The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Feature Artist of the Issue: Emeli Sande

Contrary to popular opinion, Simon Cowell, judge of the British “X Factor,” does in fact like some people. Take singer and songwriter Emeli Sandé as an example. With a talent for penning songs of popular artists such as Rihanna and Alicia Keys, she’s known as Cowell’s “favorite songwriter at the minute” (which is impressive in itself, because Cowell seems to have a hard time refraining from insulting most people he hears).
But that’s not the only thing Sandé has to offer.

Besides that label tucked in her belt, she maintains a powerhouse set of vocals and a repertoire of varied songs to appeal to any music taste. Sandé is about to take the music industry by storm.

Originally from Sunderland in England, the singer-songwriter initially eased into the music scene by providing guest vocals on various songs, one of which (“Diamond Rings” by Chipmunk) she wrote. Sandé then signed deals with EMI Music Publishing in 2010 and Virgin Records in 2011, launching her solo career the same year.

But that’s not to say music was the only option on her plate; Sandé studied medicine for four and a half years in college as a back-up plan just in case her music career fell through. She continued to try and balance the two interests until she came to the point where she had to chose one or the other.
“I really missed being creative,” Sandé said in an interview with Seventeen Magazine. “I was giving 50 percent to medicine and 50 percent to music and I wasn’t being the best I could be in either of them.”

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Since then, Sandé’s songs have consistently ranked high on music charts around Europe and in the United States. Her debut single, “Heaven,” reached number two on UK charts. A later single, titled “Next to Me” and released in 2012, ranked number one in Ireland/Scotland and number two in the UK. “Next to Me” was also Sandé’s first US release, placing at number 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

The true representation of Sandé’s talent remains within her debut album, “Our Version of Events.” Released in February 2012, the tracklist impressed music audiences and critics alike, maintaining a music integrity true to her style.

In an interview with Complex Magazine, Sandé similarly noted that “I’m proud that I got to say… exactly what I wanted to say and be truthful and honest… I really stood my ground and was able to create something that was true.”

“Our Version of Events” displayed not only Sandé’s notable songwriting skills, as she took part in the making of each song, but also her impressive voice control and versatility.

With an album like this, all music lovers will be able to find a song they can enjoy.

“Heaven” maintains a steady funky drummer section paired with dramatic vocals and almost gives off a ‘90s club feeling. Along similar lines, “My Kind of Law” is one of the songs on the album that showcases Sandé’s vocal power in an R&B and soul package with a slower but strong beat.

In the middle ground is “Mountains,” a record that keeps a simple, softer beat but makes things interesting by throwing in instrumental backings, predominantly strings.

Sandé then connects with listeners through songs like “Read All About It (Pt. III),” “Hope” and “River,” all of which showcase raw vocals that convey an emotional appeal. These songs are also similar in the sense that the background music is quieter and instrumental-based in order to emphasize her voice; “Hope,” in particular, utilizes this contrast to allow Sandé’s control, shown by riffs, to shine through as well.

When asked by Seventeen Magazine about the best time to listen to her music, Sandé said, “I’d listen to it at night when there are no distractions. That way, you can just sit down and take it all in.”

But no matter what type of music or what listening time one prefers, Emeli Sandé is an artist to keep an eye on. Another album like this and she’ll be known around the world.

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