You Oughta Know Live

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Music Seen: Spending A Day With Emeli Sande Is Pure “Heaven”

Emeli Sande Music Seen

When our June You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé isn’t making people cry from the beauty of her voice and lyrics, her cool, mellow demeanor makes you feel at ease. On the day she stopped by VH1 Headquarters she was spunky and full of energy. Her smile was radiant, her laughter infectious. There was no inner diva with this British soul singer whose debut album topped the UK charts at #1. Our photographer Michele Crowe captured a range of Emeli, from the songstress cackling with laughter before a pose for her live set to prepping for a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this month. Speaking of live sets, the strength of her vocals are exemplified in her performance of “Heaven.” The clarity and sound of her voice, yes, heavenly indeed.

Emeli Sande - VH1 You Oughta Know Music Seen
Emeli Sande - VH1 You Oughta Know Music Seen
Emeli Sande - VH1 You Oughta Know Music Seen
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Emeli Sande Is VH1′s June You Oughta Know Featured Artist

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. Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

Music Seen: Ed Sheeran Reveals His Deeply Soulful Side In New York City (PHOTOS)

Ed Sheeran Music Seen

VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist is 21-year-old Ed Sheeran, a U.K. based troubadour whose appreciation of musical theory and craft is light years beyond most artists his age. He’s a real throwback to singer-songwriters of yore, the kind of artist who crafts highly detailed and personal stories, as well as someone appreciates those musicians that paved the way for people like him to be successful many, many years before he was even born.

Take, for example, his cover of Nina Simone‘s “Feeling Good.” The song has undergone a bit of a rebirth of late, thanks to being sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West on the RZA-produced Watch The Throne track “New Day.” Sheeran is able to successfully channel the raw emotion of Simone original, utilizing nothing but his soulful voice and trusty acoustic guitar. It showcases his vocal range in a way that we had not really witnessed before, and is easily one of our all-time favorite You Oughta Know Live performances.

We paired this incredible cover with a series of incredible photographs by VH1′s own Michele Crowe, who trailed Ed for an entire day here in New York a few weeks back to produce the latest addition in our long-running Music Seen series. Enjoy!


Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen
Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen
Ed Sheeran VH1 Music Seen

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by (@unclegrambo)

You Oughta Know Live: Watch Ed Sheeran’s Intimate Performance Of “The A-Team”

The 21-year-old British troubadour Ed Sheeran first caught our eye back in February, when his moving rendition of his original song “Lego House” went viral after his performance at this year’s BRIT Awards. However, as soon as we saw him perform a handful of times at this year’s SXSW Music Festival, our admiration for his talent (and his cool demeanor) skyrocketed. With all this in mind, we are excited to announce that Ed has been named as our You Oughta Know artist for the month of May, an honor that he is incredibly well-deserving of.

Ed’s debut album, +, was released in the U.K. in September of last year, where it entered the charts at #1 and has sold over 1 million copies to date. It is being released here in the United States on June 12, but Ed is currently in the midst of a barnstorming tour of the United States to get the word out in advance of its street date. When we spoke to Ed down in Austin last month, he compared his singer-songwriter sound to other British artists like James Morrison, Damien Rice and David Gray, but we think that he belongs just as much to the burgeoning “realwave” movement, alongside acts like The Civil Wars, Dawes and Mumford & Sons. Decide for yourself by checking out Ed Sheeran’s entire You Oughta Know Live set, including his single “The A-Team”—which, we should note, has nothing to do with Mr. T—a song that went all the way to #3 on the British charts last year.

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by (@unclegrambo)

K’Naan Is VH1′s April You Oughta Know Artist

As we bid adieu to our talented March You Oughta Know artist Graffiti6, it’s time to give a great big welcome to K’Naan, the latest member of the YOK Family!

K’Naan is a 34 year-old, Somalian-born hip hop artist, one that currently calls Canada home. He was raised in the war-torn town of Mogadishu, but at the age of 13, he and his family were able to make their way to North America, first arriving in New York City before settling down in Toronto. K’Naan released a few albums in the latter half of the Aughts to critical acclaim, but it wasn’t until his anthemic 2009 song “Wavin’ Flag” (which was produced by a then-unknown Bruno Mars) was selected to appear in a Coca-Cola advertisement in 2010 that he really began getting noticed. This just wasn’t any ordinary commercial, either; Coca-Cola selected his song to be the company’s promotional anthem for the 2010 World Cup, which exposed K’Naan’s particularly soulful blend of hip hop to an international audience that numbered in the hundreds of millions.

Understanding that he had a golden opportunity to take his career to the next level, K’Naan took the next few years to work on his follow-up to Troubador, the 2009 album that “Wavin’ Flag” first appeared on. In January, he released his 5-song More Beautiful Than Silence EP, which is a pre-cursor to May 1 release of his full-length God, Country Or The Girl. His EP contains the single “Is Anybody Out There?”, which is steadily climbing the Billboard charts, thanks in no small part to its hook being sung by his fellow Canadian, Nelly Furtado. He performed the single sans Furtado a few weeks ago at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge as part of his You Oughta Know Live set, a video that we have for you above. (In the video above, aMina accompanies K’Naan in place of Furtado.)

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by (@unclegrambo)

Graffiti6 Perform A Gorgeous Version Of “Free” For You Oughta Know Live

It’s always a treat when we get to see one of our favorite new tracks played live. Our March You Oughta Know artist, Graffiti6, was in the studio this week to play us a stripped back rendition of their amazing lead single, “Free”, from their album Colours. We loved the romantic video for “Free” and we just love the song even more every time we hear it. Singing live, Graffiti6 gave some raw emotion as front man Jamie Scott tugged on our heartstrings with his gentle, honey-like vocal and lovely blue eyes. We’re very much looking forward to a whole month of Graffiti6 and you should be too — keep checking back because we’ve got some great exclusives to share from the boys’ visit to VH1 headquarters!

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by (@kat_george)

You Oughta Know Live: Gotye Gives Us Goosebumps During “Somebody That I Used To Know” Featuring Kimbra

We’re going to sound like a broken record saying this, but the truth is the truth and there’s no way around it — Gotye and Kimbra sound just as impeccable live as they do on record. And we should know — we got to witness the pair playing live for us in an intimate setting at our Times Square offices when they came to visit last week. While You Oughta Know artist Gotye played solo songs from his new album, Making Mirrors, and even an old favorite, “Heart’s A Mess,” we were blown away by “Somebody That I Used To Know,” featuring the dexterous vocals of Kimbra.

The pair gave us a compelling, moving experience in the intimate setting. While playing live with his band, tinkering with the menagerie of instruments surrounding him, the impresario Gotye crooned the lyrics, vocally gymnastic in the ease with which he switched from a whisper to a shout. When Kimbra joined him for her verse, emotions were high, as the two breathed life into the heartbreaking lyrics, giving real import to the occasion.

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by (@kat_george)

Scars On 45 Cover Rihanna’s “We Found Love” Live At VH1 Headquarters

VH1′s You Oughta Know Artist, Scars On 45, stopped by the VH1 headquarters recently to play a short set of songs for us. We’re brimming with excitement to have the British quintet join our You Oughta Know stable, as we’ve been loving their new EP, Heart On Fire. The band was formed by former professional soccer player Danny Bemrose after an injury sidelined him from the game, and his new career direction is off to an incredible start. Scars On 45 have already had their songs featured on hit TV shows like CSI: New York, Grey’s Anatomy, and One Tree Hill, and their debut LP is set to be released sometime in early 2012. With a certain sincerity, Scars On 45′s sentimental brand of music embraces both the bleeding heart and classic rock, with an earthiness that speaks to the elemental qualities of the natural environment of their homeland in England.

During their stripped down set here in the heart of Times Square, between their endearing banter and heartfelt performances of their own songs, the band took a moment to cover Rihanna and Calvin Harris‘ number one smash, “We Found Love”. Admitting to the audience that they’d forgotten the words to the song when performing it live in concert the night before, Scars On 45 seemed confident regardless, and although they expressed a giggly trepidation, they took on Rihanna’s dance anthem head-on and didn’t miss a beat. However, Scars On 45′s rendition was no dance anthem — quite the opposite really, pairing a guitar-led, folksy sound with Rihanna’s lyrics, giving the song a completely new dimension. Pared back, slow and melodic, the song, but for the words, was barely discernible from the original, taking on a new, powerfully romantic poignancy. The rest of Scars On 45′s live performance will be coming soon, and we’ve got plenty of more whimsy where this came from!
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You Oughta Know Live: MUTEMATH Reimagines Alicia Keys’s “Fallin’”

MUTEMATH had already come through New York City on their fall tour when we selected them as the latest You Oughta Know artist, so we felt a bit guilty making them go out of their way to come to our offices, thrilled though we may have been. The band didn’t seem to mind in the slightest, though, laying down a killer You Oughta Know Live set for us, including an Alicia Keys cover that surprised us with its unique interpretation. After playing the two singles from their new album?”Odd Soul” and “Blood Pressure”?they launched into a Southern blues-rock version of “Fallin’” that sizzled. Maybe it was the Hammond B3 organ Todd Gummerman played, or perhaps Darren King’s substitution of snare for hi-hat on the double-time beat, but this cover worked in every way that “Southern blues rock” covers almost always don’t. This was “Whipping Post,” not Blues Hammer. Even the band was visibly pleased with how they sounded; frontman Paul Meany let out a deserved “Alright” when they finished.

Check out the whole four-song set, also featuring a rendition of their 2009 single “Spotlight,” which has a great rhythm-guitar line on the bridge thanks to Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. And for more on MUTEMATH go to YouOughtaKnow.vh1.com.
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Newly Lefsetz-Approved Dawes Cover Vic Chesnutt

Since we named Dawes our latest You Oughta Know artist last week, they’ve continued to gain buzz. Example: After seeing the band for the second time in two days, self-styled music industry prognosticator Bob Lefsetz raved about Dawes in his much-read blog The Lefsetz Letter. (It helps that Jackson Browne was an unannounced special guest the second night.)

Meanwhile, we’ve got a bonus clip from the band’s You Oughta Know Live set: a cover of “Where Were You,” by Vic Chesnutt (from the late songwriter’s Michael Stipe-produced 1991 album West of Rome). The band’s rendition gives the alt-country lament a California sheen without losing its plaintiveness. Watch it above!
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