lewis. She did a de­gree in pop­u­lar mu­sic at univer­sity, but ‘‘ hated re­view­ing my strengths and weak­nesses at nine in the morn­ing with a han­gover’’. ‘‘ Most mu­sic cour­ses are like that – analysing and eval­u­at­ing your­self. It’s hard be­cause I’m a do-er,’’ she says.

‘‘ I want to do it, rather than think about what I did and how I did it.’’

Strangely, Katy B is now in a place where crit­ics are dis­sect­ing her de­but al­bum and mus­ing about its ef­fect on the pop­scape.

On A Mis­sion, nom­i­nated for Bri­tain’s pres­ti­gious Mer­cury Prize, is ar­guably the best pop re­lease of 2011.

It be­gan humbly enough, as a po­ten­tial show reel for DJs and pro­duc­ers at un­der­ground Lon­don FM sta­tion Rinse. But as col­lab­o­ra­tions with Rinse play­ers Geeneus, DJ Zinc and Benga took shape, the fo­cus shifted back to Katy B.

‘‘ I didn’t make this al­bum for a pop au­di­ence,’’ she says.

‘‘ I made it for peo­ple who lis­ten to Rinse FM, or peo­ple in the clubs, or peo­ple in their room.

‘‘ I wasn’t both­ered about reach­ing ev­ery­one. It was for peo­ple who wanted to con­nect to it.’’

On A Mis­sion has broad ap­peal. Lyri­cally, Katy B re­flects on be­ing young, rest­less and ravey over slick back­drops of dub­step, bro­ken beat, elec­tro and house.

‘‘ I started out singing soul and jazz, but I got bored – I don’t want to be an­other Joss Stone,’’ she says.

Her time at the BRIT School taught Katy B to cast her ideas far and wide and she was also in a place of learn­ing with like minds.

She re­calls for­mer class­mate Jessie J singing in a bar in Croy­don as part of their per­for­mance exam. But she mostly re­mem­bers one singer as a cut above all oth­ers.

‘‘ Adele was as amaz­ing as she is now,’’ she says. ‘‘ She was a year above me but she was like 10 years ahead of ev­ery­one there.

‘‘ It was like she was al­ready formed as an artist. At school, ev­ery­one would do the Bey­once song they’d heard on TV the night be­fore. ‘‘ But Adele would do rock or in­die or reg­gae – and just be amaz­ing. She knew how to do

her own thing.’’

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