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Yesterday evening Emeli tweeted about the success of her now award triple platinum album ‘Our Version of Events‘. The achievement comes after the release of the deluxe edition of ‘Our Version of Events’ and the standard version of the album. Congrats to Emeli and her team, all the hard work is definitely paying off! Remember, both versions of the album are now available on iTunes, be sure to get your copy today!

Emeli Sandé: Higher and higher

She sang for an audience of billions at both Olympic ceremonies, has written hits for Rihanna, Beyoncé and Professor Green, and has outsold Adele. Not a bad year for a medical student from Glasgow.

Poor Kylie. There she is, elaborately gowned and extravagantly supported by an orchestra, topping the bill at an invitation-only event at Abbey Road Studios.

It’s November 2011 and the Aussie songbird is giving a taster of an album marking her 25 years of making music. She has pulled out all the bells, whistles and string sections. But alas, on this night, Ms Minogue has been upstaged by another singer. Further down the bill there’s a mixed-race Scotswoman, living in a flat on Brick Lane, with a cockatoo shock of peroxide hair, and an elaborate tattoo of Frida Kahlo on her forearm. She also has an incredible voice: rich, soulful, expressive. It is a proper star-is-born moment, and the studio — packed with music industry movers and shakers — erupts.

Exactly one year later, I am watching Emeli Sandé wow another room. Over the past 12 months I’ve seen her triumph at the Brit Awards, dazzle Chris Martin as Coldplay’s support (‘He said he really liked my song-writing, which coming from him is the biggest compliment ever’), silence The O2 and inspire a rowdy crowd in Glasgow, the city where she was once a student at the School of Medicine. She also appeared in both the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics, had a number one with Professor Green, ‘Read All About It’, and her album has outsold Adele’s in the UK.

Today the 25-year-old is in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, teaching a song-writing masterclass to 30 secondary school kids from Hackney and Lewisham. She tells them that she began playing the piano as a child growing up in the small town of Alford, Aberdeenshire; how her English mother (a council licensing standards officer) and Zambian father (a teacher) always encouraged her; and how she tried to secure a record deal from the age of 16. Recalling her efforts to make headway in the music industry, Sandé tells the rapt teenagers that ‘London to me was just this exciting place, but I’d no idea how I’d get there from this tiny place really way north in Scotland’. Then, in response to the question ‘What does music mean to you?’, her answer comes quickly. ‘Everything. It’s how I express myself. There’s a spiritual connection — you’re feeling something higher.’

Sensible, focused and ambitious, Sandé possesses an almost old-fashioned faith in the power of song. It’s an attitude that has helped rocket-power the career of the woman who, in 2009, in the fourth year of her studies, abandoned plans to be a doctor (her area of interest: clinical neuroscience) in favour of the dream of being a songwriter. Sandé won the Critics’ Choice at the Brit Awards in February 2012 and her debut album, Our Version of Events, released at the start of 2012, has sold more than 800,000 copies and is the nigh-impregnable bestselling album of the year. She’s also had tea with Prince Charles at Clarence House (he appointed her a Prince’s Trust ambassador). Oh, and she got married, in Montenegro.

After the Olympics’ global-audience-of-one-billion high (more of which later), Sandé got away from it all, by marrying her Montenegrin fiancé Adam (the pair met as teenagers in Aberdeen), a marine biologist, in his homeland. She managed to fit in the wedding organisation by having nothing to do with it. ‘I gave it to Adam — he did everything.

Literally. When I got there he was like, “Oh yeah, let me show you the venue…” It wasn’t a church, it was just a place by the coast. And it was perfect. We got married at night and had a little honeymoon in Serbia. It was wonderful. A few Scots came from Glasgow. My friend Sam wore his kilt. He has such a strong Glaswegian accent, all the Montenegrins were like, “We thought we could understand English until he turned up…” ’ Were there any unusual Montenegrin wedding traditions? ‘People did bring money instead of gifts. But other than that it was really chilled out.’ And that includes the other ‘surprise’ Adam had in store for her — he’d booked her a concert, in a club called Maximus in the city of Kotor. She’s not sure if she’s sold (m)any records in the Balkan state, ‘but they do call me The Montenegrin Daughter-In-Law,’ she says with a laugh. She’ll now be known formally as Adele Emeli Gouraguine-Radojevic (no prizes for guessing why she chose to perform under her middle name). And she’ll have the Montenegrin passport to prove it.

Three days after her teaching stint at the Royal Albert Hall, Sandé is at the ITV Studios on the South Bank, preparing to record an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show. She’s singing ‘Wonder’, a new track written with her frequent collaborator Naughty Boy (aka Watford’s Shahid Khan). Over a hurried dinner (a bowl of tomato soup) in a tiny dressing room, she reflects on her giddy year. The Olympics was an obvious highlight, although nerves almost got the better of her during her performance of ‘Abide With Me’ at the opening ceremony. ‘It was really good for my range,’ she insists of the challenging hymn. ‘Because we did so many sessions rehearsing, getting it in the right key — but that key worked perfectly for me.’

The performance, a tribute to lost loved ones, was largely unadorned, with only a heartbeat rhythm and a ‘drone’ to accompany the singer. ‘That was why I was so nervous before going out. The dress rehearsal was in front of maybe 16,000 people — and that went awfully. So people could catch the Tube home, they told them to start leaving the stadium when my part was playing! And I’d walked up there, in the dress and the heels, and the mic didn’t work. Everyone was shouting, and I was getting so distracted, I forgot the whole arrangement… So that was in my head: if this happens on the night… Then, at the ceremony, right before they opened the door, I felt like I’d forgotten the whole tune. But it came back at the right moment,’ she smiles.

At the closing ceremony, too, she was picked by the BBC to sing John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as a valedictory anthem. Why was she so ubiquitous — did Adele pull out? ‘Ha ha ha! I’m not sure. I was really surprised that the opening and closing ceremonies asked me. But they were things you just couldn’t say no to.’

Other golden opportunities came from further afield. She spent time in New York co-writing three songs for Alicia Keys’ forthcoming album, and Beyoncé has recorded a track Sandé composed with Al Shux (who produced/co-wrote ‘Empire State of Mind’). Then there’s ‘Half of It’, a Sandé/Naughty Boy composition that caught the ear of Rihanna. ‘She heard it, loved it — got really emotional hearing it apparently. And then the next thing we know, they said she’s taken it and it’s supposedly on her new album.’

Sandé knows what a big song with a big artist can do for a writer. After Calvin Harris wrote ‘We Found Love’ for Rihanna, it topped the US charts for ten weeks, and fast-tracked the Scottish DJ/artist’s profile in America. For Sandé, who plans on devoting much of next year attempting to ‘crack’ the US, it’s exactly the start she needs. ‘As a writer, America is such a good place. Once you get access to one big star, because they’re all so connected — somebody works with this person, who works with that person — it’s a great way to get in.

But you never know with such a big marquee artist,’ she shrugs. ‘They say they’re gonna do it then it gets two months down the line and you never hear anything about it.’ She’s speaking from experience. Leona Lewis’s current single ‘Trouble’ is also a Sandé/Naughty Boy composition. Lewis first said she wanted the song two years ago.

Three days later I meet Mrs Gouraguine-Radojevic for the final time. Over the weekend, after The Jonathan Ross Show on the Saturday, she also performed on The X Factor with Labrinth — another co-writer, another hit. In the wake of the performance, the song ‘Beneath Your [sic] Beautiful’ shot from 88 to number one on the iTunes chart. Today she’s at the Grosvenor House hotel for the Q Awards. She’s up for Best Solo Artist, against Noel Gallagher, Adele, Dizzee Rascal and Florence + The Machine. Of course, she wins, with her pal Professor Green presenting the gong. On Sandé’s current form, you wouldn’t bet against her sweeping next year’s Brits.

She hangs out for a bit — a photo op with Dionne Warwick, another with Bobby Womack, some expressions of gushy love from girl band Stooshe — before exiting into the late-afternoon gloom to start rehearsals for her UK tour. Anything else Sandé would like to declare before she goes? She thinks for a second.

‘Well, I found out recently that Prince has sampled my song ‘Maybe’ on a new song he’s written — he’s playing it on the Jimmy Kimmel [the US’s answer to Ross] show next week. And that’s just…’ Emeli Sandé shakes her head. She is, genuinely, for once, speechless. ES

MasterCard has partnered with Emeli on her UK tour in support of The Prince’s Trust and Nordoff Robbins. Her album Our Version of Events is out now.


Check out the full gorgeous photoshoot in our gallery here.

Last night along with attending Harper’s Bazaar ‘Women of the Year Awards’ Emeli also won the ‘Musician of the Year’ award. This is a huge accomplishment for Emeli and definitely well deserved! Congratulations Emeli, we can’t wait for you to win loads more! We know you will! Also, thank you to Harper’s Bazaar for uploading this nice new photo to their website, Emeli looks great! See the full photo in the gallery!

Last night Emeli attended the 2012 Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards! Emeli even took home the award for ‘Musician of the Year’ but we will get into that on our next post. Emeli looked beautiful at the event, check out the rest and larger versions of the photos in our gallery!


Emeli2BSande2BHarper2BBazaar2BWoman2BYear2BZ3gRe03gny4l.jpg Emeli2BSande2BHarper2BBazaar2BWoman2BYear2BAwards2Bn_FCzbr7I54l.jpg Emeli2BSande2BHarper2BBazaar2BWomen2BYear2BAwards2BshPCYk27D1il.jpg Emeli2BSande2BHarper2BBazaar2BWoman2BYear2BcuVIp0iSH3Bl.jpg Emeli2BSande2BHarper2BBazaar2BWoman2BYear2BAwards2B0zaFKZkegK2l.jpg

Yesterday Emeli started a new video diary called ‘SandeSunday’ on Twitter plus also did a Ustream for the first time. Today, Emeli has now uploaded a video that really goes behind-the-scenes in current events in her career.

First, the video starts with Emeli doing a run-through her tour rehearsals of her singing previous single ‘Daddy’. Next, Emeli heads off to join Labrinth at one of his concerts. Then, Emeli and Labrinth rehearse and perform on X Factor, after that someone interviews Emeli after receiving her Q Award for ‘Best Solo Artist’, after the interview Emeli visits and performs ‘Wonder’ on the Jonathan Ross Show, later Emeli has a studio session with Rudimental, and that concludes the very busy first episode of Sande Sundays. Watch it below!


Labrinth aka Tim McKenzie, has scored his first UK solo Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart with Beneath Your Beautiful, the sixth single from his hit album Electronic Earth. The song, which features the vocals of – and is co-written by unofficial woman of the year Emeli Sandé, becomes Labrinth’s premier chart topper as a solo artist, breaking the 100k sales barrier and rocketing to the top spot with a huge sale of nearly 108,000 copies.

The Hackney born producer, songwriter and musician famously co-wrote and co-produced Tinie Tempah’s Number 1 hit Pass Out, and has previously enjoyed three Top 5 singles, including last year’s Tinie Tempah-assisted Earthquake.

Swedish House Mafia deliver a further 86,000 sales this week of previous chart topper Don’t You Worry Child (2), taking its total to date up to 308,000 in just three weeks on sale. Last week’s king and queen Calvin Harris and Florence Welch drop two places to Number 3. Rihanna, who the Official Charts Company this week revealed as the second biggest-selling female singles artist of all time, hangs tight at Number 4 with Diamonds, while Gangnam Style drops two to complete this week’s Official Singles Chart Top 5.

New Entries And Highest Climbers

The highest of three new entries on this week’s Official Singles Chart Top 40, JLS just miss out on a Top 5 placing as new single Hottest Girl In The World charts at Number 6. Watford songwriter/artist Naughty Boy scores his first Top 10 hit as Wonder, which features vocals by – who else – Emeli Sandé, comes in at Number 10.

London quartet Bastille secure their highest-chartin single so far as Flaws, the third outing from forthcoming album Bad Blood enters at Number 21.

As well as Labrinth rocketing up 84 places, Swedish House Mafia see a 50-notch jump as Save The World finishes at Number 36, helped along by its performance by Kye Sones on last weekend’s X Factor. Scream by US R’n’B star Usher leaps 28 places to Number 37, while Ho Hey by American folk rockers Lumineers jumps 22 places to Number 23.


With one hour to go before sending the magazine to print Emeli Sandé calls VIVA HQ for a chat. After managing to bag the sky-rocketing Emeli Sande as our cover star at the last minute, we only have fifteen minutes to chat to her as she makes her way to rehearsal. Given Emeli’s past year of chart success, collaborations and the Olympics, we’re not the only ones with a packed schedule. No pressure then! 

So, it really has been your year – the only artist to perform at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, your album is fast approaching triple platinum, (having been in the top 10 since its release in February) what has been your highlight and could you ever have predicted this kind of success?

There are so many amazing things that have happened. Opening up the Olympics was a big highlight for me as I never have and never will perform in front of such a big audience again. Releasing the album was also very big as I’ve dreamed of doing it for so many years and, in February when I got to release the album and it went to number one, that was major.

With performing at the Olympics, would you say you are patriotic?

Yeah, I think I am. I definitely feel very British and being there and being part of that meant I had that spirit even more, more than I would usually feel it. I was so proud of what Danny Boyle did and what we all put together – what we showed the world. I think it was so different and a very honest reflection of what Britain is.

A special edition of ‘Our Version of Events’ is being released with your cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’ How did it feel covering such a huge song?

Pretty intimidating! I remember when the BBC asked me to do it with the Olympics and at first I was very intimidated because it’s one of the best written songs ever; by such a legend. I loved being able to do my own interpretation and also introducing the song to a younger generation. I feel very honoured to be asked but also it’s quite a scary thing to do.

Your songs ‘Heaven’ and ‘Read all about it’ were incredibly popular but the charts are dominated by one hit wonders and passing musical trends. How will you manage to keep your music relevant and durable?

The main thing for me I think was when I released ‘Heaven,’ being my first single by myself, I really wanted to introduce myself as that kind of artist. I wasn’t really looking for chart success, I was looking for people to really start recognising me as an artist. I think, because I did it that way, you’re not pretending to be something else to get that one hit. I think you’ve got to be honest to stay relevant, and understand what people are going through and try to relate to people. That’s how I plan to go forward.

You won Best Solo Artist at the Q Awards against people like Florence Welch and Noel Gallagher. The Q Awards are typically known for giving lifetime achievement and Icon awards, how did it feel winning in that environment and against such seasoned artists?

Wonderful! I was there last year and was nominated for Best New Artist, so it’s great to come back and win it a year later. I just felt great and I didn’t think I would win it considering who I was up against so to get that acknowledgment was fantastic.

You have done a lot of writing for other artists such as Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle. What differences do you feel there are between writing songs for someone else and those that you will perform?

I think when you’re writing specifically for somebody … I don’t know the difference really. I try and approach writing the same way. When you know you’re working for someone else you’re trying more to understand what they want to say, as opposed to what you’re going through. I’ve been able to sit down with people and get to know them as quickly as possible. You’re kind of more of a facilitator. You’re just trying to put what they’re saying into words.

Simon Cowell has said that you are “his favourite songwriter at the minute.” What do you think of the whole X-Factor phenomenon?

X -Factor isn’t a programme I would have gone on or something I thought about doing. I don’t think it shows people watching about song writing and developing artistry. But, some great talent has come from those programmes so I don’t think I would completely condemn them. I love James Arthur on this show and it’s given him great exposure for his talent. The industry just didn’t pick up on him before, so I think it’s great for giving people exposure but I don’t think it’s a good thing to win them.

Have you been watching this series? Manchester went crazy about our local girl Caroline’s eviction against Rylan, do you have an opinion on this?

I’ve been watching bits and pieces. I was on it last week so I got to meet some of the contestants and James Arthur just really blew me away from the beginning. I didn’t see the eviction but I heard all about it.

Fame aside, you did four years of Medicine at Glasgow University, specialising in neuroscience. Was it a difficult decision to leave this course and what sparked it?

It was a very difficult decision and, compared to music, it’s such a stable and respected career, and I loved it. It’s just that I couldn’t keep denying that I wanted to do something creative and I wanted to be a musician. It was a big step for me to move down to London but I think what sparked it was that it was a specialist degree and once I’d graduated from that I really felt like I’d achieved something in University. When I’d written Diamond Rings for Chipmunk, I got published over the summer before I went back into fourth year so I think that was a big catalyst – I think having a foot in the door with the music industry is kind of when it all came together.

Considering your rise to fame, you have managed to stay out of the paparazzi’s way. Do you think stars’ personal lives are something they have to give up at a certain level of fame? How relevant are their personal lives to their brand?

I think it just depends how you play it. I’m not out every night and I’m usually in rehearsal or in the studio, so I don’t think if you’re really famous you have to give up privacy. I don’t know how it is for people like Rihanna or Beyoncé but for me it’s about keeping music as your focus.

In a fairly controversial move, Glastonbury had Beyoncé headlining last year’s festival with Jay Z performing there before. What do you think of R’n’B acts such as these dominating what are typically rock festivals?

I think it’s great, it shows that Glastonbury is current and it’s relevant. So many people are getting into R’n’B and hip hop – it’s a very relevant genre of music at the moment so I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s a very British thing, in America they keep music very separated so I think that it’s great that in Britain we can integrate and introduce people to new types of music.

We saw you play at V Festival, you were amazing! What’s been your favourite festival you’ve played at this year and why?

God, there are so many. I loved T in the Park because it’s back home in Glasgow. So doing the main stage there was a big deal. I also really loved Bestival because it was the last one, it was such a great time of day, the sun was just going down and the crowd was just phenomenal. I think probably Bestival.

Who are your biggest musical influences and how can we recognise them in your work?

I think Nina Simone influences most things I do. I’ve listened to her since I was about eight and I think she’s just a genius. I think if you listen to my work, what inspired me about her is the way she wrote and the way she interpreted lyrics – it was very poetic and very effective in a few words. I think you can probably hear her influence in my writing and especially when I perform live, I try and channel Nina. Apart from that I love Anita Baker and Whitney Houston – I love hitting those power notes when I can. Also Joni Mitchell, I think it’s story telling and they all taught me that the writing has to tell stories in my music.

Are you working on any new material at the moment and when’s the next album coming out?

I haven’t thought about the next album yet or any new material. I’m interested in releasing a new EP in between that, so getting some new music out there without having to promote it too much.

You’ve collaborated with a few big names in the music industry, who’s been your favourite to work with?

Professor Green – he’s such a lovely person and he’s really believed in me from the very beginning, so I think working with Professor Green was a really nice experience and having my first joint number one with him was really cool. Everyone’s been cool but I really like Pro.

You’re playing in Manchester on the 12th of November at the Bridgewater Hall which we’re really excited about. Was the last time you were in our area when you did the intimate gig at the Peckforton Castle in February?

God that was a long time ago! Yeah, that was the last time I was there. It was wicked, I love doing more intimate gigs when you turn up with only a few musicians. I love Manchester, I remember when I went there as a kid. It reminds me of Glasgow, and the crowds are really cool usually.

What do you like doing when you get up here?

The shopping is great but apart from that I’ve only ever been there when we’re working doing shows or radio. I’d love a tour at some point if we ever get the time.

Interview by Johanna Dorey


Labrinth looks set to score his first Number One in the Official Singles Chart with his track, ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ which features Emeli Sande.

According to midweek data from the Official Charts Company, the song is 14,000 sales ahead of the current Number Two, Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin with ‘Don’t You Worry Child’.

Meanwhile, JLS are on track for their ninth Top 10 single in the shape of the song ‘Hottest Girl In The World’, which is currently at Number Three. Calvin Harris and Florence Welch’s ‘Sweet Nothing’, a former Number One, is now in the fourth spot, followed by Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ at Number Five.

Over in the midweek Official Albums Chart, US country-pop star Taylor Swift is looking to nab her first ever UK Number One, with ‘Red’, her fourth LP, which follows 2010’s ‘Speak Now’. The album is followed at Number Two by the deluxe edition of Emeli Sande’s ‘Our Version Of Events’, which it is outselling two to one.

Lawson’s debut album ‘Chapman Square’ is at Number Three, whilst Jake Bugg‘s debut is at Number Four and Mumford and Sons’ ‘Babel’ is at Number Five.

Dappy’s debut LP ‘Bad Intentions’ is in at Number Six in the midweeks and Stone Sour – made up of Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor and Jim Root – are straight in at Number Seven with their fourth album, ‘House Of Gold And Bones Part 1’.

Check back on NME.COM at 7pm (GMT) on Sunday for more news on the Official UK Single and Album Charts.


Hey everyone, earlier today Emeli tweeted a new announcement photo that ‘Sande Sundays’ will be starting this Sunday. For now we are not to sure of what ‘Sande Sundays’ are so we’ll just have to wait and see what it’s all about! Comment below and tell us what you think they could be.

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Our Version Of Events
Our Version of Events is the debut studio album by Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé. The album was released on 13 February 2012 by Virgin Records, following Sandé's winning of the Critic's Choice Award at the BRIT Awards 2012. Though Our Version of Events is her first release, Sandé has been active in the industry since 2009, most notable appearing on singles by Chipmunk ("Diamond Rings") and Wiley ("Never Be Your Woman"). The album features R&B, soul and pop music. Sandé began working on the album when she was eleven years old.

"Free" is a song by the British quartet Rudimental featuring vocals from English-born Scottish recording artist and songwriter Emeli Sandé. The song was released in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2013 as the sixth single from their debut studio album, Home (2013). Another version of the single also features American rapper Nas.

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