As a rock journalist I’ve seen my fair share of excellent shows. I’ve been at concerts that take you back to the roots of live music (see: The Lumineers), shows that explode with unbridled energy and passion (see: Imagine Dragons), and performances that are just flat out fun (see: Walk The Moon). But, never have I seen a display of such pure uncut talent like the one I saw from British pop star, Emeli Sandé at the Key Club on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip.
In what was a symbol of both technological advances and the untampered-with human element, last night Sandé headlined the live streaming ChapStick Sessions/Myspace revival concert. An intimate mix of ChapStick VIPs in professional attire and casually dressed fans bursting with excitement all cheered when Sandé appeared on the small stage in a skin-tight black dress. As she sang out the first note to her hit, “Heaven,” her thick supple voice was near perfect. This vocal flawlessness carried on with each track she sung from her debut album “Our Version Of Events.” Holding notes for an impressively long time without ever showing the slightest indication of cracking, Sandé’s range and sheer smoothness is something most professional singers would envy.
Along with her mind-blowingly amazing vocals, Sandé is also an expert performer. The intense passion for each word she sang was never more evident than when she moved into “My Kind Of Love,” often clenching her fists or raising her outstretched arms into the ether for further inspiration. As she punched the air to punctuate a swell in the melody, her hands trembling with powerful emotion, it was as if all the kinetic energy bottled up inside her was coursing through her, finally finding release in the strength of her voice.
During her set Sandé effortlessly transitioned from a variety of different styles. “Where I Sleep” had strong reggae influences, giving off an easy island feel to the track, while “Breaking The Law” featured backup from an acoustic guitar, lending itself to a more classic rock and roll interpretation. As well, her nearly a capella version of “Suitcase” almost had a slam poetry feel to it (even inspiring one person from the audience to shout out “Preach!” eliciting laughs from the audience and an amused smile from Sandé). The highlight of the night, however, was of course her biggest hit “Next To Me,” which was the ideal demonstration of pop power and feeling.
You can (and should) watch all this for yourself by visiting ChapStick’s live streaming link here. And one more additional bonus, for each video shared, a $1 donation will be made, up to a total of $50,000 to the Music Empowers Foundation, which provides tomorrow’s talents with the opportunity to learn, play, create and perform music. Definitely check out this link, or see her live if you’re close enough to her European dates coming up this March. Listening to her studio recordings is great, but witnessing this force live is something special.
Look out for our exclusive interview and story about Brit star in LATF The Magazine's upcoming March issue.
By: Darianne Dobbie