Ms Dynamite’s highs and lows as rapper turns 40 – £1m Pepsi deal to sad split

Ms Dynamite burst onto the scene over two decades ago and she turns 40 years old on April 26.

The British rapper, real name Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley, was born and raised in North London to a Jamaican father and a Scottish mother and is one of 11 children.

She became involved in music almost by accident after a friend offered her a presenter's slot on a pirate radio station.

The show was a success and led to a stint on Freak FM. From there she broke into performing, appearing with garage band So Solid Crew on their hit They Don't Know.

Signed for a one-off single deal to London Records in 2001, her first single Booo! went into the charts at number 12 and became one of that summer's most popular records. An album contract with Polydor followed.

She later went on to release her debut album, A Little Deeper, in 2002, which featured hit songs It Takes More and the iconic Dy-Na-Mi-Tee.

The star won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in the same year for album and she donated the £20,000 prize to the children's charity NSPCC.

She also performed at the closing ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games at the City of Manchester Stadium.

In 2003, Niomi signed a deal to promote Pepsi, reported to be worth £1 million.

She also gave birth to a baby boy, Shavaar – Persian for "prince" – with fiancé Dwayne Seaforth by her side. The pair went their separate ways two years later.

An insider said at the time: "Niomi's father walked out when she was little so she's all to aware of how a separation might affect a child.
"She and Dwayne have talked the situation through and he's going to play a full and active part in raising their son."

After the arrival of her son, Niomi took a two-year break from music to concentrate on being a mum.

She returned to the limelight in 2005, though, with her second politically-informed album Judgement Days featuring a plea to Tony Blair on the track Mr Prime Minister.

The singer-songwriter also performed at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London in 2005.

Among the songs performed was Redemption Song written by Bob Marley, which she performed alongside her brother, Akala.

After taking a break from the music scene, Ms Dynamite guest-hosted BBC Radio 1Xtra, and she stated that she would be releasing a third album.

She planned to release Democracy in 2009, with the first single from the album being Bad Gyal, however this was pushed back as instead concentrated on other projects and motherhood.

The musician appeared on Hell's Kitchen on ITV in 2009, finishing in fourth place.

She also popped up as an expert adviser on Goldie's Band: By Royal Appointment on BBC Two.

Ms Dynamite has appeared on several collaborations in recent years, mostly notably Katy B's second single Lights On, which peaked at number four in the UK Singles Chart in 2010.

The artist also popped up Magnetic Man's track Fire, which appeared on their debut album.

Ms Dynamite more recently appeared as a featured vocalist on the DJ Fresh vs Jay Fray's catchy single Dibby Dibby Sound in 2013 and she teamed up with world-renowned DJ David Guetta in 2014.

Over her career, the songstress has won two Brit Awards and three MOBO Awards.

She also was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2018 Birthdays Honour for services to music.

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Speaking about her visit to Buckingham Palace, Niomi told The Guardian at the time: "'When I found out I was being offered an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, my initial reaction was – no way."

Her younger brother is rapper, poet and political activist Akala, real name Kingslee James Daley.

In 2006, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards.

Fans can catch Ms Dynamite performing to crowds across the globe at music festivals and she often shares personal snaps on her Instagram page.

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