I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard much about Emeli Sande before this year. I did know that the 24-year-old is HUGE in the UK, and that her videos have been seen by millions on You Tube. While doing some research, I realized I had actually heard several of her songs in the past, just didn’t put it together that it was Emeli. Then I got my hands on her album, “Our Version of Events,” and I was sold.
A fervent singer-songwriter since the age of 10, the now 24-year-old Emeli Sandé got her first big break while still a teenager. But instead of signing to a label, she put her music career on hold and embarked on a six-year degree in medicine. In 2010, with just a year to go, she decided to take time out from her medical studies and dedicate herself to her music full-time, signing a record contract and beginning work on her debut record.
Sandé gracefully flaunts her rich voice and penchant for sophisticated melody on Our Version of Events. The album reveals her to be an uncompromising creative force in the vein of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill. Throughout Our Version of Events, Sandé creates a heady and complex soundscape to showcase her towering talent. There’s the strings-drenched epic “Daddy” and the hypnotic “Heaven” But while the record bears a sharp and shining retro-futurist feel, it’s also rife with raw emotion—a phenomenon that Sandé credits to a dogged commitment to acting on instinct.
“I’m not too bothered about what category my music goes in and there’s no point in limiting in who you can reach, but I want it to be respected,” she says. Sandé has already been announced as the winner of the coveted BRIT Critics Choice Award for 2012 and in an unprecedented twist, was also nominated as Breakthrough Artist at this year’s BRITs as well.
“You get so many opinions of which direction you should be going in, and you hear horror stories of people writing 400 songs and the album being shelved,” she says. In Sandé’s estimation, it’s far better to “come knowing what you wanna do. And I know what I want to do.”
I was approached with tickets to see Emeli at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon, and I happily snatched them up. My friend Erin and I headed downtown for a fun night of music at a great venue! When Emeli took the stage, she first performed “Heaven”, and I was absolutely BLOWN away. This girl puts on an insane show. She went on to sing “My Kind of Love,” “Mountains,” “Clown,” and my personal favorite, “Next to Me.” The energy at the show was insane. We were surrounded by her biggest fans, singing every word to every song. A couple standing behind us at one point said “DO YOU KNOW WHO SHE IS!? DO YOU REALIZE HOW BIG SHE IS!?”
Emeli puts on one of those kind of shows where you know you’ve just seen something really special. I didn’t want the night to end! She was such an amazing performer, her vocals are ridiculous. This girl has some insane talent.
If you’re within 100 miles from her show- you owe it to yourself to see her show. She is THAT GOOD.
After the show wrapped up, Erin and I were lucky enough to head backstage where we got to meet her. She’s even more beautiful in person, and she happily posed for this picture with me. I told her how much I loved her show, and how brilliant she was. Trust me, I see A LOT of shows. Emeli is something special. If you can see her on this round of tour – you won’t be sorry. You’ll never see her like this again.