Today’s Breakthrough Artist: Emeli Sande

Another Adele from across the pond is trying to break into the American music scene. Adele Emeli Sandé, a powerful singer and songwriter in her own right, goes by her stage name Emeli Sandé to ensure there’s no confusion between her and the powerhouse known simply as Adele. Not that the Zambian-Scottish singer necessarily needs this pseudonym to set her apart. Her original voice does that all on its own.

Sandé’s uplifting single “Next to Me,” off her album Our Version of Events quickly rose on the U.K. charts, eventually peaking at #2. The double platinum album, which sold over 600,000 copies in just two weeks, is now getting some attention in the states as well. Sandé was featured in VH1’s June You Oughta Know list of artists, and Billboard has consistently warned the U.S. to be on the lookout for her poppy R&B single to make its way onto our charts. Sandé even preformed during the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony in London. Unfortunately, U.S. viewers missed this due to NBC’s decision to cut her as well as others in favor of showing advertisements.

Sandé has always been a songwriter at heart, writing and performing since she was in elementary school, but only recently making her craft her number one priority. She grew up a self-described “nerd,” voraciously soaking up all that school had to offer, and it wasn’t until her third year at The University of Glasgow where she was studying neuroscience that she was convinced to leave academia behind in pursuit of musical success.

Sandé had her first taste of victory after she auditioned for, and eventually won, the BBC Urban Music competition. This win, however, did not result in a record deal and Sandé’s musical take-over had to wait until she was serendipitously paired up with British rapper, Chipmunk. Together the pair released the single “Diamond Rings” which made it to #6 on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2009. She quickly followed this triumph up with another U.K. top 10 hit. These days, however, Sandé is setting her sights on conquering the states. The music powers-that-be have certainly detected something special in Sandé’s mix of soul and commercial beats, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of America recognizes it too.

By Darianne Dobbie



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