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Emeli Sande

Emeli Sande

Emily King, Jenna Andrews

Mon, Feb 4, 2013

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

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This event is 21 and over

Rescheduled Show. Tickets for the original date (November 28th) will be honored.

Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande
You are a 23-year-old from rural northern Scotland. Piano has been your instrument, your songwriting tool, since you were ten; your voice has been remarkable for even longer. A tattoo of artist Frida Kahlo - a typically single-minded, forthright heroine runs the length of your right forearm.

Some of the greatest names in modern pop have sung your thrustingly exciting compositions: Tinie Tempah (Let Go), Professor Green (Kids That Love To Dance), Tinchy Stryder (Let It Rain), Chipmunk (Diamond Rings), Wiley (Never Be Your Woman). You’ve also written for divas big (Susan Boyle), small (Cheryl Cole) and medium-sized (The Saturdays). Your dad (from Zambia) and your mum (from Cumbria), who schooled you in music and encouraged your ambitions, are already proud.

Then there are the richly melodic, classically powerful, retro-futurist soul-pop songs you’ve written for your own debut album. Your love for - and understanding of - Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill are obvious, loud and proud.
Then there’s the stuff you did in your ‘spare time’: three-quarters of a six-year degree in medicine at Glasgow University. You specialised in Clinical Neuro-Science, “cause I really like all the brain stuff.”

You are Emeli Sandé, and you also really like all the soul stuff, all the heart stuff, and all the emotional stuff. Not many people knew it, but you were behind some of the key tracks of 2010. Now you’re about to be the voice in front of the freshest debut of 2011. As someone who sweats the writing as much as the singing, you know it’s about being contemporary, and timeless.

‘I can still relate to a Joni song, even though it’s 25 years old’ says Sandé. ‘That’s the main and important thing to me. I’m not too bothered about what category my music goes in. But I don’t want it to be too cool for school. There’s no point in limiting in who you can reach. But I want it to be respected.’

The broad and staggering talents of Emeli Sandé first attracted attention (good and bad) when she was eight. At primary school in the small Aberdeenshire town of Alford, she and her classmates wrote a song for a talent show. Her friends nicked all her ideas.

“That was the first time I thought, well, if it’s worth stealing then it might be alright!” she remembers with a laugh. “That was the first time I thought I might be a songwriter. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, and I always knew I wanted to write. Cause the people I was listening to all wrote. I never thought it was an option to sing anyone else’s songs.”

Age 11 and full of pre-adolescent fire, Sandé wrote her first real song with a proper structure, “It even had a middle eight! It was called something like Tomorrow Starts Again. All my songs were about world peace and all these political issues. I had a lot of fun with all that.”

By the age of 15, word had begun to spread about the precociously gifted teenager with the big-but-intimate voice from the middle of nowhere. Choice FM invited her to London to take part in their Rapology competition; Richard Blackwood had her down to MTV’s Camden studio to sing gospel.

Then came Sandé’s big(ish) break: her little sister filmed her at the piano, singing one of her songs, Nasty Little Lady. They sent the clip to Trevor Nelson’s BBC Urban Music competition. Sandé was one of the winners, and was duly offered a record deal. But the newfound management that she had met via the competition advised her against the deal. Plus, other offers from other labels were soon coming in.

But, she recalls, “Doing the rounds of labels, I just didn’t like it. I just thought, I’d rather be a bit more in control than this. It was hard at the time because it was so tempting. But I was doing my exams at school, then I got accepted into medicine at Glasgow Uni. It would have been too much of a risk to say no to medicine then go down to London and just be another singer.”

The intuitive intelligence, self-awareness and empowered honesty that are apparent in her lyric-writing cautioned Sandé against jumping at the first taste of success. She went back home, finished school, then began her studies in Glasgow.
Relocated to Scotland’s biggest city and its buzzing music scene, Sandé began supplementing her student income by playing piano and jazz standards in the city’s hotels.

She tried to keep up with her songwriting while studying, “But I really had a lot of writer’s block and my head was full of facts and exams. I found it really hard to experience anything to write about other than sitting in the library. But I was doing shows and everyone on the course knew I was a musician. My writing speeded up, though, as soon as I started going down to London and meeting producers there. Before, it was just me and a piano so the sounds I could make were quite limited.”
Meanwhile, her mum had sent a CD of her songs to 1Xtra. Ras Kwame played it as part of his ‘Homegrown Sessions’. At the end of the year, the four best contenders were invited to play a showcase in Soho. Via that exposure Sandé (who had been on medical placement in Madrid at the time) met producer/writer Shahid Khan, aka Naughty Boy. He had written for Ms Dynamite and Bashy. As a writing partnership he and the Scotswoman clicked immediately. “When we started together it took the music to something completely original. It took me out of my jazz piano niche, and it took him out of his urban scene. Then we started writing for pop people.”

One of their first compositions was Diamond Rings, which Chipmunk’s “people” loved. Sandé sung on the track, and it became Chipmunk’s first Top Ten single in summer 2009. The music industry took notice, and this time she was ready. In March 2010, Virgin Records, impressed by her writing and her voice signed her as an artist. and Sandé decided to take time out from her medical studies. Since then, as other artists have had hits with her compositions and, often, featured her guest vocals, Sandé has been working on writing and recording her debut album.

Even in demo form, songs like punchily candid broken-jazz lament Kill The Boy (“I walk around with a bullet on my tongue, ‘killer’ written on my face, I know that when he finds out what I’ve done it’s gonna take his life away”), strings-drenched epic Daddy (“about addiction, to anything,” says Sandé) and Heaven (early Nineties drum’n’bass topped off by that glorious, nape-tickling voice) are evidence of a towering talent.

Honest, raw emotion, she thinks, “is the best way to do it. Any time I write something that’s trying to be too smart, it doesn’t work. ‘Kill The Boy’ was the first idea that came into my head. Any song I have to work on longer than a day, I just leave it. It’s not gonna work. Everything that’s good is really instant.”

Live, too, Sandé is building her sound from the bottom up and the inside out. If her songs don’t work solely on piano, they won’t work at all. If they don’t sound great simply accompanied by acoustic guitar and cello (the line-up she’s been using in select showcase gigs) they won’t sound great with beats, keys and studio bells’n’whistles. If she and her new band – they recently undertook a short run of low-key club dates in Scotland – can’t rock a live audience as readily as the dancefloor, a reboot will be needed. Sandé, a songwriter’s songwriter and already experienced at working with some of America’s best production teams, knows how to fix things.
Smart, sussed, talented, entrepreneurial, shiningly engaging in the flesh, utterly transfixing on stage and unforgettable in her words and melodies, Emeli Sandé is the epitome of the brilliant modern artist. She knows what she wants, she knows how to do it. Being honest – to yourself, and to your music – is the only way to craft songs that will matter to yourself, and to everyone else.

“Approaching the label with five songs – ‘this is my sound’ – puts you in good stead,” she reflects. “You get so many opinions of which direction you should be going in. And you hear horror stories of people writing 400 songs and the album being shelved. No,” she says firmly, smiling, “come knowing what you wanna do. And I know what I want to do”
Emily King
Emily King
Born in New York in 1986, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Emily King grew up surrounded by the music of her parents, jazz vocalists Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti. In 2002 at 16-years-old, Emily decided to concentrate full-time on her music career and began perfecting her craft in earnest. By her late teens, she was playing shows in restaurants and venues around New York City including CBGB'S and The Bitter End. In 2005 King had gained the attention of Hitman producer Chucky Thompson, which led to a meeting with famed music mogul Clive Davis, and a recording contract with J Records/Sony Music. Her debut album East Side Story was released in 2006. The album garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album and sold 155k copies in the U.S. During that time King toured with John Legend and Floetry, and opened for Nas, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan and Erykah Badu among others.

After parting ways with her label in 2008, King continues her work independently. Her follow-up EP Seven was released in July, 2011 and she is currently touring in support of it. In October she accepted an invitation from Maroon 5 to be the opening act on their European/Scandinavian tour in late 2011.

King's carefully crafted compositions are the perfect vehicle for her polished, lush vocals that harbor both an innocence and honesty. A gentle mix of soul, folk and rock influences, King's music emotes the kind of straight to the point storytelling that's reminiscent of singer/songwriters of the 1970's.
Jenna Andrews
On her forthcoming Island Records/ 21 Music debut, Canadian born singer/song writer, Jenna Andrews weaves a deep tapestry of emotion, personal growth and introspection in her debut EP. She imbues everything from pop to soul with poignant lyrics, suggesting a strength and wisdom beyond her years. "I know everybody's gone through pain," Jenna confides. "I talk to the little girl in me or other young women that are dealing with similar things, to remind them that your dreams can come true if you have hope."

Relying on that very hope, Jenna left home after just six months of college, determined to make a name for herself in Vancouver. The going was rough; some nights she couldn't afford to fill her gas tank, preventing her from getting to work. So she would spend those car-bound nights learning the guitar and writing songs; how ironic 7 month later she would be in the office of Chris Smith Management (Nelly Furtado, Tamia, Fefe Dobson, 21 Music) shortly thereafter Chris, introduced Jenna Andrews to IDJ executives. Her moving performance garnered her a deal within 24 hours. That said, the more you learn about Jenna Andrews, the less surprised you become to hear of unwavering determination.

Music, particularly jazz and R&B, was her mother's passion. She would take Jenna on long drives and introduce her to great vocalists like Donnie Hathaway and legendary singer/ songwriters such as Carly Simon and Carole King. As a young girl, Jenna connected with the music of her mother's generation more than the music of her own peers. "Melody can make you feel any given emotion—happy, sad, angry," she explains. "But lyrics are hugely important because when you attach amazing lyrics to the melody, it synchs. A great song resonates like nothing else in the world."

After collaborating with some of the world's top writers and producers, Jenna has now given birth to her 7 track EP, Kiss and Run.
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