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'When I was supposed to be a child, I had the responsibilities of an adult,' she explained.
'I started living in a hostel, with £25 a week to get by on. All I ever used to do was smoke and drink, smoke and drink.
After seeing off such competition as David Bowie and the bookmakers' favourites The Streets, the garage and rap star blurted out: 'I really don't know what to say. Oh my goodness.' Behind the award of the £20,000 prize on Tuesday night is an astonishing tale of triumph over adversity.
The 21-year-old, noted for her socially conscious lyrics, was named UK act of the year, best newcomer and her first hit It Takes More was named single of the year at last night's awards.Aaliyah - killed in a plane crash last year - took the best video title for More Than A Woman, while TLC member Lopes, killed in a car crash this year, was given an outstanding achievement award.During her lifetime, Lopes scored seven top 20 hits in the UK with her band, featured on Mel C's number one Never Be The Same Again and had a solo hit.She was among the performers at the show at London Arena running through her chart hit Dy-na-mi-tee.Later in the evening, Ms Dynamite admitted that the emotion was getting to her a little as she collected her third prize for UK Act of the Year."I'm feeling really emotional, I'm going to start crying," she said."It is an honour, it really is an honour."But she had a message for the female acts: "To all my strong sisters, you don't have to take off your clothes.