Tuesday, 20 December 2011

2011 Honours: Lioness - A Hot Chick with BITE....


Outside of the ESP family, there are quite a few highlights that have made my first year memorable. It wouldn't be right if I didn't pay homage to those that stood out the most so, as the year draws to a close, I'm bringing you my '2011 Honours List'.

First up: Lioness - A Female Allstar...

Lioness - Photo courtesy of Butterflyphoto.co.uk

In my best GHETTS impression; "Izabelle is a Gelle" that if you don't already, you should really get to know.

First introduced to the works of Mz. Fender by her Manager, Radio 1Xtra DJ and Presenter Ace, I remember how he gushed about these two amazing talents he was working with (the other being Bianca Monet - more about Miss M coming soon); and how he couldn't wait for the new year to put his plans for both into action.

The first time I saw Lioness perform was at a North London University showcase. Catching the tail-end of her set, she was talking to the audience between songs when I arrived. Unimposing and not half as scary as she sounded in her recordings, I actually mistook her for hype support; scanning the stage for the real artist, who obviously had to be out of sight from my 'back of the room' view. Then she launched into 'Black High Heels' and set me straight...

Entranced by her confidence and skill, it wasn't until the song's end that I realised; she had so swept me up in the story, I forgot that she was dominating with her club night tale, in baggy blue denim dungarees, a white tee and some kicks...she literally performed magic I have not forgotten to this day.

So hypnotic were her style and delivery, that Lioness' sex appeal had every eye in the room fooled. What they saw was everyday, casual street style, but what they heard was matching La Perla sets and untold Secrets kept by Vicky. By the time she wrapped 'Good For A Girl', I remember thinking "Good? Girl? Your talent isn't even human, love!"

Introduced afterward, Izabelle was sweet, charming and not nearly as braggadocious as five minutes prior! The following day I jumped onto her website, downloaded 'Loch Ness Monster', and got my late self up-to-speed on exactly who Ace had been schooling me on. Class was now in session.

Loch Ness Monster - Lioness

A few months later at the Female DJ Takeover launch, I didn't actually recognise the gorgeous Glamazon who turned up for her set. Once again, the almost shy, friendly Izabelle disappeared on stage and a fierce Lioness sent an already hyped crowd to the funny farm; only to retract her claws 15 minutes later.

Running into one another at event after event, I soon learned that whilst the stage persona - larger than life, devouring   competitors like endless plates of 1/2 Peri Peri chicken and rice from her favourite establishment - is an apt one; behind it is really just an extremely talented, funny, highly intelligent young woman, evolving and perfecting her craft.

Roarness (download)
By early September, with a new EP and HUGE launch event, came a fresh outlook. By her own admission, she was now taking her grind more seriously and her immense talent found a new playground as a result.


'RoarNess' is a literal work of art that left 'Mona Lisa's' critics looking a bit silly, really.


Full-to-brimming with infectious tracks, it has that 'album feel' that I so love amidst today's mixtape madness. With an overall flow as shapely as her "BlackBerry figure", Lioness brought her friends and family along for the ride in such a way, that she still remains front and centre. Each artist compliments their track, no-one overshadows anyone. Instead she celebrates her talented circle and their obviously close relationships with support that is unmistakable, and it clearly inspires the creative output.


With features from In'sight, Lady Leshurr, Amplify Dot, AL, Julie Iwheta and the earlier-mentioned Ghetts, to name but a few, RoarNess really IS big enough to justify the goal of a music video for each track (check her out in this one, rockin' a lil deer oh deer ltd swag...). 


'Don't Tell Me' - Lioness

She has raised the bar so high for herself, that her Star is literally shooting. In the last three months alone, there was that 'Neva Soft' remix for SoulCulture Co-Sign; with the legend that is Ms. Dynamite, and Ness' bonafides Amplify Dot & Lady Leshurr...


Followed by collaborations with the likes of Tanya Lacey (Letter To My Ex Remix), Jareth (Pathway) and most recently Lea-Anna, Ce'cile and Lady Leshurr (Murder - First Degree Remix)...

Stages have been shredded everywhere. You would have had to have been surviving under the Rock of Gibraltar if you haven't heard about her headline shows, that Biggafish Tour, or the UK Female Allstars at November's 1Xtra Live show, with a handful of her fellow UK Top 10 female MCs (RoxXxan, Baby Blue, Mz. Bratt and of course Leshurr and A.Dot).

After such a huge year, I for one cannot wait for that April album release. I'm sorry...but competition, I ask you - is it even worth your turning up next Spring?

Izabelle 'Lioness' Fender: you are so sick that you are a Gray's Anatomy Illness - #iSaluteU.