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Speech's Label Disappointment

Speech Debelle to quit Big Dada over sales problems

  • 24/11/2009
  • Rodrigo Davies
Speech Debelle

Speech Debelle is quitting her record label, saying the company were to blame for disappointing sales of her Mercury Prize-winning debut album.

Speaking exclusively to 6 Music, she said Speech Therapy suffered because of poor distribution by Big Dada, which is part of London-based Ninja Tune.

Following her win the album initially rose to 65 in the charts, before slipping below 90 a week later. It's estimated to have sold around ten thousand copies in total - compared with 300,000 shifted by 2008's winning record, Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid.

"The Mercury Prize was on a Tuesday, and the Friday there were no more physical albums in the shops."

"So on the Mercury weekend, which would have been my biggest selling weekend, people couldn't get it," said Speech, whose real name is Corynne Elliot.

"I wasn't disappointed that it didn't sell well, I was disappointed in the people I was working with."

She pointed to the fact that online retailer Amazon said it had seen a four thousand percent increase in demand for her album.

"I wasn't on a big label and the machine wasn't there. So even though the album won the Mercury it was still only able to do what the label was capable of doing, which just means that I'm more prepared for next time."

A spokesperson for Big Dada's parent company Ninjatune said the company had no comment on Speech's remarks.

Meanwhile Speech is set to return to Australia, where she made her first record Speech Therapy, to work on the follow up with producer Wayne Lo-Tek.

"I want it to be a mix of Ray Charles, a song like Georgia, I want it to have the atmosphere of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the drums of J Dilla."

Speech said the project will feature Faithless vocalist Maxi Jazz and influential British MC Rodney P, and hopes to release it around September next year.

She said that negotiations with record companies around the next album are already underway, and she hopes to finalise a deal early next year.

"One thing I've learnt is that having bargaining power is important. It's important to walk into a record label and say 'This is what I have, and these are the kind of terms I want.'"

Listen to Speech Debelle's hub session for 6 Music today

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Marcus Northampton
The Elbow record sold well because it was a great & the band beat the marketing drum with enthusiasm & humour. The Speech Debelle was not & she came across on television as an unsympathetic character.

If this is what happened, that's big news. It's a shame her album didn't do so well as I think it's great. Finish This Album and Speech Therapy are standout - go speech!

Drew, London
I tried out a few of the tracks on itunes so see whether or not I wantedf to buy it. It turned out it's not actually any good. Don't think thats the record labels fault.

Kennedy 9 igboanusi st.umuna orlu imo state nigeri

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