Kaotican Alphabet

Emeli Sande interview

We caught up with Coldplay's latest support act

Good morning. On the December arena tour, fast-rising Scottish singer Emeli Sandé is opening at Coldplay’s shows in Glasgow, London, Paris, Cologne, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Frankfurt and Berlin – as well as the Under 1 Roof show at The O2 in London on 10 December (click for tickets). We gave Emeli a shout to find out a bit more about her…

Hi Emeli, how are you?
I’m very well, thank you.

Are you looking forward to your tour with Coldplay over the next few weeks?
Yes, I’m really excited about it.

Have you done a tour of this kind of size before?
No, nothing like this. I’ve only really done intimate shows, and just finished my first headline tour. But this is the first one that’s this big.

Do you know how the band came to pick you to do this tour?
I’m not sure. I did a cover of Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall and I know they saw that, so maybe that was the introduction to what I do. And I know they spoke to Miles at the label and he played them some stuff. But I was over the moon when I found out.

You said yes straight away?
Oh, absolutely. That was a big definite yes.

Have you played support shows before?
I’ve done a few, yeah. I supported Alicia Keys when she played in London at the Royal Albert Hall, which was incredible. And I joined Tinie on stage at Wembley the other night which was fantastic. So I’ve done bits and bobs, but this will be the first solid run.

As a new artist a lot of the crowd won’t know much about you, so you’ve presumably got to try to win them over.
Yeah, exactly. But I’m up for that. I’m just excited to introduce people to my music.

How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard it?
I would describe it as soulful, I think. And lyrical. It’s all about the lyrics for me.

You’ve been going for quite a while, but you’ve really started to come to people’s attention in the last few months.
That’s right. I’ve been in the business writing for people for the past couple of years and just trying to get everything together. And, yeah, these past six months have been insane.

Who have you written for that readers might have heard of?
I’ve written a lot for Simon Cowell’s label, so I’ve written for Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis. And I’ve written with Tinie Tempah and Alicia Keys as well. So, yeah, lots of people.

Do you regret letting any of the songs go?
No, as soon as I let them go, I’m like “It’s theirs now”. I’m fine with it.

But if it becomes a worldwide hit, don’t you wish you’d held onto it?
Well, I’ll still benefit with that, so it’s alright!

The Coldplay tour opens in Glasgow, so you get to start off in friendly territory.
Yeah, I studied in Glasgow. I can’t wait. I did the MOBOs at that venue too. It’s great.

There are some long journeys on this tour – which goes between countries on consecutive days, have you done that sort of thing before?
No, I haven’t. I’m sure it’ll be a learning experience!

Have you got a full live band coming on the road with you?
Yeah, my band is four guys. We’ve got to know each other really well over the past year and I’m really happy with how we play together. It’s going to be fun.

How does your music translate live?
We play around with it a bit, but the songs that people might have heard are pretty similar when I do them live. And there’s a whole different side of what I do that people haven’t heard yet, so I look forward to introducing people to that. There’s a lot more intimate songs that people might not expect.

So, are you a fan of Coldplay?
Yeah, a massive fan. I’ve followed their work for ages. I remember when I was studying I used to listen to their songs all the time. I think it’s brilliant writing.

Have you seen them live?
No, I haven’t. I was performing on Jools Holland and they were on the same show. So I saw that, but I’ve never seen a proper show.

Do you have a favourite Coldplay song?
I love the old stuff, like Yellow. But then I love the new stuff like Every Teardrop and Paradise. But I think if I had to pick an absolute favourite, I’d go with Fix You.

Your debut album is out early next year?
Yes, in February. It’s called Our Version Of Events.

You’re in that weird period before the release of a debut where it’s all going well, but you still don’t know exactly how people will respond to the album. Are you feeling excited or nervous?
I’m really excited. I feel very positive about it all. I’m proud of what I’ve made so we’ll just see what people think.

And presumably you just have to try to ignore the “ones to watch” hype and just get on with it.
Yeah, you can’t control it. It’s up to whoever’s judging it. So I’m just gonna keep doing what I do. That’s how I got here, so it’s what I’m going to continue to do.

Are you planning to get outside the UK soon?
I would love to. I think we’re going to start doing that sometime next year, but we’re focusing on the UK for now.

So you should probably try to enjoy this Christmas, because next year looks like it will be a busy one for you.
Yeah! I’m certainly going to try.

To find out more about Emeli Sandé, click here for her official site.