Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey—Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
Emeli Sande knows a thing or two about writing successful singles — after all, before heading out on her own, the Scottish singer cut her teeth by writing songs for several of her fellow UK artists. “I think it’s probably melody and I think a lot of people forget that you have to understand melody and what people want to hear,” she said in a recent interview with MTV UK. “I mean, you can have the coolest words used, but if you don’t have something that people want to sing back, it’s not gonna be a hit.”
Emeli has been putting cool words to paper and laying down catchy melodies over the past year for her debut album, which is due out in February. Ahead of that, she released “Heaven”, a sweepingly-epic, soulful summer hit on the UK chart, and paired up with London rapper Professor Green on his latest single “Read All About It”.
Now we’re just waiting for this talented singer-songwriter to make a splashy stateside debut. Until that happens, find out just why Emeli Sande has been popping up on our radar below.
FULL NAME: Adele Emeli Sande. The singer-songwriter dropped her first name for performance purposes because, well, she didn’t want the masses getting her confused with a certain best-selling artist behind hits like “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You”. Sande stated the following in an interview with UK paper Metro earlier this year: “I changed it as soon as Adele came out. I just thought, you’ve kind of taken the name now, so I went with my middle name. She was just getting bigger and bigger, so I thought I just really need it.”
HOMETOWN: Aberdeen, Scotland. Other artists who hail from the UK country of Scotland include “We Found Love” hit-maker Calvin Harris, Franz Ferdinand, KT Tunstall and Susan Boyle, whose newest album Someone To Watch Over Me Emeli co-wrote the track “The Will Be The Year” for. “Can you imagine a party with Susan Boyle? She’d just do something nuts and everyone would just be shocked,” Sande told Metro. “That’s a real rock star – very unpredictable.”
HER BIG BREAK: After meeting fellow UK musician Naughty Boy and working together (Emeli writing, Naughty Boy producing) on the single “Diamond Rings” for London rapper Chipmunk, she went on to pen tracks for Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis and Tinie Tempah. She also features on “Let Go”, from Tinie’s debut LP Disc-Overy. “I really loved working with Tinie – he has just supported me from day one,” Sande has said. “He’s brilliant and, yeah, he’s a very good looking man. I have never seen him not looking good. He’s very polished. I’d love to work with him again.”
HER BIGGER BREAK: Emeli featured on Wiley’s Top 10 hit “Never Be Your Woman” last year, then stepped out on her own this past summer by releasing her synth-soaked, orchestral debut single “Heaven”, which was co-produced by Naughty Boy, Mike Spencer (Kylie Minogue’s “Spinning Around”) and Craze & Hoax. The result: a #2 hit on the UK chart.
“It’s amazing to hear the song on the radio, the first time I heard it I was in a taxi at like 2am,” Sande told MTV UK. “It was incredible. I really want to hear it in a club and have a little dance to it.”
UP NEXT: Emeli’s debut LP Our Version Of Events is currently scheduled for a February 6, 2012 drop date in her home country. (There’s no word yet on a stateside release.) “As for surprises, if people are expecting ten songs like ‘Heaven’ then they’ll probably be surprised but there is going to be different elements – like quite intimate moments on the album,” she told MTV UK. “Producers I’ve work with include Naughty Boy who I work with a lot and is quite an integral part of it. I’ve worked with Jim Abiss on a lot of the production but I like to keep it quite a small circle of people who I have good chemistry with.”
Ahead of that, “Daddy,” the follow-up single to “Heaven”, will be released this Sunday (November 27).
WHO SHE’D REALLY LIKE TO WORK WITH: The songstress has stated many times that she would love to get in the studio with recent American Music Awards winner Nicki Minaj. Of course, given Nicki’s prolific string of collaborations, we’re surprised this hasn’t actually happened yet! “I could like sing the chorus and have something that can match her rapping but I would want it to be something where we were both doing something as equally as good and just really owning each part of it. It would be just something brilliant.”
While we wait for that particular meeting of the musical minds, Emeli’s got her hands full with UK rapper Professor Green. His dramatic, “Love The Way You Lie”-esque single “Read All About It” features Sande on the chorus and topped the UK chart earlier this month.