Entertainment‎ > ‎

Singer-songwriter Emeli Sande teaches aspiring stars the secrets of her success

posted 17 Feb 2012, 11:49 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Feb 2012, 11:50 ]

BRIT's Critics Choice winner, singer-songwriter, Emeli Sande tells wannabe songwriters how to get noticed.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 27, 2012) (REUTERS) - BRIT's Critics' Choice winner Emeli Sande met with young aspiring musicians in London on Friday (February 17) as part of a special songwriting class ahead of the BRIT Awards on Tuesday (February 21).

The Scottish singer told students how she got her record deal and how to become a successful singer songwriter.

She later treated her audience to a rendition to some of her earlier and more recent songs, including "Next to Me" and "Clown".

Sande was first heard of when writing songs for other artists including Chipmunk, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah.

She rose to public prominence in 2009 when she featured on the song "Diamond Rings" by Chipmunk.

Her single "Heaven" went to No. 2 in the British singles charts last summer.

But Sande told the audience how her career could have potentially kicked off much earlier, when she won on Trevor Nelson's BBC Urban music competition, subsequently being offered a record deal. However at the time she decided to turn it down.

"You guys will know with record deals you have good ones and you have bad ones", Sande told the audience. "And the ones I had didn't really give me a secure feature in the music industry. If I was really gonna get involved into music I wanted a career that I could release albums and really establish myself as an artist as opposed to releasing just a single or just one song."

She also explained to Reuters Television:

"I think it was just my belief in the type of artist I wanted to be. So I knew that I wanted to be an artist that really understood their craft and took time to do that so that's what I turned it down (the first record offered to her) in the first place and I was never in a rush. I went to study medicine cause I wanted a degree and I wanted to feel very stable in what I was doing. So I guess really trying to get that artistry across and to be the artist I wanted to best," she said.

Emeli Sande's debut album "Our Version of Events" was released earlier this week (February 13) and is tipped to go number one in the UK album charts on Sunday. Prior to releasing her own music, Sande had also written the lyrics for artists including Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole and Leona Lewis, all of whom landed record deals after appearing on talent shows. Although Sande says she has respect for each of them, she would have never chosen the road for herself.

"It was just never an option to me really. People would say 'Do you wanna go on X Factor?' and I definitely think it's a good option for some people because it's a tough industry to break into but for me I just always had my mind set on the people that inspired me. You know I'd listen to Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone growing up so that was the bar for me, as like 'I wanna be someone like that', and I knew that wasn't the road to go down if that was the type of artist I wanted to be," she said.

Since releasing her first single life has dramatically changed for the Scottish singer.

"I mean I always had in my head making an album for myself and keeping songs for the album but the point where I felt 'Ok, I've done enough songwriting' and when I really wanted to break out was probably when I wrote 'Heaven'. That was the point where I thought I have my first single. This is my introductory song and so once I'd written that it felt like a natural thing to realease it and to kind of try and break through thank God it's kind of worked out."

With a BRIT Award under her belt and her own album out, Sande says the attention she now receives does feel overwhelming.

"It's hard to get used to. I'm used to just waking up, walking down to the studio, no one really knowing who I am and you get used to after so many years of it, so it's really lovely, especially because they (the fans) really seem to have a connection to the songs and that's what I wanted to do it this way because I really wanted to speak honestly in my music so the fact that they really feel connected to my story and my music it makes me feel really nice."

Previous winners of the Critic's Choice Award have included Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Adele, who in particular has gone on to sell millions of records globally.

Sande, who decided to drop her first name Adele and use her middle name instead after Adele's rise to fame, said while she would love to have fans around the globe liker her namesake, commercial success was less important to her.

"I'd definitely love to take my music across the world. I'd love to go to the States, to Africa to the rest of Europe. It would be amazing to you know to see that your music can be universal. That must be an incredible feeling. But you know you never know how people react. I would never kind of put a bench on I wanna sell that many records but I would definitely love to have success over there," she said.

This dream could become true. Sande, who recently supported Coldplay across Britain and Europe is expected to join the band during their tour in America in March.