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Adele Emeli Sande (pron.: // SAN-day; born 10 March 1987), better known as Emeli Sandé, is an English-born Scottish recording artist and songwriter. Raised in Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she first became known to the public eye after she featured on the track "Diamond Rings" by the rapper Chipmunk (2009). It was their first top 10 single on the UK Singles Chart. In 2010, she featured on "Never Be Your Woman" by the rapper Wiley, which became another top ten hit. Simon Cowell called Sandé "his favourite songwriter at the minute". In 2012 she received the Brit Awards Critics' Choice Award. She has written for a number of artists, including Cher Lloyd, Parade, Susan Boyle, Gabrielle, Preeya Kalidas, Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Alesha Dixon, Cheryl Cole, Tinie Tempah, Ella Henderson and Mutya Keisha Siobhan.
In 2010, she signed a publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing. She later announced that Virgin Records had given her a record deal. Sandé released her first solo single "Heaven" in August 2011. Sandé has three number-one singles across the United Kingdom and Ireland with "Read All About It" with Professor Green, "Next to Me" and "Beneath Your Beautiful" a collaboration with Labrinth. Her album Our Version of Events spent 7 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 and became the best-selling album of 2012 in the UK, with over 1 million sales. In 2012 she performed in both the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the London Olympics.
Emeli Sandé was born Adele Emeli Sandé in Sunderland to a Zambian father and English mother on 10 March 1987. Her father Joel moved from Zambia and met her mother Diane while they were both at university in Sunderland. She studied Medicine at the University of Glasgow, but stopped in her fourth year. She has stated that education was one of the most important things to her, because, if her music career failed, she has something to fall back on. Sandé said that her manager, Adrian Sykes, waited patiently from when she was 16, "Adrian really respects that I want to get an education behind me. He also knows my parents are keen that I finish university." Sandé has a tattoo of artist Frida Kahlo.
Sandé wrote her first song at age 11, for her primary school talent show. She remembers "That was the first time I thought I might be a songwriter. I always knew I wanted to be a musician and I knew I wanted to write because the people I was listening to all wrote. I never thought it was an option to sing anyone else's songs. The first song she wrote was called "Tomorrow Starts Again" - the song had proper structure and even a Middle eight.
Choice FM invited the 15-year-old to London to take part in their "Rapology" competition. Richard Blackwood also had her down to MTV's Camden studios to sing gospel. Sandé went to the same secondary school (Alford Academy) at which her father was a teacher. She said "I hated to be ill and to miss a day because I was so hungry to learn. I was very shy, nerdy and extremely well-behaved. Inevitably, throughout secondary school, it was part and parcel of my identity that I was Mr. Sandé’s daughter. No way could I muck about or get into trouble, because it would've got back to him within minutes. And Dad was strict, let me tell you."
Sandé's sister made a video of her playing the piano and singing to one of her favourite songs, "Nasty Little Lady". They sent the clip to Trevor Nelson's BBC Urban music competition. Sandé won the show and was offered a record deal, but the management that she met via the competition decided against the deal. Her parents sent BBC Radio 1Xtra a CD of her songs. Ras Kwame played on here "Homegrown Sessions", and four artists that year were asked to do a show in Soho. She met with Watford-born music producer/writer Shahid Khan aka Naughty Boy, who had previously worked with Ms Dynamite and Bashy, and they began writing tracks for artists such as Alesha Dixon, Chipmunk, Professor Green, Devlin, Preeya Kalidas, Cheryl Cole, and Tinie Tempah. Sandé soon signed a record deal with Virgin Records and EMI Records.
In an interview, she said "I was doing a show in London for 1Xtra and I met this guy called Naughty Boy. We got in the studio and we clicked work wise. We just started writing, not necessarily for me, we just thought ‘let's write a pop tune’ and experiment. And we wrote the Chipmunk track and I thought nothing of it. Naughty Boy sent it off to Chipmunk who really liked it and wrote his stuff around it." She signed a record deal with Virgin Records in 2010. She later signed another deal with EMI Records in early 2011. Sandé made her singing career debut in 2009 after appearing on the track she wrote for Chipmunk's first debut single, "Diamond Rings". The single charted at No. 6 on the UK Singles Charts, making it Chipmunk and Sandé's first ever Top 10 Hit. She later appeared on another single singing guest vocals, after collaborating with Wiley on his comeback single "Never Be Your Woman", the single charted at number-eight on the UK Singles Charts becoming Sandé's second consecutive Top 10 Single. Sandé decided against using the name Adele Sandé, due to Adele's growing success, so used her middle name instead. She revealed: "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."
Sandé revealed her first solo single would be released in early 2011. There was some speculation surrounding what track she would release, after many newspapers stated that it would be "Daddy". The first official single from her upcoming debut album was "Heaven" and was released on 14 August 2011. The song has received positive reviews from blogs such as This Must Be Pop and Robot Pigeon. She confirmed that "Daddy" would be the second official single released from Our Version of Events. Sandé achieved her first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart after "Read All About It" entered at number-one. On 26 November, Sandé performed at the LG ARENA in Birmingham for BRMB 2011. On 15 December 2011, she was named as the Brit Awards Critics' Choice for 2012. Her album Our Version of Events reached number one in the UK after its release in February 2012. Sandé's debut album includes songs written by her and has been reviewed as having "richly melodic, classically powerful, retro-futurist soul-pop songs." It was announced that she was up for another BRIT Award in 2012, for British Breakthrough Act.
Sandé is currently writing material for the original lineup of Sugababes. On 24 January 2012, Sandé performed a one-off gig for Q Magzine at XOYO, London. She was supported by British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka. She recorded a version of David Guetta's "Titanium" and the pair performed the song at NRJ Music Awards in France. Sandé has penned a track for Naughty Boy's upcoming LP entitled "Hollywood" which features soul singer Gabrielle. It is about fame coming and going and will be released in November. On 27 July 2012, Sandé sang "Abide with Me" at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and her song "Heaven" was used to accompany the section with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Both appear on the Isles of Wonder CD of the opening ceremony's music. NBC also used her song "Wonder" during the credits roll at the end of the tape-delayed ceremony broadcast in the United States. On 12 August 2012, Sandé sang "Read All About It (Part III)" at the closing ceremony, while a video montage of emotional scenes from the games was shown. She also covered a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" exclusively for the BBC, who used it for their end credits montage at the conclusion of their Olympics coverage. Sandé is a winner of the 2013 European Border Breakers Awards. The European Border Breakers Awards honour the best new music acts in Europe. The award ceremony takes place at the Eurosonic Noorderslag music festival in Groningen (NL). She won two BRIT 2013 awards for Best British female and Best British Album. In January 2013 it was revealed that Ella Henderson has anticipated work with Sandé on her debut album. The song "Next to Me" won two Ivor Novello Awards for "Best Song Musically and Lyrically" and "PRS for Music Most Performed Work" in 2013.
Sandé possesses a soprano vocal range. Sandé said she wanted her music to be remembered as that of Nina Simone, one of her favourite artists. She went on to say, Nina Simone achieved this for herself and writing her own songs is the best way possible. She also said; "These days nothing lasts, music is like fast food, you're in then you're out. She said, as much as she would like, she would never play the piano as well as Simone, but she would give it her best shot. She loves the songs Simone produced, including "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" and Simone's version of "I Think It's Going to Rain Today". She said that Simone's original songs are very poetic and she said "So when I listen to commercial stuff at the moment, I’m just thinking ‘haven’t you heard Nina Simone, haven’t you heard how a song should be written?" She went onto say "We choose and consume, feast and forget, then rush on to the next hot thing. There’s no point chasing that kind of success because it’s so transient. Far better to follow (our) own paths and be true to (ourselves)."
Sandé began working in the studio with Naughty Boy in 2009, where the pair first worked together on Chipmunk's debut album I Am Chipmunk. When Sandé was 16 years of age, her parents took her to Alicia Keys Songs in A Minor Tour and she said she always wanted Keys to hear her music. She spoke on why she likes Keys so much; "I’d read about her background and identified with her on so many levels. She was mixed race like me, a great student who’d been top of her class, who played piano and loved Nina Simone. And there she was in the pop charts, yet with songs that had a message. I saw 16,000 people hanging on her every word and thought, "I want this kind of attention. I want Alicia to know my music." The pair met when Sandé had just came back from New York and just began a second songwriting stint, but this time involved with Keys. The pair sat at a piano and played for hours trying to come up with a good track. She said that she wanted the songs on her debut album to be fresh and she wanted to try and take it back how she wrote songs at the beginning of her career. Sandé had classical music training as a songwriter in her teens and learnt to play the piano at an early age, and getting across that she played, made and wrote her own music was very important to her. She said on the album, she wanted people to see every side of her as an artist, so it was important to have songs there where there could be a real connection with the lyric, rather than there just be throwaway pop music. Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill were also major influences for the album.
While making her debut album, Sandé began to work with Tinie Tempah. She co-wrote "Let Go", on which she provided guest vocals. She also started working with Devlin after recording a song titled "Dreamer". Sandé later revealed she would be working on Alesha Dixon's upcoming album, The Entertainer. She co-wrote the hit single "Radio" along with Shahid Khan. and co-wrote tracks on Cheryl Cole's albums as well as Professor Green's album, which Sandé gave guest vocals on. She revealed that she is Simon Cowell's favourite song-writer at the moment; due to her writing songs for Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle. Sandé stated in an interview; she said that she would love to meet Boyle after writing songs for her saying, "I haven’t met her yet. I just sent her the song. I’d love to meet her because I think she is a bit of a rock star." One song that Sandé had cowritten for Boyle will appear on her new album, titled "This Will Be The Year". Leona had heard a couple of songs so we had a week in the studio with her. Leona and I got along really well. Then we had another week together. It was very natural. She recorded a song called Trouble and another called Mountains, so I look forward to hearing them on her album." There have been rumours she is writing a song for Rihanna.It was revealed after Professor Green announced his album tracking list for his album, At Your Inconvenience, that Sandé would feature on the first single from the album, "Read All About It". The single was released in October 2011 before the album was released. The pair also performed the song live on The X Factor results show. She draws on influences for her music from Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. Sandé said that all her songs were about World peace and political issues. Sandé said that the key to a good song when songwriting is using "honesty" and "raw emotion" as the best way to write. She said that if she attempts to write something which is "too smart" the creative process will not work for her. "Kill the Boy" was one of the first ideas that came to Sandé's head. She said if she has to work on a song longer than a day, she will not go back to it, as she said it won't work. She went onto say if it was to work, that the idea for the song would be almost instant.
In January 2012, Sandé confirmed that she was engaged to her then unidentified, long-term boyfriend of seven years. Her boyfriend had requested not to be identified and Sandé said that he is not in the music industry but is a scientist. He was revealed as marine biologist Adam Radojevic when the pair married in his home nation of Montenegro on 15 September 2012. Sandé has said she will take his name and be known as Emeli Sandé Radojevic, although it is unclear whether she will perform under this name.
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