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"Brum is always gonna be in my blood"

MOBO Award-winning, Solihull-born rapper, singer, songwriter and producer Lady Leshurr first exploded into the spotlight in 2015 when her ‘Queen Speech’ freestyles went viral on YouTube, racking up over 100 million views to date.

Renowned for bigging up her hometown of Birmingham in her music, who else would we have chosen to help build excitement for the Games to come to our city?

Between releasing new music and mastering her skating skills for the next series of Dancing On Ice (airing in the New Year), we caught up with the UK’s queen of grime to get her perspective on the Games coming to Birmingham in 2022…

“Mate, this is absolutely huge! I just didn’t think I’d ever be asked to do anything like this…

“I’m just really happy they chose me to be the forefront and representing it. Obviously, Brum is always gonna be in my blood, in my veins. I scream it everywhere I go, no matter where I am in the world.”

Born to parents from the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts, Lady Leshurr (full name Melesha O’Garro) first found her passion for music at a youth club in Kinghurst, Solihull. Her skills as an artist and performer flourished as she went from high school talent shows to selling out gigs at The Custard Factory.

In Queen Speech 4, her most popular freestyle with over 62 million views, she raps about being from the ‘0121’:

“I don’t think I’d be the same person if I wasn’t from Birmingham. The accent is just one thing, but the sense of humour, the personality and the banter is next scale. I can always tell from someone’s energy if they have been brought up in Birmingham. I think we just bring so much to the table.

“We’re fearless, we stand down to no one, we create our own opportunities…I want people to remember us for being light-hearted, always having a good time, and to know that we’re serious when it comes to talent.”

Earlier this month, Lady Leshurr was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, being awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to music and charity, following the release of ‘Quarantine Speech’. She wrote the comical yet incredibly clever rap to remind people to “wash your hands” during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic:

“I was actually planning to quit music at the start of the year, then the pandemic hit. I thought “oh my gosh, everyone is so frustrated, so who is the best person to tell everyone else to ‘wash their hands’!?” I felt like the people needed me. So, I learnt how to use my studio equipment and I edited the Quarantine Speech video myself. I recorded it on my mic, then set up my phone at different angles in my house and cut the video together. I just didn’t think that this would be the reason why I’ve been recognised by the Queen.

“I always say: “whenever you’re about to quit, is the moment when you’re about to step up to the next level”. It happened to me – I’ve been able to transition from music, to daytime TV, now to Dancing On Ice.”

With exciting projects on the horizon for between now and 2022, we couldn’t let her go without asking whether a ‘Commonwealth Games speech’ could be on the cards…

“Imagine! Well, we’ll see what we can whip up – never say never!”

Lady Leshurr brings her energy to our latest campaign, where she features alongside elite athletes from the West Midlands including world-record holder and Olympic Champion swimmer Adam Peaty MBE, Para World European Athletics Champion Kare Adenegan and cricketer Amy Jones amongst others.

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