When 25-year-old British singer Emeli Sandé visited the VH1 offices a few months back, her performance left several employees in tears. Her live performance of “Clown” at Williamsburg Music Hall moved me to tears as well. Her poignant voice coupled with the mastery she possesses of writing beautiful songs is why she’s our June You Oughta Know artist. Her debut album, Our Version of Events, may be new to the U.S. audiences, but it has already topped the UK Album Charts at number one. Within the first two weeks of release in the UK the album sold 300,000 copies, and has already reached platinum status according to the British Phonographic Industry. Her official U.S. first single, “Next to Me,” is an ode to her boyfriend. Sandé wrote the song because she wanted a radio hit that uplifted good men, which she says there isn’t enough of.
Sandé left medical school to pursue her music full-time. Luckily she hasn’t had to look back since. Talent like hers doesn’t come around every day. If it’s even possible, the strength and clarity of her voice sounds even better live. Her orchestral vocals thrive on their own. The minimum instruments in her live performance of “Next to Me” are an addition to her already soulful sound. Sande immerses herself into the music as she closes her eyes to sing. As the songwriter we imagine getting lost in the lyrics are easy for her. She is careful and deliberate with every note.
Emile Sandé has been compared to the likes of Adele—ironically her first name is Adele, but changed it and opted for her middle name as soon as the other Adele became popular—but as flattering as the compliments are, Sandé is in a league of her own. All month long we’ll feature music and clips of our newest addition to the YOK family.