By NATASHA MILLAR
It’s a huge compliment to be compared to chart supremo Adele, but yet sets the musical bar stratospherically high. Too high for some perhaps, but prepare for 24-year-old Emeli Sande to catapult to notoriety with the release of her anticipated debut album Our Version of Events.
While both ladies picked up the Brits Critic’s Choice Award and ironically share a forename, (Emeli changed her name from Adele Sande to Emeli Adele Sande to avoid obvious comparison with the Rolling in the Deep megastar), this is where the similarities end. As Adele gained worldwide success and racked up millions in album sales, Emeli was studying medicine at a Glasgow University. With this career now on hold, Emeli is embarking on a path of stardom. As she prepared to release her first album, some critics initially wrote off her attempts as just another singer-songwriter punching above her weight. Emeli’s response to her doubters? Our Version of Events. All of a sudden it becomes clear; this girl is here to stay and will rocket up the top of the charts.
On first listen it is clear this is an album well worth the wait. Opening with the anthemic Heaven, the epic floor filler from last summer, the album is a roller coaster though Emeli’s feelings of love, loss and friendship. Admittedly the tone is more sombre as the album progresses. My Kind of Love with its key change and distinctively heavy soul could easily be mistaken for a Leona Lewis ballad and it’s not surprising this has been tipped as the next single release. Signing off the album is a bonus acoustic version of her hit with Professor Green, Read All About It which serves as a reminder that Emeli has paid her dues to the industry and is ready for the limelight.
Other notable songs include the short but sweet Where I Sleep which strips back Emeli’s voice to pure naked harmonies and should bring a tear to even the most cynical of eyes. But it’s track 10, out of 14, that showcases why Emeli is worthy of the hype she is finally starting to provoke. Next to Me is the biggest hit from the album, peaking at number 2 in the UK charts in February. With piano riffs and a strong drum base, the song is evidence that this lass is definitely on the way up.
The mid section of the album has received the most criticism for lacking in the up-tempo RNB and dance based beats that initially put Emeli on the map. However, in her song River, Emeli ponders “If you’re too big to follow rivers, how you ever gonna find the sea?” Perhaps this is best answer to any critics who doubt the talent and ability of both this album and indeed this Aberdeenshire artist.
Emile was always going to play this album safe. From Lana Del Ray to Leona Lewis, from Jessie J to Jordan Sparks, the market is saturated with strong RNB females. Stick on pre-packaged pop and you will be fairly certain to hear a bona fide chart hit. But follow un-chartered waters, the unknown and somewhat underrated and you will be rewarded with albums like Our Version of Events.
For more info and details on tour dates visit www.emelisande.com