Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Emeli Sande: Decisions, decisions

Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande

“I love medicine but music has always been my first love.”

How many times have you been in a position where you have had to make a decision that you did not want to make? It is a regular occurrence because that is what happens in everyday life, excuse the obvious. Whether you are an antelope deciding whether to take a drink from a watering hole where your cousin met an untimely death at the fangs of that particular brutal posse of lions to considering whether to vote Labour or Conservative (possibly an easier choice), decisions or paths are there to be made.

So, this is a music magazine I hear you cry, well there is a sense to that intro. Emelie Sande the Scottish songstress faces just such an awkward decision: should she complete another eighteen months to become a fully qualified doctor or does she embark on her infinitely more risky passion of music? I think we should help her in that decision and raise a couple of telling reasons why she should not return to medicine, (she needs to make her final decision by September).

Indeed the Editor and I already know what she should do (ED: No brainer!;) and in a sense I think Emelie already knows what she should do [reason 1]: “I love medicine but music has always been my first love. Most of me is saying I love music, I love writing for other people, I love performing and I love telling stories through music because that is what I do naturally. Medicine you have to study so hard for it and learn lots of facts.” she adds, [reason 2] “Funnily enough I phoned up my dad recently because he is so influential in the decision regarding whether I go back to medicine. I had spoken to so many other people already. So when I spoke to my dad I was so surprised by his answer. He said that I needed to accept that this is what I am good at and this is what I enjoy.”

Sporting a new-ish hairstyle a contemporary take I think on the Mohican with vivacious blond colouring and a couple of tattoos we already ascertain that this look in itself will make a return to being a doctor difficult [reason 3], “I always wanted to do this [sport a new hairdo and tats] but I could not do it because I was doing medicine it would be a bit much to have me approaching your bedside now” (pointing to her hair), “I mean there was heaps of stuff that I wanted to do anyway. I got a really big tattoo of Frida Kahlo because she is a ferocious painter. I want to get Nina Simone on here as well it is like my female power arm. My whole life style has changed there is no real routine to my day I just wake up and I might get creative.”

Clearly an academic lady her love for music has always been there ready to be explored” My dad is quite musical but he never like formally taught me or anything. I have always loved harmonies and I was always interested in how they work and stuff. It is something that I naturally loved and then when I was seven that is when remember when my parents recognised that I would probably be a singer.”Able to play the cello and piano as well, she is in many senses complete as an artist.

My first encounter with Aberdonian Emelie was on a track by underground extraordinaire Wiley. 'Never Be Your Woman' was a cover of the 1997 classic by White Town. On this track Emelie drops an enticing and ambient chorus. “My mum actually sent some stuff to 1xtra and they played some stuff on air and a guy who knew Wiley played it to him and he liked it. He got in touch with me and asked me to sing a hook and we did the cover.”

Even with this initial success however it is only fairly recently that Emelie has embarked with more purpose on the musical road and in some respects it was her pushing to try and keep both careers afloat that seemed to force her hand [reason 4], “I am really competitive and I want to be the top in everything I do but I was not focused in the medicine but then when I came to London with the music I was not giving a hundred percent again. In truth it was just too much coming to London to do shows and then going back to Scotland I actually started going mental.”

Sitting on the rather comfortable leather sofas in EMI we get onto her collaboration on Chipmunk’s hit single: “When I was studying I came down for shows in London and there was a producer called Naughty Boy and he was at one of the shows and we just met. I was doing a placement in Spain as part of medicine. When I got back I messaged him and as soon as we started working together we just clicked and one of the first things we did was 'Diamond Rings' (2009).”

[reason 5] Diamond Rings was the top ten single for Chipmunk and is the tip of an already powerful line up of artists she has lent her writing skills and vocals too: Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Cole, Professor Green and Devlin are just some of the key big named artists. News is buzzing that she may be working on Alesha Dixon’s new album as well. She also lets me know that recently while celebrating her birthday she created a track (with the help of her friends) that she has already pitched to the mighty and immensely talented Leona Lewis so B&S will be watching this space and keeping you updated.
With her writing talent already certified with hits, the gods and the momentum are securely in her favour as she continues to write and create material for her own debut album.

“There is no name for the album at the moment but I am hoping once everything is done then the album name will probably come to me. A lot of the themes are spiritual. I have a piece called 'Heaven' which is a confessional piece. There is a great deal of storytelling and it was all written within one period of time and so it expresses how I felt. A lot of the songs were written before I even thought of getting into music. I think it should be released in autumn because it has that reflective feel.”

In answer to the question: “so what are the themes that will be present in this album?”

“A lot of conversations I was having were religious based regarding about where we are in terms of our generation and how do we express ourselves at the moment. I also talk about the industry now which is so different to how it was years ago and indeed where is the room for artistry? A lot of themes are spiritual. I have a piece called Heaven which is a type of confessional piece.”

And indeed what are Emelie’s feelings now that she is in the music industry and signed to a major label?:

“I think you just have to trust the people that you work with. I think before you get signed that the people that sign you understand that this will be an artist led project. Also the people must like your music which is a funny thing to say but it is true.”

Having already certified that she can write and sing the debut album is evidently the next stage. Indeed her coming album is definitely one to watch and indeed B&S will keep a close watch. In the meantime Emelie, the case for you pursuing music is very strong. We have decided that you will sing, write for many other famous artists and produce a plethora of albums: B&S done!

Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter