Artist Interviews

Q&A: Emeli Sandé

By | Published on Wednesday 17 August 2011

Emeli Sandé

Hailing from Scotland, singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé quit a degree in medicine at Glasgow University to pursue her burgeoning music career, signing to EMI/Virgin in 2009. Since then she has worked with Devlin, Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle, also co-writing and featuring on Chipmunk’s ‘Diamond Rings’ and duetting with Wiley on his 2010 single ‘Never Be Your Woman’.

Having loosed sublime lead single ‘Heaven’ earlier this week, she is now poised release her own debut album ‘Our Version Of Events’ on 21 Nov. Her first headline tour is due to kick off on 1 Nov at Glasgow’s Oran Mor. In anticipation of all this, we put our trusty Same Six Questions to Emeli.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Music has always been the love of my life. I remember that before I’d ever had any musical training, it was the emotion, variety and the science of music that so excited me and the challenge of working it all out was what I wanted to spend my life doing. I was a very introverted kid but with music I could be as loud as I wanted and people would listen. I’ve sung since I can remember and I began learning instruments around the age of eight. First the piano and clarinet and more recently the cello. Around the age of thirteen I started experimenting with song writing and fell in love with telling stories with music.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Our version of events. These are my experiences and my perception of the world. Growing up and learning about myself and people around me; all our flaws and all our weaknesses is what the songs are inspired by. It’s an album of my experiences and what I’ve learnt so far.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
I need to be around people I trust and that trust me creatively. The minute I start second guessing myself the song dies (usually a slow and painful death). One of my favourite quotes is from the poet Olivia tames; “You must surround yourself by magicians to even dream of making magic”.

Usually ideas are inspired when I’m relaxed and being honest to myself. I record every little idea down on a dictaphone and will listen to them over and over on train rides. I’ll then either play it and finish it on piano or wait until I hear an amazing track from a producer. Sometimes though, on rare special occasions the song appears from nowhere within 20 minutes. I surround myself and fill my world with writers I consider 100 times better than myself as I believe that’s the only way to improve and to beat complacency. So reading is essential and listening to all the greats is part of my daily routine.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
There are so many greats from all different genres, disciplines and centuries that I’m in awe of. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in. Ranging from writers, instrumentalists, poets to painters, to name a few of the tip of my head – Nina Simone, Virginia Woolf , Donny Hathaway, Olivia Tamês, Lauryn Hill, Roger Mcgough, Bach, Jacqueline du Pre, Stevie Wonder… it’s a bit of a mixed bunch but that would be some dinner party!

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Please listen with an honest and open heart because that’s how it was made. There is no agenda here.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My greatest ambition is to speak for and to a lot of people from every different walk of life. I can only hope and pray that it will be received well but that is out of my control. I want to continue learning and improving. I hope I can continue to make music as a living because waking up every day to write music is a dream comes true.