Tomboy-styled musician Emeli Sandé has taken a few years away from the music business to live life, get married (and divorced) and the struggle is real with her latest release, “Long Live The Angels” which maps out her path to strength and wisdom.
It’s 90s, it’s Tricky and it works.
Emeli has been away quite a long time – ‘long time’ in the current state of the music industry being defined as ‘an artist not releasing an album for more than 2 years’. For most of the top stars today, that would be career kamikaze, but for Emeli, this album had to have a good reason to be made. To put a lid on her recent divorce to longtime partner, marine biologist Adam Gouraguine.
In an interview with BEAT magazine, Emeli Sandé reflects “It feels like a real journey. Definitely a chapter has ended on this album. It’s like: “Okay, cool, onwards and upwards, let’s head towards the future.” I mean it’s all in there. I feel like the past three years are probably the most emotional of my life and it was therapy just putting it all in there. I would almost use my situation as an excuse not to be a responsible adult because I always had someone around me, whether it was my manager or my ex- partner. So I never had to learn to grow up. And then when I was just by myself, I had to face the real world. That’s when the real journey began.”
The recent album “Long Live The Angels” definitely signals a wiser and more complex Sandé; an artiste whose heart has gone through the mincer but has come out gold on the other side. It marks a brand new chapter in Sandé’s life, “I’m proud of my first album and thankful for the experiences it gave me. But I’m so much happier with my new album and with where I am in life.”
LISTEN TO EMELI SANDÉ’S LATEST ALBUM “LONG LIVE THE ANGELS” ON SPOTIFY BELOW.
The English recording artist and songwriter has been in the business since 2009 when she did vocals on rapper, Chipmunk’s track “Diamond Rings”. That voice of yearning that tugs at your heart got her a win in 2012’s Brit Awards Critics’ Choice Award.
Later, of course Emeli Sandé gained international stardom from her first solo single “Heaven” in August 2011, which was followed by two number-one singles across the UK and Ireland with “Read All About It” with Professor Green and “Beneath Your Beautiful”, a collaboration with Labrinth.
Her album “Our Version of Events” spent ten non-consecutive weeks at number one and became the best-selling album of 2012 in the UK, with over 1 million sales.
Adele Emeli Sandé was born in Sunderland, to a Zambian father, Joel Sandé, and English mother, Diane Sandé-Wood, on 10 March 1987. Her father, having moved from Zambia, met her mother while they were both at the polytechnic in Sunderland. It was only later that the family moved to Alford, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, when she was four.
When she turned 11, she began to display her penchant for music. “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.
When her skills in songwriting intact, a mere 5 years later she had already secured a record deal with Telstar label but she turned it down to do a 5-year degree in neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. She was a firm believer of getting an education should her music career not take off and her manager Adrian Sykes had 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”.
Well that wait paid off big-time for the manager and Emeli. With her career on the up and up, even performing for President Obama recently and working with Mike Posner, it looks like Emeli will not be making the daily rounds of a hospital neuro ward anytime soon if the effort and production value of her latest album,”Long Live The Angels” is anything to go by.
On first listen, I take this as an emotional gospel-influenced roadtrip with Emeli Sandé that begins with a quietly painful sunrise on tunes like “Selah” and “Breathing Underwater” which would eventually peak into the declarative “Hurts” at high noon and ends off on the hopeful “Babe”. It’s a record of release from pain. Exultant in its delivery and bold in its intent, the record is steeped in an unreserved sense of freedom and self-discovery.
There are, however, a few anomalies in the record, like the collaboration with Jay Electronica and Aine Zion on the track “Garden”, which harks back to Sandé’s urban roots. It’s definitely a reminder that Emeli’s influences are as much R&B and rap as they are singer/songwriter and it certainly showcases Emeli Sandé’s ability to take the risk of putting such a dark track on here as part of her healing journey. It’s a great song on its own with a distinct sound but maybe it’s just me but it feels like Tarzan showing up to an Avengers party.
Despite that,”Long Live The Angels” is still a good pop gospel effort and it stands its ground with Emeli’s vocal range and heartfelt delivery. It may not have the grandiosity and ambition that “Our Version of Events” did but it has an intimacy about it that you’ll begin to appreciate on subsequent listens…