Emeli Sande: The New Role Model.


Every so often you get to hear a new album which you’ll be completely absorbed in. You won’t be able to leave it alone. But last Monday, we had Maverick Sabre’s ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ come out, so surely we’d have to wait a fair bit for another album of that quality, right? Well, a week is a long time in music, I guess.

As this Monday, just one week after Mav’s debut, we’re treated to the incredible Emeli Sande’s – ‘Our Version Of Events’.

With her number 2 single, ‘Heaven’, and the incredible feature on Professor Green’s ‘Read All About It’, Emeli began to attract a lot of attention, which peaked when she was announced as the BRITS Critics Choice Award Winner, following in the footsteps of Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Jessie J, oh, and Adele!

But if you were more aware, you’ll know that Emeli has been showing her talents for a bit now. Writing for and with, what seems, every fairly successful X-Factor candidate, but also with Wiley, Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Wretch 32, plus featuring on great tracks with the likes of Chipmunk (Diamond Rings) and Wiley (Never Be Your Woman) and Tinie Tempah (Let Go). She’s also be described as, the Dark Lord himself, Simon Cowell’s ‘favourite songwriter’! Oh, 1 more then, she’s recently finished touring with none other than Coldplay… Things going well then?

You could possibly be forgiven for thinking the hype may have outdone the talents she has. But, well, you’d be wrong. Because, ‘Our Version Of Events’ showcases, arguably, the best UK talent out there right now. And, well Adele’s still out there isn’t she. I mean, I know that’s a big thing to say, but well, I certainly stand by it.

Kicking off her debut LP, is her number 2 single, that I mentioned earlier – ‘Heaven’. Sublime production which brings out the strong, majestic vocals of Sande. Pitched by Emeli as a confession that she’s changed so much since she was younger – but that it’s because “of everything that comes with living.” Just one of the many examples of how down to earth she is.

Originally, this post was planned as a track-by-track review of ‘Our Version Of Events’, but then I just thought, who’s really going to go out and buy it purely because of a review of mine? you’re going to buy it anyway. So I thought I’d try and show anyone reading, why Emeli Sande is the perfect role-model to aspire for – not even just for becoming a musician, but an all-round person too.

There are a lot of talented musicians. No doubt. But how many would you describe as intelligent? How many would you describe as humble? How many would you actually describe as a ‘nice person’? I certainly can’t think of that many. But after watching a mini documentary on Emeli, entitled, ‘Her Version Of Events’, you realise you can firmly include Emeli Sande in those previous categories.

She’s always shown the musical promise – learning the piano at the age of 10, and writing at 11, but she was once on course to becoming a neurologist – brain surgery for those who don’t recognise! Her link to this can be seen in her second single, ‘Daddy’. “Everyone is essentially addicted to something.” She says, adding, “I think that’s why I loved studying neurology… We’re all flawed in some way.” She also, when speaking to Q Magazine, said, “I’m really fascinated by mental breakdown.”

Despite being just 16, Emeli won Trevor Nelson’s BBC Urban Music Competition – which, fairly obviously, brought in label interest. In the same Q Magazine article, she said, “I’d sit and play to a line of men behind a glass shield talking about where the music should go… I could feel my control slipping.” This is when she chose to follow the science road for a while, but still maintaining the musical side – in playing as a background jazz pianist in Glasgow – for £40 a night! I think it takes a lot of commitment and loyalty to your talents to turn down record label interest. But if, and when, it pays off, it pays off big – as seen with that guy Ed Sheeran!

You could really pin down why Emeli is doing as well as she is now, by her mum’s actions. Obviously Emeli could have reached this stage at some point, but it was her mum who sent off a sample CD over to BBC Radio 1xtra, which eventually found its way through to Naughty Boy – which formed a very strong musical relationship between the two of them – creating ‘Daddy’ on their first session just over 3 years ago. She seemed blown away by his love of music. “I loved how passionate he was… purely about the music!” And it was in 2010, when she finally got a deal with EMI and Virgin.

What I find most incredible about Emeli is her humbleness. She’s speaks so highly of so many highly deserving artists that she’s worked with, especially the already mentioned Naughty Boy and Tinie Tempah… “He was so on point.” It’s something you don’t often see too much nowadays, artists giving other artists proper heartfelt credit and applause.

Despite this not being a track-by-track review, I thought I had to write a bit about my favourite track on the album. ‘Hope’. Obviouslty every track offers so much, in terms of raw emotion expressed through Sande’s brilliantly worked lyrics, which can sum up the most complicated of feelings into one sentence. ‘My Kind Of Love’, ‘Maybe’, ‘River’, and especially ‘Read All About It (Part III) – [below] all showcase this.

But ‘Hope’ really stood out to me – due it’s message.

So many artists can write perfect songs based on various, let’s face it, depressing emotions. Even some of my favourite artists can’t really get the effect Emeli has managed to achieve with this track. ‘Hope’ is the most inspiring, uplifting track I’ve heard in a very long time. You can see the opportunity the London riots have offered musicians, alongside youth unemployment rates, and just the general decline in views of young people, it’s a topic which can create some great music. But Sande has captured that whole picture, but also included other moments of desperation from far away from the UK – “I have a link to Zambia and places with standards of living that are just horrible.” Written with Alicia Keys, on a rainy day in New York just after the aforementioned riots, they came up with the first line: “I hope that the world stops raining, stops turning its back on the young” – she described it as a “prayer”. It’s 3 minutes of beautiful crafted music, inspiring lyrics, soulfully sung vocals with the brilliant production that is a constant throughout the album.

Emeli Sande is intelligent, talented, and just perfectly humble. A proper winning combination in life – not just music. If you don’t get lost in this album, I feel sorry for you.

Enjoy this cover of Blur’s classic, ‘Country House’, from her recent trip to Radio 1’s Live Lounge below. Really is something!

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Ed Sheeran – Drunk (Live on Graham Norton) and ‘+’ Stops The Adele Party!


A typically great performance from the 4-time Brit nominee.

Also, in Ed news, ‘+’ went back in at number 1 in the album charts! Denying Adele’s ’21’ a 21st week at the number 1 spot on it’s release anniversary. Ed Sheeran, stopping an Adele party it seems! Will he do the same, by over-shadowing her at the BRITS?

Wait and see.

Rock albums outsold by Pop for the first time in 7 years!


The Official Charts Company have stated that seven out of the 10 highest selling albums of 2011 were ‘pop’ albums. Adele and Jessie J being two obvious big sellers. This gave pop albums a 33.6% share of album sales overall.

Rock’s market share of album sales decreased to only 29.4% – their lowest since 2003! This despite the relative success of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Folk music took a rise in market share last year too – rising to 1.6%, mainly down to Laura Marling’s success. ‘Easy listening’ sales were at 7.9%,almost entirely caused down to Michael Buble apparently.

In terms of singles; Pop outsold Rock by about 2 to 1!

BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said on the increase in Pop sales, “Pop has managed to double its share of singles sales in the space of five years and now outsells rock by two-to-one. It’s no coincidence that over the same period dozens of vibrant, digital music services have launched in Britain, enabling younger music fans to buy and enjoy tracks online at pocket money prices.”

If I’m honest, I’m surprised it wasn’t lower than 29.4% – and I can see that gap increasing for a few years to come, to be honest!

More BRIT Award Thoughts


So, yesterday I posted the nominations for the Brit Awards 2012 – along with who I think will win, and also who I think deserves to win.

There’s a couple of complaints too, well a few I guess.

How ‘Read All About It’ wasn’t in the Best Single is just remarkable. One of the biggest selling singles, from one of the best artists of the year, Professor Green, featuring the Critics Choice Winner for 2012, Emeli Sande – how can that be looked over, compared to something like, ‘She Makes Me Wanna’?!

Also, a genreal complaint of how Example didn’t feature in more categories. Only having ‘CTWYKM’ nominated in Best Single? Well, what about Best Male Solo Artist etc? At least he got the one nomination, last year he was over-looked completely, with ‘Kickstarts’ somehow not appearing anywhere!
But the main complaint I have against the nominations. Wretch 32. Not nominated in any categories. Which is rediculous – especially after not winning once at the MOBOs either! With singles like ‘Traktor’, ‘Unorthodox’, and ‘Don’t Go’ – how on earth was one of them not featured!

I would also say he should have been nominated for Mastercard Album Of The Year – ‘Black And White’ was my favourite, and, top album from 2011. So to see that rejected as well was slightly annoying.

Also, the leaving out of Katy B was pretty astonishing really! A critically acclaimed debut album, which was seemingly loved by everyone – for her not to have it nominated, and herself in the Best Female Solo Artist category is unbelievable to be honest!

Was this just the over-looking of some of the more successful UK urban scene? Or just a coincidence, that the main people left out, or not included as much as people think they should, are, and have worked their way through the more underground route, especially Katy B in that case.

Also, as a sidenote, after thinking about it again, I can see Adele possibly only winning 1 time, if that! I would say arguably she deserves the 3 she’s been nominated in – in my view, there is no better female artist in the UK. For some reason, i can see her being over-looked as her main success came right at the beginning of the year, and there’s some sort of snobbery about saying Adele  is as brilliant as she is now? She’s an amazing artist, and personality wise, she fu*ks all over the rest of them!

Even so, I guess the nominations were fairly understandable, and good in most cases, for me anyway. But I can still see some people that deserve to win, not doing so.

And finally, this is just a general point. Why are some catagories open to public vote – I know it gets people involved, but it just leads to fan campaigns, which just aren’t right in my view. Look, I love Ed, but surely he could deserve to win anyway? Why do we as the public decide? I mean, it’s difficult, ‘cos obviously it gets public opinion across, but really it” come down to who has the most committed fans, and the pluggiest twitter page! Just seems a bit X-Factor style. Plus, have you seen some of the public? We aren’t always the brightest lot! (Rant done.)

I actually do love the Brit Awards by the way, I really really do!

But one thing to make clear, if Ed Sheeran doesn’t walk away with 3 or more, I’ll be surprised.

BRITS Nominations and Predictions.


Right, every year I get a bit keen over the BRIT Awards, and this year I actually have a platform to do so. Below is a run down of all the nominations, with my precicted winner, and the one I would personally choose to win…

British Male Solo Artist

Ed Sheeran
James Blake
James Morrison
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Professor Green

My Prediction: Ed Sheeran | My Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Female Solo Artist

Adele
Florence & the Machine
Jessie J
Kate Bush
Laura Marling

My Prediction: Adele | My Winner: Adele

British Breakthrough Act

Anna Calvi
Ed Sheeran
Emeli Sandé
Jessie J
The Vaccines

My Prediction: Jessie J | My Winner: Ed Sheeran

British Group

Arctic Monkeys
Chase & Status
Coldplay
Elbow
Kasabian

My Prediction: Coldplay | My Winner: Chase & Status

British Single

Adele – Someone Like You
Ed Sheeran – The A Team
Example – Changed The Way You Kissed Me
Jessie J ft Bob – Price Tag
JLS ft Dev – She Makes Me Wanna
Military Wives/Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are
Olly Murs ft Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat
One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
Pixie Lott – All About Tonight
The Wanted – Glad You Came

My Prediction: Adele – Someone Like You | My Winner: Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

Mastercard British Album of the Year

Adele – 21
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Ed Sheeran – +
Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

My Prediction: Adele – 21 | My Winner: Ed Sheeran – +

International Male Solo Artist

Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
David Guetta
Ryan Adams

My Prediction: Bruno Mars | My Winner: Bon Iver

International Female Solo Artist

Beyoncé
Bjork
Feist
Lady Gaga
Rihanna

My Prediction: Rihanna | My Winner: Beyoncé

International Group

Fleet Foxes
Foo Fighters
Jay Z/ Kanye West
Lady Antebellum
Maroon 5

My Prediction: Maroon 5 | My Winner: Jay Z/ Kanye West

International Breakthrough Act

Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Foster The People
Lana Del Rey
Nicki Minaj

My Prediction: Lana Del Ray | My Winner: Bon Iver


(ALREADY DECIDED)
Outstanding Contribution to Music

WINNER:
Blur

Critics Choice

1st – Emeli Sandé
2nd – Maverick Sabre
3rd – Michael Kiwanuka

 

Slight Complaints:

  • How Wretch 32 wasn’t nominated once, is incredible!
  • Professor Green should have had ‘Read All About It‘ nominated in Best Single
  • Example should have been in British Male Solo Artist
  • There’s probably a few more, but can’t think of them…

Well, I’m imagining I’ll be ‘live tweeting’ during the show – I doubt somehow I’ll be announced as a special writer and get to go backstage and all that, so I’ll be in bed watching. The show is live on ITV on 21st February, and will feature live performances from Ed Sheeran, Adele, Coldplay and Rihanna (plus others obviously) – and to top it all of, it’s hosted by the simply amazing, James Corden!

Adele and Tinie to collaborate?


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Adele and Tinie Tempah are arguably the two biggest artists in the UK, and have done pretty decent jobs of taking over the US too. And to hear the continuing news of a collaboration, is obviously, and rightly, massive.

The duet plans were scupper ed last year, probably down to how Adele’s year just took off, I guess. But 2012 seems to be the year it’ll happen. Speaking to Q Magazine, Tinie said, “I want to work with Adele this year. We started to talk about it, but because of how crazy things went for her we never really got round to completing that conversation.” Imagine how many weeks that will be at number 1!

On his own new material, Tinie said, “The main goal is to get the new album out and it do really well – better than the last one. And do a world tour.”

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Related Posts:
Tinie Tempah to launch new clothing line!
Adele just dominating!

Adele Dominating As Usual…


So, it’s hard to argue that Adele had one of the most successful years in music history, right? Well, yeah it wasn’t just in the UK though!

  • ‘Rolling In The Deep’, and her album, ’21’ have been announced as the highest selling singles and albums in America in 2011 – both selling 5.8 millions copies!!
  • ’21’ is the first album in the US to sell over 5 million copies since 2004 as well!
  • Her album is also top of the Billboard charts over in the US, again. It’s now gone 14 weeks non-consecutively at the top!
  • Oh, there’s more. ’21’ is looking like it will be back at the top of the UK Album Charts on Sunday – making it 19 non-consecutive weeks!
  • And if it does (it will), ’21’, will become the longest-topping album in the UK for 40 years!

She is just incredible. Amazingly talented. And also, I’d say, impossible to hate – even if you dislike her music, Adele as a person is just so likeable!

There’s a few days left to watch the stunning higlights from her performence at the Albert Hall… watch here: Adele_Live_at_the_Royal_Albert_Hal
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