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Kate Tempest: ‘I engage with all of myself, which is why it’s dangerous’

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Kate Tempest has shaken up the world of poetry by taking it out of the bookshops and on to the festival stage. But in the process has this great and empathetic observer found the scrutiny too much?

Kate Tempest likes the darkness before the dawn. Let Them Eat Chaos, the Londoner’s last album of poetic, narrative hip-hop, takes place at 4.18am, when insomnia gnaws at her characters’ brains.

When Tempest is awake at that hour, she finds it peaceful. “There is something really magic about the couple of hours before dawn,” she says. “You’re recharged, the day before is gone, but there are no requirements. You don’t belong to anybody, to anything. That time lends itself to lyricism because of the repetitive nature of insomniac thoughts.”

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