Our Version of Events, Why I love Emeli Sande and you should too…
You won’t find him drinking at the tables
rolling dice and staying out til 3
you won’t ever find him being unfaithful
you will find him, you’ll find him next to me
You won’t find him trying to chase the devil
for money, fame, for power, out of grief
you won’t ever find him where the rest go
you will find him, you’ll find him next to me
-Emeli Sande (Next to Me)
I hope to have a daughter one day… later on in life. Take her to Disney World once she’s old enough to remember it. Throw her an epic sweet sixteen birthday party, without the MTV cameras. Help her choose a career path and encourage her to stick with it. Celebrate her graduation from high school, college, maybe grad school. Walk her down the aisle at her wedding… then hand her off to a man that will take care of her even better than I did.
Ms. Sande talks about this kind of man in her song Next to Me, words I wish more young woman and men would listen to. It’s just one of the many great pieces on Emeli Sande’s debut album Our Version of Events. For me personally, it’s all about the lyrics. In music today, many are looking for what’s “real”, we’re looking for substance. Emeli embodies both with such grace and humility that I haven’t seen in quite some time. Her favorite artist Nina Simone, would be very proud.
Adele Emeli Sande (pronounced san-day) is a British recording artist and singer-songwriter, born in England and raised in Scotland, that is beginning to make her mark here in The States. I want to actually describe her as a songwriter-singer, who will openly admit she never imagined being a performer. Emeli dropped her first name “Adele” since it was already snatched up by the Grammy Winning icon Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, similar to how another artist named Ray Charles Robinson dropped his last name in order to carve out his own place in music history.
Emeli is already a mega-star across the pond. Sande sold more Albums in the UK last year than any other artist. Period. The twenty-five-year-old musician has been described as the second coming of many artists such as her idol Alicia Keys. Not the Alicia Keys that we saw at the NBA All Star Game last Sunday night, but the Alicia Keys that took London by storm as a New Artist over ten years ago performing at intimate venues and humbly “over thanking” audiences for their support, on her way to five Grammy Awards in 2002 including Song of the Year for Fallin. The Alicia Keys comparisons even go beyond music and into the classroom, Ms. Keys dropped out of Columbia University to pursue music and Emeli left medical school in her fourth year.
Jay-Z says of Emeli Sande, “She is going to be a big deal, and has the talent to conquer America”.
Adele says, “How good is she?”, and Alicia Keys even chimed in with “She’s a Magnificent New Artist” With such praise from these music titans I think it’s only a matter of time before the rest of America falls in lover with her as have I.
There aren’t many albums these days that I can play straight through, beginning to end, without even thinking about hitting NEXT! It’s a remarkable achievement in any era, but especially in the digital age of YouTube, Vevo, and iTunes where it’s all about the single(s). I feel like the ultimate measure of an albums success is not only units sold, but how many songs do people really know? How many songs are stamped in the memory banks of those you are trying to reach?
I’ve been to quite a few concerts in my day. Also, attending a “music only” college had its perks. Emeli Sande performed at Webster Hall here in Manhattan this past January and the sold out crowd sang every single song. Obviously if your going to see someone like Beyonce this year, you’re going to know her music inside and out, but for a new artist, this has to be the greatest feeling in the world.
This means people are listening. This means people “get it” and they appreciate what you are contributing to the world. Emeli being a writer as well, there’s nothing better than having your words resonate with others.
The energy in the room was unreal. I had the good fortune of hanging out in the VIP section and Music Executives were draped all over the rails like high school kids, elbowing and shoving, trying to get a better view of the stage. When the final song had been sung, and the band left the stage, nobody seemed to want to leave. The room was buzzing. I think I heard the word “unbelievable” used 397 times. Some friends of mine and I got to meet up with her after the show and she had an undeniable sense of joy. This is someone that has pursued something she loves, and because of that relentless and sometimes hopeless pursuit will never work again for the rest of her days.
Nobody can really predict the longevity of an artist in any medium. There are too many factors involved to determine whether or not Emeli will duplicate the kind of success she’s had in the UK here in America, but I hope longevity does not stray far away from her.
I wonder if Emeli was from say… Chicago, would we have supported her like the UK has?
A shy black female artist that can’t dance, isn’t drop dead gorgeous, dresses very conservatively, and is happily married to someone that has no involvement in entertainment.
Think about it.
Kudos to Great Britain for breathing life into such an artist. I will be going out of my way this year to find more hidden gems like Emeli Sande, and support them however I can. I encourage you to do the same.