Kate Tempest

“I thought poets were people who stood on stage wearing berets” said poet and rapper Kate Tempest in the live recording of her new spoken word album last week at Battersea Arts Centre
I first met Kate a few years ago when I bought her Cannibal Kids demo CD after watching her perform live onstage at Camp Bestival
The raw, lyrical beauty and brutality of her words haunted me with images that crowded my head

“These cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
Because, round here, the sirens and screams float on the wind
And even the street shudders
Yes even the street shudders
Round here
These cannibal kids want to be kings
They don’t know that kindness is courage
Or that sympathy sings much louder than violence
They are bitter and drained
Eyes of ice stare from figures of flames
They, puff-chested, restless, nameless
They carry their pain to the point of being painless… ”

Since then I’ve been a diehard fan and last Thursday, as she prepared for her live performance, I got time with her on her lunchtime fag break to shoot this portrait for Flamingo Magazine

I’m not sure who created the mural on the wall but its faded beauty and pervading sense of ‘dreams in decay’ provided the perfect backdrop for such a raw, passionate and contemporary poet as the uniquely talented Renegade Kate Tempest

kate tempest by john hicks