By Rob Brunner
Updated October 04, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Forecasting the winner of this year’s Mercury Music Prize — England’s highest music honor — was no easy task, with acclaimed finalists like the Streets, the Coral, and Doves. They all lost. The winner (announced Sept. 21) turned out to be A Little Deeper by Ms Dynamite, a little-known 21-year-old R&B singer who doesn’t have an American record deal (although that should soon change). What happened? ”I really haven’t got a clue,” says Dynamite. ”The next day I just sat there thinking to myself, If I was a judge, why would I make me win over all those other people? I really don’t know.” Maybe it has something to do with her well-crafted blend of American-style R&B and U.K. dance music and her sharp lyrics about ”social issues — young people growing up in poverty, relationships, having self-respect. There’s a lot more important things to be talking about than ‘I’m so beautiful and I’m so wonderful and I’ve got so much money.”’ As Jimmie Walker would say, dy-no-mite!