Emeli hoping for top spot

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Alford singer Emeli Sandé released her debut single ‘Heaven’ this week.

The 24-year-old has collaborated with spme of the biggest names in modern pop, in the past year, including Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk.

The former Alford Academy pupil, who is working through a six-year degree in medicine at Glasgow University, has also written songs for the likes of Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole and The Saturdays.

The talents of Emeli Sandé first attracted attention when she was eight years old. At primary school in Alford, she and her classmates wrote a song for a talent show.

She said: “That was the first time I thought I might be a songwriter. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, and I always 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.”

Sandé wrote her first real song with a proper structure aged eleven and four years later word had begun to spread about the precociously gifted teenager.

Emeli was offered a record deal soon after but rejected the opportunity to instead concentrate on her studies.

Relocated to Glasgow and its buzzing music scene, Emeli began supplementing her student income by playing piano and jazz standards in the city’s hotels.

In March 2010, Virgin Records, impressed by her writing and her voice signed her as an artist. and Emeli decided to take time out from her medical studies.

Emeli’s understanding of artists like Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack and Lauryn Hill are obvious in her own music.

“I can still relate to a Joni song, even though it’s 25 years-old” she said.

“That’s the main and important thing to me. I’m not too bothered about my music fitting in to a particular category. There’s no point in limiting who you can reach. But I want to be respected.”

Emeli supported Alicia Keys in June at the Royal Albert Hall and played her first UK festival at this year’s Rockness.