Lewisham performer Kae Tempest is much more than merely a musician. As a talented wordsmith, they dabble in poetry, long-form literature, playwriting and spoken word performance. From the age of just 16, Tempest attended the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon soon proving to be the cream among peers receiving a healthy haul of accolades including the once in a decade honour of being named the ‘Next Generation Poet’ by the Poetry Book Society.
Exciting news has surfaced this week with the announcement of the release date for their upcoming album The Line Is A Curve. This will be Tempest’s fourth studio album and is set to be released on April 8th, 2022, with Fiction Records. The album has been produced by Dan Carey who has been a long-standing friend and creative partner to Tempest. The record marks their resumption to recording artistry following the successful release of their play ‘Paradise’ which premiered at the National Theatre, London, earlier last year.
With the announcement of the new album, we were given a taste of things to come with the release of the single ‘More Pressure’ featuring Kevin Abstract from the US hip-hop collective Brockhampton. The single is framed by its catchy beat but contains something much more profound and skin deep as is often the way with Tempest’s work. The spoken word delivery carries the essence of UK hip-hop with an intensity that seems to grow throughout the track as they describe internal conflicts of anxiety and release. The track is a welcomed and exciting return to songwriting for Tempest.
With the new album hot on our heels, Tempest has given some insight that reveals a glimpse of what we can expect from The Line Is A Curve in April: “The Line Is A Curve is about letting go. Of shame, anxiety, isolation and falling instead into surrender. Embracing the cyclical nature of time, growth, love. This letting go can hopefully be felt across the record. In the musicality, the instrumentation, the lyricism, the delivery, the cover art. In the way, it ends where it begins and begins where it ends. I knew I wanted my face on the sleeve.
“Throughout the duration of my creative life, I have been hungry for the spotlight and desperately uncomfortable in it. For the last couple of records, I wanted to disappear completely from the album covers, the videos, the front-facing aspects of this industry. A lot of that was about my shame but I masked it behind a genuine desire for my work to speak for itself, without me upfront, commodifying what felt so rare to me and sacred. I was, at times, annoyed that in order to put the work out, I had to put myself out. But this time around, I understand it differently. I want people to feel welcomed into this record, by me, the person who made it, and I have let go of some of my airier concerns.”
Tempest concluded: “I feel more grounded in what I’m trying to do, who I am as an artist and as a person and what I have to offer. I feel less shame in my body because I am not hiding from the world anymore. I wanted to show my face and I dreamed of it being Wolfgang Tillmans who took the portrait.”
Stream the song, below.