Never heard of young, soulful Scottish songstress Emeli Sandé? Don’t worry: If the growing insurgence of talented U.K. female artists is any indication, you will soon enough. Despite having only just released her debut album, Our Version of Events, earlier this year, the 25-year-old has already managed to land the gig of a lifetime: performing for 700 million or so TV viewers worldwide in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic Games. In fact, singing her hit single “Read All About It” during an emotional video montage of the Games’ biggest moments, Sandé proved more memorable than half the washed-up English musicians that were booked for the three-hour finale. Oh, and she even got to carry the torch.
Technically, Sandé has been in the biz about four years now, having started out as a songwriter, penning tunes for a slew of artists, including Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole and Tinie Tempah. Interesting fact: The singer’s full name is actually Adele Emeli Sandé. Good thing she had a cool middle name, huh? As for any similarities between Sandé and her uber-successful U.K. counterpart, the most obvious are their tender ages and musical genres. And although she may lack Adele’s earth-shattering vocals, she makes up for it with her crisp, effortlessly pretty sound and poetic lyrics. Just imagine if Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys had a beautiful Scottish baby, then gave her a cool Rihanna-esque quaff. And speaking of Keys, the two recently joined forces, co-writing three songs on Keys’ upcoming album Girl On Fire.
Drawing influence from such compelling female singer-songwriters as Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill, Sandé’s music brings a much-needed touch of sincerity to a genre that seems to be growing increasingly shallow. How many leading R&B artists are writing about politics and world peace these days? Her current chart- topper “Next to Me” essentially embodies Sandé’s musical charm—super catchy, but still incredibly relatable and touching in its honesty. Listening to the artists she’s automatically grouped into on Pandora will only make you appreciate her more.
Tues., Oct. 9, 7pm. $15. TLA, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. tlaphilly.com
PW's Music Issue 2014