SALUTE: Emeli Sande Shows Her Version Of Success With O.V.O.E
As predicted Emeli Sande has officially beaten the Beatles record for the longest consecutive run in the UK top 10 for a debut album with her release "Our Version Of Events". Emeli Sande we salute you!
Its A UK Ting
Her first foray into the spotlight came in the form of her hook on the Chipmunk hit "Diamond Rings". Earning Chip his first UK top 10 the Naughty Boy produced track was our introduction to Miss Sande- who wasn't even credited as a featured artist. Her next top 10 entry again didn't belong solely to her as she featured on the Godfather of Grime, Wiley's number 8 charting single "Never Be Your Woman". Two big UK "urban" appearances from the Scot could have convinced people that this was the direction she was heading. Instead, it laid the foundations of a very British feeling vocalist. Emeli's closest an most often comparison is Adele. Who, despite her obvious London drawl has a sort of national ambiguity- she could, at first listen be from any one of the southern states of America. Emeli's association with the grime scene immediately established her as "one of us"
Emeli later emerged with her own first single "Heaven". The religion laced lyric laid over trip hop inspired percussion and swooping strings screamed Massive Attack, allowing Emeli to strike a chord with the record buying public. Transporting us instantly back to the 90's- the euphoric pop tune soared to number two in the UK chart assisted by the Jake Nava directed video. This was the first time I really paid attention to the Scottish Songstress. For one I knew Mr Nava wouldn't have come cheap which already sparked my interest as this meant Virgin Records had some faith in her. She'd also undergone a dramatic change visually. With a platinum blonde quiff and vintage looking outfit it was the first time we got to see some of her own personal style. And it wasn't just that- it was the way that Emeli shone a light on the fact that us Brits do have our own "Urban" sound outside of the Grime and Garage songs we hear on 1 Xtra. Long before Tinie and Tinchy, 3D and Daddy G were teaming up with strong black female vocalists like Neneh Cherry and Shara Nelson to soundtrack the 90's youth (who had grown up and bought "Heaven"- coincidental or extremely smart?).
Emelis next release could be considered the most important of her career so far. In October 2011 Emeli featured on the Professor Green single "Read All About It". Now, I have to admit this is probably my least favourite single she has been associated with. However, "Love The Way You Lie", I mean "Read All About It" (EASY mistake…) was a complete smash rocketing to number 1 in the UK chart with sales of over 153,000. Professor Green who was already an established artist also had the biggest single of his career and it was on a record that sounded more like an Emeli Sande song than it did his own. Funny, since Emeli in fact has no writing credit on the Pro Green single (take a second to digest that…). However, the song opened up doors for Emeli- her first Xfactor performance, her first number 1 and even spawned her own hit version ( a la Alicia Keys' "Empire State Of Mind") with "Read About It Part 3"- where she does take a songwriting share.
The Album, "Our Version Of Events" was released in February 2012. The other Adele's hype had finally calmed down a little allowing Emeli to debut at number 1 assisted by third single "Next To Me". By this point we had 3 singles to go by; "Heaven", "Daddy" and "Next To Me"- which don't actually represent the album in it's entirety. From Trip Hop to Gospel tinged these are arguably the "coolest" tracks on the album. The singles managed to lull us into a false sense of security- making us think that Emeli was all about the making us tap our feet and clap our hands. Little did we know, that the rest of the album would be rooted deeply in storytelling. Much like her inspirations for the album; Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell, Emeli paints pictures with her words, transporting us directly into a world of restlessness in "Where I sleep" or right at the point where she enters her bedroom only discovers her love has left in "Suitcase". Either way it didn't take the audience long to realise that there was more than meets the erm, ear- with O.V.O.E and it quickly became the biggest selling release of 2012.
OK so that little sporting event (the Olympics) didn’t hurt and neither did her double win and performance at the BRIT Awards in 2013. Both kept Emeli firmly in the public eye without her record label having to shell out too much money on promo. It’s worth pointing out that in October of 2012 the album was re-released with three new songs, a luxury not afforded to the records previous owners. One of the new tracks was the commercially underrated single "Wonder" a co feature with Emeli's frequent collaborator Naughty Boy. It's fair to say that if Emeli's storytelling skills were our ticket to a land full of heartbreak and heart swelling moments then Naughty Boys audio vision was the jet that carried us there.
So with 2 Brit awards and over 1.5 million units sold in the uk alone its fair to say that this album, even before the 63 week record, has left its mark. While it is yet to achieve the success it deserves on the other side of the pond, things are looking good. "Next To Me" has just reached its chart peak at number 46 and was featured in the international hit show Glee. She's already written for Rihanna and you can sense that the inevitable Beyonce collaboration is just around the corner. And all this success has been done on her terms. The image change, the weight loss, and even the low key wedding seem to all be at her own pace, backed by a team that clearly see beyond her potential celebrity and has put their bets on her potential greatness.