Emeli Sandé at Sadler’s Wells
Multi Platinum Award-winning British singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé takes the stage by storm tonight at Sadler’s Wells, showcasing songs from her highly anticipated forthcoming third album, Real Life, alongside older classics. The artist returns from a hiatus in which she regained self-confidence through a spiritual and emotional journey, and the new material presents the singer on top form.
Opening the set tonight with Human, Sandé sits at the piano in a beautiful white dress, under the spotlight, joined by her band clad in black, comprised of electric and bass guitarists, keyboards, percussion and drums, along with four choir singers. The songwriter’s musical director is on keys and alternates at the piano too for this song, accompanied by the pre-recorded violin strings. Instantly, it is clear Sadler’s Wells is an ideal setting for the intimate performance, with its perfect acoustics making each track resound wonderfully. Love to Help and You are Not Alone both deal with solitude, the latter revealing optimism, while the audience clap and the choir provide church vibes, akin to gospel singing. Shine is about “finding the way to express yourself, to love yourself, to find yourself worthy in everything you do no matter where you’ve been”. Having recorded the music video with her sister, Adele, in a desert, Sandé’s excitement and happiness in sharing new music is abundantly clear, as she thanks her audience for their rapt listening.
The artist has been compared to the likes of music legend Nina Simone, who she also draws inspiration from, and the similarity is unsurprising; Sandé’s vocals are astonishing in versatility and range, reaching incredible low notes in Sparrow. From visiting her grandmother in Zambia, she reflects on her connections with the “ancestral energy”, singing the powerful highlight, Survivor. Extraordinary Being also stands out in tonight’s show – a collaboration with the upcoming X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, it’s fun and unique. Ending the set with Free as a Bird, Sandé dedicates the song to her recently passed aunt, who encouraged the singer on her artistic journey.
Though Sandé’s set is filled with innocent platitudes and the songs most striking are those involving unique arrangements, her energy keeps the performance on a high. Playing solo unplugged renditions of River, Clown, and Suitcase, she proves she doesn’t require instruments to put on a good show. Taking it back with Heaven, Sandé is assured as ever, the strength in her music and lyrics causing goosebumps. Inadvertently dedicating Mountains a little early, she realises her error good-naturedly, performing Read All About It, then playing the dedicated track to her parents in the audience. As the musician ends the show with classic Next to Me, getting everyone on their feet, her aim to make everyone feel elevated is fulfilled.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Emeli Sandé’s website here.
Watch the video for Sparrow here: