Emeli Sandé: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Emeli Sandé is a 29-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter with humble roots. She has been lighting up the scene with her polished ability to pen songs, her beautiful soprano voice and her mastery of the piano.
By the age of 16 Sandé already had a record deal, which she turned down in order to go to university. After graduating she spent some time writing top 10 hits for U.K. stars like Chipmunk and Wiley. From there she launched her solo career, signing to Virgin Records and EMI, where she released her full-length debut, Our Version of Events. The album reach #1 in the U.K. shortly after release and earned Sandé numerous honors, including BRIT Awards for Best British Female Artist and Best British Album in 2013.
Released just today, Sandé’s much-anticipated second studio album, Long Live The Angels, looks to follow up on the success of its predecessor. Full of life, soul and Sandé’s soothing soprano, a majority of the record showcases her stunning and singular solo talents, with a mere two, albeit clutch, guest appearances from Jay Electronica and her father.
We recently caught up with Emeli Sandé to talk about the five albums that changed her life. Check them out below, and be sure to listen to her soulful Day Dreaming on Jupiter playlist here.
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Mariah Carey: Music Box
It was one of the first albums my dad introduced me to. I was completely blown away and inspired by her perfect voice. There is a lot of gospel influence in this album and it just showed me how the power of choir could be used in pop music. The songwriting was exquisite, inspiring and universal. And yeah, I just thought it was beautiful.
Ms. Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
This album is so personal and honest. It was really life changing for me. I was about 13 or 14 when I first heard it and I heard it through Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation [on BBC Radio 2]. The first thing that struck me was the tone of her voice. It was probably “Ex-Factor” that I heard first. It was the tone of her voice and even though I didn’t fully understand at that point what ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ reference was about (I didn’t really know the growth she had gone through), it still had a profound effect on me. And also it was this super intelligent woman who inspired me in song writing. And especially the song “To Zion” changed my world. The storytelling was just amazing. The music, the production. It was just super cool. It was just honest. A black women, telling the truth; an empowered woman. Everything, the cover. It was just wonderful.
Joni Mitchell: Blue
So when I used to come on the weekends I would take the train down to London sometimes if there was a show or if we were writing. I was on my way back and I listened to Blue for the first time all the way back to Glasgow and i just thought it was incredible. I listened to it over and over again and it taught me that songs don’t have to have a traditional structure all the time because she really played with it and her voice was so sweet and it was just free and beautiful but also heartbreaking at the same time. So I chose Joni Mitchell for that reason; the songwriting mainly.
Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key of Life
You know, the tone of his voice, the way he experiments with music inspired me to compose and get into deeper aspects of composition, harmony and the way he played piano was also inspiring. He could be just as soulful at playing piano as with his voice. Writing songs like “Sir Duke,” the brass section was crazy. And mainly it was the storytelling. It had lots of stories of black struggle and poverty. One called “Big Brother,” he really painted a vivid picture in my mind and took me into another world.
Again, I probably heard this track through Trevor Nelson and I’d heard “Brown Sugar” but this one had a real depth to it. I remember even the artwork, I think it looked like he was in Africa. It just seemed so deep and the harmonies and the jazz influence, his voice… it was such a beautiful album. It could put you in a great zone. It was like the frequency of the album opened you up. It’s very sexy.
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