After more than a year of lockdowns, Lady Sanity is back, performing for an audience of thousands at Edgbaston Stadium this month. We catch up with the excited rapper…
The first time we interviewed Lady Sanity was three years ago, shortly before she blew people away performing for a global audience of more than one billion at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The rapper was among the Brum stars who featured as the Games torch was passed from Australia’s Gold Coast to Birmingham 2022. Today, we are talking again – and weirdly the sporting theme continues as the singer prepares to make her first major, post-pandemic public appearance to a live audience this month.
Sanity will play to thousands of cricket fans at Edgbaston Stadium, and many hundreds of thousands more on Sky TV and BBC on 23 July as part of the launch of the first matches in the new Hundred competition. Cricket and rapping might seem odd bedfellows but Sanity said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be singing in front of a big crowd. I’ve been waiting to perform in public for over 18 months since the virus and lockdowns struck. Now I can’t wait to get on stage again.”
The Hundred brings together high-octane music and sporting entertainment to a younger, more vibrant audience which Sanity says is the perfect platform to get back to performing live. “I’ve spent the pandemic pretty much at home, working from my own little studio,” she says. “It’s been a strange one, looking at lots of different avenues. Lots of online stuff and being creative in lots of other ways. Before the pandemic, I had been trying to get out of spending so much time in my own space. I’d done some studio and writing sessions with different producers like Delirious, Emmavie, BlueLabBeats and Dj Zinc. Lockdown stopped all that. I’m used to being performing and meeting new people so it was hard not being able to do that.
Edgbaston will be my first big-scale show in all that time. I’ve really missed the live interaction, so I’m proper excited to be playing to what will be a full capacity crowd of 30,000 people.”
Sanity is promising a ‘high-energy’ set for the hometown fans which will include L.O.V.E her recent new release which she says is a heartfelt and insightful piece that explores the truest meaning of the feeling. The track which has a soulful and warm vibe and evocative lyrics sees Sanity joined by singer Jay Alexzander.
Post Edgbaston, Sanity has a few other live dates lined up, including the MADE Festival at Sandwell Valley Country Park at the end of this month and a festival in Belgium postponed because of the pandemic until September. But she says her focus over the coming months is to “buckle down and work on some more new music” with the help of Power Up, a new initiative providing funding to empower black musicians. She reckons this will take about a year or so as she is starting to work more with a live band, which takes more time.
“The guys in the band – they’re all from Birmingham except one guy who is from Kidderminster – I met for the first time at the Commonwealth Games,” Sanity adds. “Writing more music, working with a live band means I can make music that builds around my voice. Before, it was the reverse and I had to make my voice fit around the music.”
It’s all part of the development of a performer who was earmarked as a rising star on the UK rap scene after being spotted by BBC Introducing in 2015. She subsequently rocked at Glastonbury and won a clutch of industry awards. She’s always been fiercely proud of being a Brummie and the city has featured in some of her music. She’s a real hometown girl and says the past year or so has not just been tough professionally but also personally.
“I’ve lost a few people in the pandemic, some older relatives. It’s been a hard one, but I’m trying to look to the positives. I’ve been able to keep in touch with my family during the worst period with Zoom meets. And now at last I can see all my music friends.”