A fervent singer-songwriter since the age of 10, the now 24-year-old Emeli Sandé got her first big break while still a teenager. But instead of signing to a label, she put her music career on hold and embarked on a six-year degree in medicine. In 2010, with just a year to go, she decided to take time out from her medical studies and dedicate herself to her music full-time, signing a record contract and beginning work on her debut record.

Sandé gracefully flaunts her rich voice and penchant for sophisticated melody on Our Version of Events. The album reveals her to be an uncompromising creative force in the vein of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill. Throughout Our Version of Events, Sandé creates a heady and complex soundscape to showcase her towering talent. There’s the strings-drenched epic “Daddy” and the hypnotic “Heaven” But while the record bears a sharp and shining retro-futurist feel, it’s also rife with raw emotion—a phenomenon that Sandé credits to a dogged commitment to acting on instinct.

“I’m not too bothered about what category my music goes in and there’s no point in limiting in who you can reach, but I want it to be respected,” she says. Sandé has already been announced as the winner of the coveted BRIT Critics Choice Award for 2012 and in an unprecedented twist, was also nominated as Breakthrough Artist at this year’s BRITs as well.

“You get so many opinions of which direction you should be going in, and you hear horror stories of people writing 400 songs and the album being shelved,” she says. In Sandé’s estimation, it’s far better to “come knowing what you wanna do. And I know what I want to do.”

Emeli Sandé »

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