Kate Tempest: In the UK ‘voting does nothing to change the system’

Artist tells NME 'we live in a time that's beyond politics'

Kate Tempest has said she is “petrified of the people in power” and that “voting does nothing” to change the political system.

Speaking in the new issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally, the Mercury Prize-nominated poet and musician spoke of her disenfranchisement with the government and a system in which “laws get shuffled through under the carpet”.

“Like a lot of people, I feel petrified of the people in power,” she said. “Around the Iraq War, I became involved in what I thought were the right avenues – peace movements, demos, meetings – and it was just bullshit. Nothing fucking changed.

“We live in a time that’s beyond politics. Voting does nothing – we’re completely powerless. Now, the most exciting and reliable changes that can happen are the changes within individual people. We can’t engage in a political system that doesn’t exist for us.”

The ‘Everybody Down’ singer went on to explain that she didn’t know who the system did exist for and that she “can’t even hold it in her head.”

“Maybe for corporations?” she added. “I haven’t studied political science, I don’t fucking know. I’m so lost with this stuff. I’m just a person with feelings. And things feel so far away.

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“Like right now, what’s happening? We’re going to war against the Islamic State, which I understand. But if we destroy the Islamic State, that makes it easier for the dictator in Syria to keep doing terrible things.

“And we’re living under a Tory government who are privatising the NHS. This is all happening. Laws get shuffled through under the carpet while everybody reads about a missing kid.”

Earlier this week, Tempest was billed as bookies’ favourite to win the Mercury Prize, but the award ended up going to Young Fathers. She has also been linked to legendary producer Rick Rubin, who was spotted with Frank Ocean at her album launch in May.

Addressing the rumours, she said: “I’d be up for it. He’s like Yoda isn’t he? It’s like getting a pat on the back from God.”