Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Kate Tempest

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  Kate Tempest
Labels  Big Dada, Ninja Tune

Instruments  Vocals
Genres  Spoken word, hip-hop
Role  Poet ·
Kate Tempest Kate Tempest 39Rapping changed my life39 Books The Guardian
Full Name  Kate Esther Calvert
Born  22 December 1985 (age 30) (1985-12-22) Brockley, South East London, England
Occupation  Poet, playwright, rapper, recording artist
Notable work  Hopelessly Devoted, Wasted, Brand New Ancients, Everybody Down, Hold Your Own

the heist kate tempest in the woods barn sessions 2014

Kate Tempest (born Kate Esther Calvert, 22 December 1985) is an English poet, spoken-word artist and playwright. In 2013, she won the Ted Hughes Award for her work Brand New Ancients. In 2015-16, she was a visiting fellow in the Department of English at University College London.


Kate Tempest Kate Tempest An Interview KALTBLUT Magazine

Excentral tempest would be hasbeens kate tempest

Life and work

Kate Tempest Kate Tempest in Conversation with Don Paterson Mumble Words

Tempest grew up in Brockley, South East London, one of five children.

Kate Tempest UK rapperpoetplaywright Kate Tempest talks about US

She enjoyed her primary school experience but was unhappy at secondary school. She cites her English teacher Mr Bradshaw as an encouraging influence who read her early poetry and gave her books to inspire her. She says she had a "wayward youth", living in squats, "hanging around on picket lines rapping at riot cops". She worked in a record shop from age 14 to 18. She went to Thomas Tallis School, leaving at 16 to study at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon, going on to graduate in English literature from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Kate Tempest staticguimcouksysimagesGuardianPixpictures

She describes the London marches to call an end to the Iraq war as a point of disillusionment when she saw that the message of millions of people did not change the direction of the war.

Kate Tempest Kate Tempest Artists Ninja Tune

Tempest grew up in Brockley, South East London, one of five children. She describes growing up in "a shitty part of town, but in a nice house where there was always food", and developing her work ethic by seeing her father go from working as a labourer, through night-school to becoming an entertainment lawyer by the time she was eight years old. The night school can only have been the University of Westminster, from where her father gained his degree. Kate's father, Nigel Calvert, went on to establish Calvert Solicitors LLP in 1996, representing many celebrities and successful musicians in high profile cases over the following decades. [3]

Tempest first performed when she was 16, at open mic nights at Deal Real, a small hip-hop store in Carnaby Street in London's West End. She went on to support acts such as John Cooper Clarke, Billy Bragg, Benjamin Zephaniah and Scroobius Pip. She toured Europe, Australia, and America with her band Sound of Rum and worked with organisations such as Yale University, the BBC, Apples and Snakes, the Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Tempest has performed at venues such as Glastonbury, Latitude, The Wandering Word tent at Shambala, The Big Chill and the Nu-Yorican poetry café, where she won two poetry slams. Her first poetry book was Everything Speaks in its Own Way, followed by her first work of theatre, Wasted. At 26, she launched the theatrical spoken word piece Brand New Ancients at the Battersea Arts Centre (2012), to great critical acclaim. The piece also won Tempest the 2013 Off West End Award ("The Offies") for "Best TBC Production". Tempest's influences include Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, W B Yeats, William Blake, W H Auden and Wu-Tang Clan. At the Barbican launch of The Bricks that Build the Houses, Tempest explained how many people thought of Virginia Woolf when reading her work but she had never actually read much Woolf. Tempest also explained how all writers and artists are using the same material, the bubbling content of humanity, and that this causes continuities between writers, even those that have not read one another.

In 2014 she released the album Everybody Down (Big Dada), which was produced by Dan Carey and was nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize. In January 2015 the album was given the inaugural "Soundcheck Award" for the best album of 2014 by Radioeins and Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin.

In September 2016 it was announced that Tempest would curate the 2017 Brighton Festival.

She released the album Let Them Eat Chaos on 7 October 2016. It debuted at no. 28 on the UK Albums Chart, and was also released in book format. The album was also nominated for the Mercury Prize, this time in 2017.


The Economist said of Tempest's commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company: "A stunning piece by Kate Tempest, a London-born performance poet, comes bursting off the screen. Rarely has the relevance of Shakespeare to our language, to the very fabric of our feelings, been expressed with quite such youthful passion. (It should be mandatory viewing for all teenagers.)" The Huffington Post describes her as "Britain's leading young poet, playwright and of the most widely respected performers in the country – the complete package of lyrics and delivery. She is also one of the most exciting young writers working in Britain today" (2012). The Guardian commented of Brand New Ancients, "Suddenly it feels as if we are not in a theatre but a church... gathered around a hearth, hearing the age-old stories that help us make sense of our lives. We're given the sense that what we are watching is something sacred." In 2013 the newspaper noted:

She is one of the brightest talents around. Her spoken-word performances have the metre and craft of traditional poetry, the kinetic agitation of hip-hop and the intimacy of a whispered heart-to-heart... Tempest deals bravely with poverty, class and consumerism. She does so in a way that not only avoids the pitfalls of sounding trite, but manages to be beautiful too, drawing on ancient mythology and sermonic cadence to tell stories of the everyday.

In 2013 she won the Ted Hughes Award for her work Brand New Ancients, the first person under the age of 40 to win the award, and was selected as one of the 2014 Next Generation Poets by the Poetry Society.


  • 2012: Everything Speaks in its Own Way
  • 2014: Hold Your Own
  • Spoken Word Performance

  • 2012: Brand New Ancients – Ted Hughes Award 2013 (2014 released as CD)
  • Plays

  • 2013: Wasted
  • 2014: Glasshouse
  • 2014: Hopelessly Devoted
  • Novel

  • 2016: The Bricks That Built The Houses, Bloomsbury Circus, London
  • Discography

    Studio albums

  • 2011: Balance (with "Sound of Rum")
  • 2014: Everybody Down – nominated for Mercury Prize 2014
  • 2016: Let Them Eat Chaos - shortlisted for Mercury Prize 2017
  • Singles

  • 2014: Our Town
  • 2015: Bad place for a Good Time
  • References

    Kate Tempest Wikipedia