Warning: Kate Tempest will connect you with your emotions and the cold, callous world around you. You may cry.
Of all the artists I saw at SXSW this year, Tempest was the one I'll never forget. The London hip-hop artist, playwright and poet speaks with a clarity and honesty unencumbered by code or lingo, with stories that cut to the very heart of how we try to survive and embrace our time on Earth. At the Tiny Desk, she jumps straight into the fire with a spoken-word story of a soldier that looks at both the bravery and horror of conflict and war. She honesty left few eyes dry. And it's not simply her intent to make us weepy, she just understands the importance of us, her audience, and deems it the only imperative to connect with those in a room. She did that here at NPR; I wasn't the only one with tears. And then there are her songs, filled with stories and characters from her album Everybody Down that deal with love in a time of adversity. Intense and heartfelt — enjoy and beware.
Everybody Down is available on iTunes and Amazon.
- "Ballad of a Hero"
- "The Beigeness (KwAkE BASS remix)"
- "The Truth (KwAkE BASS remix)"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lani Milton/NPR