Niomi McLean-Daley, better known as
the double Brit award- and three-time
Mobo award-winning artist Ms Dynamite,
may have grown up in north west London,
but she takes the helm of a narrowboat in
the gentle Oxford countryside like a natural.
“ I guess people assume that because I grew
up in Camden, I’d have no idea what to do with
myself outside an urban environment. My
mum was strict when I was a kid, so we weren’t
allowed out too much, but my dad lived in Sussex.
We’d spend holidays running amok in the
fields and woods. It was quite exciting: my dad
would come to get us and we’d wonder where
we were off to because he moved around a lot –
it seemed like such an adventure lay ahead.”
She clambers on to the roof of the boat in her
5in heels with such ease it’s a little disconcerting. “I’ve never been on one of these before,” she says. “I’ve seen them at Camden canal
but never really thought you could just hire
one for a day.” She takes the helm and steers
us , only needing a little help when we reach
a drawbridge. She says her son, Shavaar, has
just turned eight and she’s relieved that he
is not the type who is glued to the TV: “If he could live in the garden, he would. As long as
he’s got a football, food and water, he’d be fine.
He’d absolutely love to be on a boat like this.
I’m going to have to bring him on a day trip.” Talking about how she comes up with her
lyrics, she sa ys: “Maybe I’m turning into a bit
of a hippy , but I believe it’s important to be at
one with nature – it grounds and inspires me.
I don’t know who I’d be if I hadn’t had those
childhood escapes .”