“You really have made this year so incredible for me,” said Emeli Sande
as she stood on stage in front of an ecstatic sold out crowd of fans at the Royal Albert Hall, on Sunday night.
The Scottish singer songwriter really has had quite a year. After releasing her first solo single ‘Heaven’ in August 2011, she’s gone on to have two number one’s in 2012, with her Professor Green collaboration ‘Read All About It’ and ‘Next to Me’.
Her album ‘Our Version of Events’ went to number one soon after its release in February and her status as one of Britain’s most talented new artists was sealed in history when she performed in both the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the London Olympics in front of a global audience.
The awards have also rolled in – 2012 has seen her scoop three Mobos, the Critics Choice Brit Award and the Q Award for Best Solo Artist, on top of plenty more nominations.
“I’m so happy to be here and you sold out this venue this is my wildest dream come true,” gushed the 25-year-old, after kicking off the concert with her haunting and honest 2011 single ‘Daddy’.
Then it was on to her track about a romantic sanctuary, ‘Where I Sleep’. Every note seemed to rise right up to the domed ceiling of the Royal Albert Hall and it became clear we were all in for a treat.
Throughout her 20-strong set list, the Aberdeen-born star dedicated songs to those closest to her. The first, ‘Breaking The Law’, went out to her sister who cheered her on from a box.
Sande was not only dedicating songs to people but also the proceeds of the sold out gig, which she announced would be going to Prince’s Trust. She dedicated her rousing and powerful performance of ‘My Kind Of Love’ to the charity and had the audience singing the perfectly-crafted lyrics along with her.
Next she reminded us she’s also a talented pianist, as she sat down to perform a simple stripped back rendition of ‘Clown’.
“The lyrics of this song are so important to me… No matter how kind you are to people someone is always looking for a clown and sometimes you can be that clown,” said Sande, who seemed so much wiser than her years.
She stayed at her piano for her beautiful song ‘River’ for a mesmerising performance, accompanied by her small orchestra. For ‘Suitcase’, about an abandoned partner’s bewilderment, she was joined simply by her bass guitarist and the performance was still breathtaking.
Sande has performed on some huge stages – over the summer I saw her at Bestival and at the Olympics – but nowhere has suited her as perfectly as the Royal Albert Hall. A place made for huge voices like hers, yet intimate enough for fans to connect emotionally with every note.
“Singing this at the Olympics was incredible,” she said before breaking into her smash record ‘Read All About It’. “If you have a voice you should use it,” she cried – and use it she did. The song started off heavenly with plenty of swaying arms, before the drums joined in and Professor Green bounded onto the stage for his rap segment.
The crowd jumped to their feet and raised the roof for what was to be the first of two special guest appearances on the night.
After an impressively quick dress change into a fuchsia number from Sande, it was on to the uplifting ‘Wonder’ and ‘Mountains’, which she dedicated to her parents who were also in the audience.
“I’m going to end this with the song where it all began,” she said before belting out the up-tempo ‘Heaven’.
Of course there was a feat stomping encore, and she returned for her latest number one collaboration ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ with Labrinth. The atmosphere was incredible as the two young stars soaked in the moment, looking up into the rafters of the Hall, as their ballad was sung back at them.
Sande dedicated the last song of her fantastic concert, ‘Next To Me’, to her husband: “We just got married last month”. Like I said, she really has had quite a year.
MasterCard has partnered with Emeli Sande to provide Priceless tickets and experiences at her sold out tour in support of the Prince’s Trust and Nordoff Robbins this month. www.pricelesslondon.co.uk