Tempest announced their updated gender identity on social media earlier today, explaining that "Kae" is the old English word for "jay bird," an animal that is "associated with communication, curiosity, adaptation to new situations and COURAGE, which is the name of the game at the moment."
They wrote: "Hello old fans, new fans and passers-by — I'm changing my name! And I'm changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them."
They added: "I've been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection."
Kae also said that this change signals an effort to live with "integrity" and that coming out "is much more of a big deal to [them] than it is to anyone else."
Tempest last released a record in 2019 with The Book of Traps and Lessons. In 2017, they were nominated for the Mercury Prize for their 2016 poetry collection, Let Them Eat Chaos.
See their announcement below.
Hello old fans, new fans and passers by - I'm changing my name! And I'm changing my pronouns. From Kate to Kae. From she/her to they/them. I've been struggling to accept myself as I am for a long time. I have tried to be what I thought others wanted me to be so as not to risk rejection. This hiding from myself has led to all kinds of difficulties in my life. And this is a first step towards knowing and respecting myself better. I've loved Kate. But I am beginning a process and I hope you'll come with me. From today - I will be publishing my books and releasing my music as Kae Tempest! It's pronounced like the letter K. It's an old English word that means jay bird. Jays are associated with communication, curiosity, adaptation to new situations and COURAGE which is the name of the game at the moment. It can also mean jackdaw which is the bird that symbolises death and rebirth. Ovid said the jackdaw brought the rain. Which I love. It has its roots in the Latin word for rejoice, be glad and take pleasure. And I hope to live more that way each day. Funny because I know this is much more of a big deal to me than it is to anyone else, but because of my role as artist, it is in some ways a public decision as well as being a private one. So, here is my announcement. Sending my love to you all and wishing you courage as you face whatever you must face today. This is a time of great reckoning. Privately, locally, globally. For me, the question is no longer 'when will this change' but 'how far am I willing to go to meet the changes and bring them about in myself.' I want to live with integrity. And this is a step towards that. Sending LOVE always