Emeli Sandé | iTunes Session (Capitol)

emilisande 75One thing I love about musicians is their ability to turn their art into a beautiful story of how dreams come true and hearts break on the road to winning.

 

The buzz around Emeli Sandé has been going around for the last few months and I finally got a chance to examine just why the Scottish songstress is the topic of discussion. Her iTunes Session, released on April 23, is one hell of an introduction to her precisely pitched, balanced mezzo soprano voice.

“Heaven” allows Sandé to showcase her ability to be succinct but powerful. Accompanied only by a piano, Sandé bares her soul about wanting to live completely free on “I Wish I Knew.” She wants free from expectations, the boundaries that alienate us from one another, and feels that “every man should be free.”

What I find so fascinating about Emeli Sandé’s iTunes Session is that it’s a complete showcase of her voice. There are no overpowering beats or instruments, just a guitar and/or piano—like on “Next to You” and “Read All About It (Part III)”—tunes that highlight a devoted to love from her boyfriend to him, and her love for people finding and using their voices for change.

There’s no doubt that Sandé’s voice is good; however, sometimes her tone is just a little under pitch and words incoherent, but it only adds to the emotion of the song. For example, in “Suitcase,” her baby is leaving her when all she did was love him; she’s not going to force him to stay because he’s already made up his my mind.

“See, the times are changing I’m sure of nothing that I know except this is us/ and this is love; and this is where I’m home/ In a world that’s breaking where nothing is for keeps oh this is us/ and this is love; and this is where I sleep.” A finger-snapping, handclapping, upbeat acoustic tune sure to reignite the fire of love in your spirit, “Where I Sleep,” makes you feel right at home, wherever you may be.

On “My Kind of Love,” Sandé shines as she expresses how her kind of love is loyal and constant. Her love and voice will be there through the ends of self-doubt and abandonment. It’s not a question to be asked; it’s what you’re going to feel when you think you have nothing else.

I’ve noticed that I’m a glutton for heartbreaking ballads (though I love love), and Sandé’s “Clown” just grows my love so much more. She sings this song from such a real place—her core—and it’s by far the best way to end the iTunes Session, with her heart smeared over each note of this track.

“I’d be less angry if it was my decision, and the money was just rolling in/ If I had more than my ambition, I’ll have time to please/ I’ll have time to thank you as soon as I win,” she explains. “I’ll be your clown behind the glass go ’head and laugh ’cause it’s funny I would too if I saw me/ I’ll be your clown on your favorite channel my life is a circus-circus ’round in circles I’m selling out tonight.”

One thing I love about musicians is their ability to turn their art into a beautiful story of how dreams come true and hearts break on the road to winning. Sandé’s iTunes Session cracks open a window to her soul that transfers from her mouth to my heart.  That’s the beauty of her music: It’s rich and intentional and leaves you wanting more—so much more. So yes, Emeli Sandé, we will recognize you. B+ | Ashley White

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