WITH four nominations, Emeli Sande is tipped to be crowned Queen of the Brits this week.
But the singer from Alford, Aberdeenshire, got her first taste of fame at a council-run talent show in Inverurie town hall.
At the age of 12, Emeli – then known by her birth name Adele – failed to get through the audition stages at her first attempt.
But the following year, she came a respectable third and collected a cheque for £150.
And later, as part of teenage a cappella trio Celeste, she finally hit the top slot but had to share the £500 first prize with bandmates Nadia Donald and Lorna Routh.
Emeli’s dad Joel, relaxing at the family home in Alford, said: “At every school concert, she wanted to perform.
“She entered the Inverurie talent show the first time and sang Liza Minnelli’s Cabaret and Mariah Carey’s I Will Never Forget You.
“She moved on to Christina Aguilera when she entered a second time and later chose the gospel song I Sing Because I’m Happy/His Eye Is On The Sparrow and Woman’s Work by Alicia Keys.”
Mum Diane, posing at the piano where Emeli worked on her earliest songs, added: “She didn’t get through to the finals that first time but that didn’t put her off.
“When she entered the second time, she came third.
“And winning with Celeste, when they sang Bridge Over Troubled Water and Fields of Gold a cappella, was a fun night.”
George Mitchell, who produced the shows for Gordon District Council, said: “One of the lovely people we came across at these talent shows was a wonderful young lady who is now world famous.
“I have a distinct memory of sitting there on a cold Sunday morning at her very first audition.
“She came in, sang and everybody held their breath as they listened to her. She commanded the hall.
“We used to advise all the contestants on how they could improve their performance so we talked to Emeli, who was still known as Adele at that time.
“She listened and took on board everything we said. She was a lovely person in every sense of the word.”
Emeli had turned 16 by the time she got her first big break, thanks to another talent contest for Trevor Nelson’s BBC3 TV show Rhythm Nation.
She won but turned down the first prize – a short term record deal with Telstar.
Joel said: “She had to turn it down because, having read through the contract, it didn’t give her enough security or longevity.
“It was just for one single and maybe one other after that. She needed something to fall back on.”
The teenage singer returned to Scotland empty-handed, unaware that Carlton Dixon, a producer for BBC3, had spotted her talent and tipped off music business acquaintance Adrian Sykes.
Adrian, who is now her manager, said: “Carlton told me he had found a great girl and that I had to go and see her. Being London-centric, I thought he was going to send me south of the Thames.
“When he told me she was actually in Aberdeen, I was like, ‘Oh, God, really?’ But he persuaded me to go.
“Danny D, a music publisher friend of mine, and I got on a plane, got a taxi from the airport to her house, met the family and sat down to this lovely little girl plinking out some tunes.
“She performed a song called Matchstick Girl. Even at 16, she was clearly incredibly talented.
“She was still at school, a grade A student, just about to take her Highers.
“She had a great determination and she was writing really good songs even then. She was just about to blossom.”
Perhaps mistrustful of the music business, Joel taped the conversation as Adrian pitched for a chance to develop her career.
He said: “People came and schmoozed and talked about the good things and never about the downside of the industry.
“I wanted to make sure we could review what had been said before making any decisions.
“So I recorded all the meetings of the people who came over.” Adrian added: “I can understand why he felt the need to tape those conversations. We were the big record company people coming up from London.
“Joel and Diane were brilliant with us though, incredibly courteous and welcoming.
“They were genuinely pleased that someone else believed in their daughter the way they did.”
Source: The Daily Record
16th Feb, 2013
EMELI Sande has performed to millions at the London Olympics, but her neighbours drew the line at her attempts at singing in the shower as a youngster.
At 10 years old, Emeli – then known by her birth name Adele Sande – loved to perform songs such as The Little Mermaid and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You to anybody who’d listen.
At Wednesday night’s Brit awards she is nominated for three categories. But she didn’t always get rounds of applause from nearby households in Alford, Aberdeenshire.
Emeli’s sister Lucy recalled: “She was always a singer. Even before school she was singing Disney songs like The Little Mermaid. That was a particular favourite.
“She sang Mariah Carey songs that dad had in his record collection.
“I remember the house would be filled with her singing all the big ballads.
“Those were probably the first songs she sang and I knew how good she was, even when she was just seven years old or maybe even younger.
“Mum and Dad tell me that they used to tend to her crying as a baby until they realised that she was singing.
“She would sing in the bathroom and the neighbours would complain or comment that they could hear her singing in the shower.”
By then Emeli had already shown a talent for music. From six years old, she took choir and recorder lessons at Alford Primary school under the tutelage of music teacher Morag Simpson.
“She was just a wee thing at that point,” said Morag.
“All the children had to play an ocarina, a South American instrument that is a wee cylinder with circles, and I taught her to play the recorder.
“She learned to read music.”
Emeli bagged the lead role in the school’s nativity play, Hosanna Rock.
Head teacher Liz MacLeod said: “She had a wonderful voice and when she sang the song Hosanna Rock solo, it sent shivers down my spine.
“On hearing a 10-year-old sing with such power and depth, everybody remarked on how special it was.
“Obviously, it was long before she became mega-famous but everybody was spellbound.
“It really was special.”
Morag, who remains proud of her protegé, added: “We chose her for the lead role of Mary because we could see her talent then.
“She had a nice soulful song to sing, which she did beautifully.”
Lucy, 24, admits her big sister’s special talent paid dividends on occasions.
She said: “We were in the choir at the same time but it was always her that got the solo parts.
“We would sing together in public at Halloween.
“We’d go round trick or treating and would sing a song.
“I was always the backing singer.
“We’d sing the songs we learned at school. We did quite well out of it.”
Having enjoyed Britain’s biggest-selling album with her chart-topping debut Our Version of Events, these days Emeli is also in demand as a songwriter for acts such as Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Leona Lewis.
But even in primary school, her songwriting talent was beginning to shine through.
Liz said: “She wrote a song for a talent show the children were doing. She didn’t perform it. Her friends performed it for her. It is amazing that she was writing songs for other people even then.”
Lucy, who recently secured a first degree in law but plans to become an English teacher, said: “I have always loved my sister’s songs so much. Even when she started writing her first songs, they were always special.
“They always touched me and I just thought they must touch other people like this.
“As a child Emeli was very good at making up games.
“She’d always be in control of what we were doing and singing.
“It was my birthday the other day and she wrote in the card this song we had written as kids. It was a really bad techno song we had created moves to. She wrote a few lines from it on the card.
“We also wrote a song on guitar as well, about a saviour who wasn’t a fighter, but the techno one convinced us we could write songs, even though it is quite embarrassing.
“The main line was ‘Techno is in the house’. We used to write songs and play at radio stations.
“Now it is inspiring to see her living her dream and seeing her do what she said she would. When I listen to the lyrics to her song River, I think of her and how she has been such a good role model to me.”
As a newcomer, Emeli won last year’s Brits’ critics’ choice award. Her four nominations at next week’s Brits in London are for British album of the year, for Our Version of Events, British female solo artist and best British single, for Next to Me and her collaboration with Labrinth on the song Beneath Your Beautiful.
She’s notched up more than 1.6million sales of her album in the UK, close to another one million worldwide and is making inroads in the US, having toured with Coldplay and in her own right too. Earlier this month she appeared on US TV shows Jimmy Kimmel Live and Ellen.
Mum Diane and dad Joel admit they have to pinch themselves as Emeli’s career continues to reach new heights.
“It seems like a daydream, to be honest,” said council worker Diane. “When she was little she always loved music and performing on the recorder.
“When she got a little bit older and was in P7 or S1, I noticed that it didn’t bother her getting up on stage.
“I could see the lyrics she was writing and how deep she was going into the songwriting by the time she was 13 or 14.
“There was a lot of music around but I think Emeli had the music in her from the moment that she was born.”
Born in Sunderland to Diane and Zambian-born dad Joel, a teacher at Alford Academy, Emeli spent a few months in Zambia before her parents moved back to the UK, eventually settling in Scotland.
Diane said: “Emeli was born in the same year Joel and I finished off our degree courses in England.
“We went back to Zambia in October 1988 because Joel had finished his mechanical engineering course he had been sponsored to do.
“But I was pregnant with Lucy at the time and I got malaria so things didn’t really work out in Zambia.
“I came back to Cumbria because that was where my sister was in 1989.
“Joel came back and we moved up to Alford in 1992. He got a teaching position in Alford.”
Joel added: “I knew when Emeli was six or seven years old that she had something special.
“From then on I realised she wasn’t shy about making music. She tried to imitate the popular singers of the time and tried to get the sound the exact same as the records.
“She was standing in front of a lot of people from a young age. She was happy to be heard in front of adults.
“She would sing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On and she would try to reach all the notes.
“She sang Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston songs and later, at the age of 12, it was songs by Alicia Keys.
“She picked up on Nina Simone from my music collection.
“We played lots of different music in the house including gospel, R&B and blues.”
Cutbacks in music education led Emeli’s music teacher Morag to take voluntary redundancy from Alford Primary in 1997.
She currently teaches up to 2000 children each week as part of the Government’s Youth Music Initiative and says Emeli’s success is inspiring a new generation.
“I have gone up in the estimation of the children in the schools I am teaching in now because I taught her,” said Morag.
“The kids think I am wonderful now. They are all sticking in with the choir.
“There were lots of musical kids when I taught Emeli but she stood out as being talented enough to go on and do something with her music.
“I would never have guessed how far her talent would take her. I couldn’t have predicted that.
“It is really amazing.”
Source – DailyRecord.co.uk
14th Feb, 2013
I went to see Emeli last night in Hollywood at the Key Club in a showcase sponsored by Pfizer and Chapstick (Viagra joke can be made here). She was absolutely sensational, mind blowing, unique. By accident I’ve seen Emeli sing three times in LA since Saturday and she’s just been outstanding and astouding each time.
Each year Elton gets a cutting edge act to perform at his all star celebrity party set up next to the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Proceeds from the dinner and party benefit his and David Furnish’s Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the few charities that really achieves its goals and has vanquished AIDS in many parts of the world.
In the past they’ve had Nelly Furtado, the Scissor Sisters, and even Prince at the party. They also get the creme de la creme of celebs, from Sting and Paul McCartney to Hugh Jackman (this year’s co chairman of the dinner) to Sharon Stone and Quincy Jones.
Today in a release Elton called Emeli’s album “a true work of art. I predict that by next year she will be a multiple Grammy winner.”
Indeed, he’s right–the next year is going to be a big, slow build for Emeli. I just hope she can keep calm as her career explodes. I do think people are going to be fighting to get into the EJAF Oscar party to see her– and maybe hear her sing with Elton on at least one song. After hearing her last night, it’s easy to imagine her big soulful voice on one of his many hits.
13th Feb, 2013
12th Feb, 2013
This is great news and will only help Emeli with breaking America. Kendrick is currently a very in-demand artist in America. I cannot wait to hear this remix, it should be great!
Read Just Jared’s official statement below:
So what do you guys think? Are you excited? Let us know your reaction in the comment section or in our chatbox!
12th Feb, 2013
A few days ago Emeli attended her first ever Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy Awards Party. Emeli did several interviews while on the red carpet. View some of the interviews below. Emeli says that Frank Ocean has been her favorite new artist this year, once the tour is done she is writing more music, and much more!
10th Feb, 2013
Check out photos from Emeli’s performance below. Photos of her arrival on the red carpet will be uploaded when they are released.
View the thumbnails below and visit the gallery to see them in full by clicking here.
(Note) Emeli will be attending the Grammys tonight, but will NOT be performing this year.