London has been in the spotlight of the world’s stage this past month with all the triathlons, gymnastics and synchronized diving that has been going on. However, it seems that the Olympics are not the only thing the United Kingdom has to offer this year. With two hit singles topping the charts, a wide assortment of other songs and several performances on national television, Scottish singer and songwriter Emeli Sandé looks to be on her way to the top.
Born in the late 1980s, Sandé’s hip-hop-meets-gospel style has allowed her to shine both alone and in collaboration with other artists. Her first big break came in 2009 when she was featured with the English rapper Chipmunk in “Diamond Rings,” a song that she helped pen. She later signed on with EMI Music Publishing, leading to her music blossoming into the phenomenon it is today. Her first solo single, “Heaven,” was released in 2011, as well as “Daddy.”
However, Sandé’s first major breakthrough on the global scale came with the song “Read All About It,” in which she was featured with British rapper Professor Green. The song reached the top of UK charts and has sold over 150,000 copies since, in addition to being continued on in two separate parts, the third of which was released in 2012 and stars Sandé on her own. Sandé’s next major hit came with “Next To Me” early this year. The song, probably her most well-known single, combines piano and drums with Sandé’s upbeat voice to create a soulful melody that has rocked the music world. All of the singles listed above can be found on Sandé’s debut album, Our Version Of Events, which came out in February in the UK. Since then, Our Version of Events has become the fastest selling album by a British artist since Susan Boyle, and at one point has even beat out Adele’s world famous sensation 21 for the top spot.
At first glance, Emeli Sandé music may seem like a cross between the pop sounds of Rihanna and that of Elly Jackson, lead singer of the British electropop act La Roux. However, Sandé has stated that she draws her influence from the likes of more classic voices, such as Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell. The singer has also cited world peace and political issues as some of the main reasons for her songwriting.
Aside from her own music career, the quality that makes Sandé one to watch in the recording industry is the fact that she has written the music of several world-famous artists of today. Susan Boyle, Leona Lewis and Cheryl Cole are among the many who owe their lyrics to Emeli Sandé, most certainly making Sandé one of the more influential up-and-coming musicians of this decade.
In addition to her recordings and collaborations, Sandé has achieved fame through numerous television appearances as well, such as on the UK versions of both The X Factor and The Voice. On a global scale, though, audiences around the world may recognize her as one of the main contributors to the soundtrack of the 2012 London Olympic Games. In addition to actually carrying the fabled torch at one point, Sandé performed several of her top singles in support of her country during the games, as well as a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Emeli Sandé may be riding into the music scene on what some are calling the “Second British Wave” of musicians, which includes artists like Adele, One Direction and Ellie Goulding. But that does not mean that Sandé’s smooth and soulful vibes are being smothered. On the contrary, the singer is just coming into her prime, and judging from the popularity of her first few hits, Sandé may just maintain her position on the global radar for a long time to come.