Speech Debelle


Speech Debelle (born Corynne Elliot, 1983, London, England)

Speech Debelle is a British hip-hop artist, signed to Big Dada. In 2009, she won the coveted Mercury Music Prize.

Speech Debelle: Childhood

Speech Debelle was raised by her mother, after her father left the family home when she was six years old. She attended the Harris City Academy in Croydon. Speech was in frequent trouble at school and was eventually suspended. She left with no qualifications.

Speech started writing poetry when she was around nine years old and began rapping at around 13. As a child, she was inspired by the likes of Michael Jackson, TLC, Mary J Blige and a number of reggae artists.

When she was 19, Speech Debelle left the family home, after an argument with her mother. She lived in homeless hostels for four years, though she has stated that she did not consider herself to be homeless, as she kept contact with her mother and often stayed at friends' houses. At the age of 23, Speech returned to the family home and started contacting record labels, sending out her demo tapes. Eventually, Big Dada Records took her on board.

Speech Debelle: Music

Big Dada is also home to the likes of Roots Manuva, one of British hip-hop's leading lights, as well as upcoming artists such as Juice Aleem and Spank Rock.

Speech Debelle released her debut album, Speech Therapy in May 2009. Three singles have been released from the album, 'The Key', 'Go Then, Bye' and 'Searching' and one album track, 'Better Days' features Mica, from Micachu and the Shapes. Prior to the release of the album, Speech Debelle was featured on the cover of the last ever issue of Plan B magazine.

In 2009, Speech Debelle played at Glastonbury Festival. She was also scheduled to play at Latitude Festival but missed her time slot when she got stuck in traffic on the way there.

In July of that year, Speech Therapy was announced as one of the 12 short-listed albums for that year's Mercury Music Prize. She was announced as the winner in September, having beaten the likes of Friendly Fires, Kasabian, The Horrors and Florence and the Machine.

Biography by Contactmusic.com
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