Ones to Watch in 2012: Emeli Sandé
I love it when America discovers someone talented that the rest of the world has known about for months, even years! Today, the talent I'm referring to is Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé. Sandé is due to release her debut album, Our Version of Events on June 5th via Capitol Records. This is HUGE! I'm envisioning lots of promotion, performances on The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show (except I think Ellen is on hiatus in the summer), it's going to massive. Capitol better promote the hell out of this supreme being. She deserves some Stateside recognition, for sure!
Sandé is already off to a promising start in her native UK, releasing debut single "Heaven" last August and having it debut in the #2 spot on the UK Singles Chart. Aside from garnering the adoration of some of her musical contemporaries like Adele and Alicia Keys, Sandé has already won the prestigious BRIT Critics' Choice award (won in the past by Adele and Florence + The Machine), and was nominated for the Breakthrough British Artist award. We'll have to wait until February 21st to see if she wins. As if these accolades aren't enough, Sandé was also hand picked by Coldplay to open for the band on their European tour. Follow up single "Daddy" (featuring Naughty Boy), which came out at the end of November, wasn't as fortunate, only coming in at #21. We've all seen this before - first single is a top 5 hit, second single just barely outside of the top 20, third single 40+ and BAM. Dropped. I am hoping and praying that this does not become Emeli Sandé's fate. The third single, entitled "Next To Me" is scheduled for release on February 12th, followed by the album's UK release the next day.
Born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland, Sandé is the daughter of a Zambian father and Cumbrian mother. While she has been writing songs since the tender age of 10, she studied medicine for six whole years before re-committing herself to singing and performing. How impressive is that? At least that's something she can always fall back on? Before rightfully taking control of the spotlight, Sandé wrote songs for other artists, most notably English rapper Chipmunk, who's single "Diamond Rings" became the singer/songwriters first Top 10. Sandé scored another hit with her Wiley collaboration, an electro-grime/hip-hop cover of White Town's "Your Woman," (called "Never Be Your Woman"). A favorite artist of Simon Cowell's, Sandé has written for Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle and collaborated with Cheryl Cole, Alicia Keys and Professor Green, the latter with whom she scored #1 hit single "Read All About It" (the UK's answer to an Eminem/Rihanna collaboration?). That's quite the resume! While she's influenced by the likes of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill, Sandé is entirely an original. She says:
“I can still relate to a Joni song, even though it's 25 years old, which is what is important to me,” she says. “I’m not too bothered about what category my music goes in and there’s no point in limiting who you can reach, but I want it to be respected.”And respected she will be. "Heaven," co-penned by Sandé, Naughty Boy, Craze & Hoax, and produced by Mike Spencer (Kylie Minogue, Jamiroquai, Diana Vickers) is a soul stirring electro-soul stunner of a single, highlighted by Emeli's beautiful upper register, a rich string section and bumpin' house beats. The single was released on January 31st in the U.S. as the singer's first single. Download it on U.S. iTunes HERE. Also, if you're lucky enough to live in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis or Toronto, make sure you catch Sandé on her very small North American tour. I've included the videos for her three singles below so make sure you check them out.
March 2nd//San Francisco, CA//Café du Nord
March 5th//Minneapolis, MN//Dakota
March 7th//Toronto, ON//The Drake
Check out Emeli Sandé on the web: