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It’s right that the Brit awards should be presented by someone so truly, madly British as
actor James Corden. If you’ve never caught the incredibly funny Gavin and Stacey, you really should take a look. He co-wrote it and stole the show. Genius. He really is one of our favourite sons and after last year’s embarrassing moment when Brit producers used him to cut short Adele in mid-speech, he did a great job of keeping sanity among some crazy awards and live performances.
There was something slightly bizarre, then to have Taylor Swift presenting the first award, celebrating the best British female solo artist, especially when it came to be won by Emeli Sandé, consolidating the first of her three nominations into a win. Extraordinarily talented and – let me be honest here – WAY more engaging than Miss Swift, we’re proud of the Emeli we’ve met and come to love in the last 12 months. Sad that it didn’t go to Amy Winehouse, but there ain’t enough awards in the world to recognize that talent.
Best British Group went, not surprisingly, to the totally, totally brilliant Mumford and Sons and then British Breakthrough Act – voted for by BBC Radio 1 listeners – to the humble Ben Howard. Last year’s Best British Male (I think they just meant musically, but who knows?) was presented by last year’s winner, Ed Sheeran then went to … Ben Howard. Who was still surprisingly humble.
Critic’s Choice went for the first time to a man. Tom O’Dell would have been my choice, if they’d asked me. So that’s all right then. A prodigious talent.
We love Lana Del Rey, who walked off with International Breakthrough Artist in 2012, so it’s fitting that she won International Female Award 2013, even though she now lives in the UK, so technically she counts as one of us.
The nominees for British Live Act included The Rolling Stones but was stolen from them by Coldplay, while the Best British Single was a really tough call, although nominations were based on the biggest sales success in 2012. Although Adele couldn’t make it to the event, her ‘Skyfall’ scooped the award and no doubt her rehearsal for the Oscars gave her a valid excuse for absence. Sadly, the award for Best International Group also went to an absentee – The Black Keys.
International Male award went to Frank Ocean. Nice choice from the Brits and another popular winner was Special Recognition for War Child UK. Check out their work if you can.
There really was no competition for British Album of the Year. Had to be Emeli Sandé’s ‘Our Version Of Events’. Maybe, albeit grudgingly, the Global Success Award was similarly deservedly won by One Direction. Can’t argue that they’re popular. Still confident that the night went to Emeli Sandé for closing the whole thing.
Other live performances at the O2 were kicked off by Muse, followed by the awesome Robbie Williams. Fatherhood has definitely not dimmed his talent. Justin Timberlake did it the way only he can on stage and even One Direction weren’t awful – especially as their single is raising funds for Comic Relief this year – and then there was Taylor Swift. Thankfully, Ben Howard wowed and Mumford & Sons split the audience – love them or hate them, they all proved a pretty healthy state of British music right now.
With the UK steadily supplying some our most popular musical acts these days, it’s becoming essential to keep an eye on the other side of the pond as they turn out more and more talented musicians and singer-songwriters. Here is a list of British artists to start appreciating as they slowly infiltrate the American radios.
1. Emeli Sandé Scottish singer-songwriter, Emeli Sandé, is quickly rising to fame. Her songs have consistently made the top ten UK Singles Charts, and she was invited to preform at the Opening and Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. While she still remains relatively unknown in the states, she has written songs for American artists, such as Alicia Keys and Rihanna. She began her first stateside tour this year and is slowly working her way into the American eye.
2. Tinie Tempah London rapper, Tinie Tempah, first debuted in 2005 with a mixtape. His first full-length album, Disc-Overy, debuted at number one in 2010 and he went on to win the Brit Award’s Best Breakthrough Artist in 2011. His plans to release his next album this year and his next single is said to feature American artist Wiz Khalifa.
3. Labrinth Simon Cowell has an eye for talent. He gave the music industry One Direction, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson, and many others. One of his latest additions includes British artist, Labrinth. Labrinth made his debut in 2010 when he appeared on Tinie Tempah’s “Pass Out“. He released his debut album in March 2012 and is climbing the UK Singles Charts.
4. Plan B Plan B is a man of many talents with success as an actor and film director. His musical skills are also critically acclaimed. His debut album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, was critically acclaimed and his second, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, immediately went to the charts as number one. In 2012, he released a film entitled Ill Manors accompanied by his own accompanying soundtrack, which also charted number one.
5. Wiley Wiley has been in the Underground Music scene in the UK since 1997. He’s known as “The Godfather of Grime” and his work as an MC of Grime is his claim to fame. While he may never become a prominent figure in the US music industry, he’s been a strong influence on many British artists in the early stages of their careers.
6. JME JME is another English Grime artist that is a force to reckon with on his own. He’s particularly known for his rejection of the stereotypes that Grime artists are associated with – choosing not to embrace ideals centered around sex, drugs, and violence. He currently remains underground and refuses to go mainstream, yet he has retained an incredible fanbase and is venturing overseas to perform his biggest hits.
7. Devlin Devlin, another Englishman, has worked closely with artists such as Tinchy Styrder, Tinie Tempha, and Labrinth. His single “Runaway” debuted at number 15 and his video for “London City” garnered much attention. He has pushed back the release of his second studio album, but Devlin has been making plans for his return to the public eye.
The Klaxons are unique in that their music embodies psychadelic, sci-fi qualities intertwined with a basic pop background. The Klaxons began recording their third studio album in January 2012, but there is not yet a release date.
9. Dizzee Rascal Dizze Rascal does it all. He’s a rapper, MC, songwriter, and producer and his music is incorporates elements of hip hop, grime, electronic, rap and R&B. His third studio album Fresh garnered much commercial success and helped launch Grime Music into the worldwide spotlight.
10. The Kooks
The Kooks often experiment with different styles of Britpop, reggae, rock, and ska, even being compared to The Arctic Monkeys on some level. Their third album Junk of the Heart is their attempt at a solid, dynamic album that still remains a catchy pop album.
11. Corrine Bailey Rae Corrine Bailey Rae is already an award-winning artist. Her first album debuted at number one and she has one two Grammys. She channeled the emotions following the death of her husband and created beautiful and poignant soul music.
Omar Lye-Fook is often considered the father of British neo-soul. His most popular song “There’s Nothing Like This” and was his debut single. Though he’s not currently making music, he is one of the most significant and recognizable artists in the United Kingdom.
13. The Pigeon Detectives
The Pigeon Detectives are part of the garage rock revival in the UK. With a successful European tour already completed, it shouldn’t be too long before their music moves to the rest of the world.
14. Alice Russell
One of Britain’s best kept secret is Alice Russell. She’s performed alongside soulful and musical icons such as Amy Winehouse. Her music is deep and heartfelt and not usually for light listening. She plans to release her newest studio album, To Dust, sometime this month.
15. Ben Westbeech
Ben Westbeech is for those who enjoy soul music, but with a more electronic vibe. While he holds no critical claim or awards, his large amounts of collaborations set him apart from others. In his own words, his music is “house inspired, rather than straight up house music.”
With Awards Season upon us and the Grammys just a few weeks away, here’s our comprehensive list on which exceptionally talented singer-songwriters you should be keeping an eye on as the awards finish up.
Adele made her debut in 2008 and has slowly risen to super stardom in both the US and the UK. Her voice has a wonderful smoky and scratchy sound that you don’t hear much anymore, but her lyrics stand out on their own. They are riveting and never contrived. They are one of the reasons she’s become such a huge success. Her latest song for the James Bond film Skyfall is just one of many examples.
Skyfall is where we start
A thousand miles and poles apart
Where worlds collide and days are dark
You may have my number, you can take my name
But you’ll never have my heart – Skyfall
2. Ed Sheeran
Being completely honest, I have a bias when it comes to Ed Sheeran. He’s English, ginger, quirky, and a poet when it comes to songwriting. He was nominated for his first Grammy this year for his hit song The A Team. While he currently has only released one full length album, he’s written songs for hit artists like One Direction and co-wrote Everything Has Changed with Taylor Swift, who is a phenomenal songwriter on her own. Sheeran’s lyrics stand out for making even the most mundane things, like drunk-dialing, seem surreal and beautiful.
Give me love like her,
’cause lately I’ve been waking up alone,
Paint splattered teardrops on my shirt,
Told you I’d let them go,
And that I’ll fight my corner,
Maybe tonight I’ll call ya,
After my blood turns into alcohol,
No, I just wanna hold ya. – Give Me Love
3. Emeli Sandé
Continuing with the theme of talented UK artists, Emeli Sandé is slowly rising to the top. She’s penned songs for Rihanna and Alicia Keys. She has a special skill in matching both the vibe of the music with her lyrics. “River” has a softly majestic piano medley playing as she belts out mighty and beautiful lyrics. Her US hit “Next to Me” demonstrates her lyrical prowess.
When the money’s spent and all my friends have vanished
And I can’t seem to find no help or love for free
I know there’s no need for me to panic
Cos I’ll find him, I’ll find him next to me – Next to Me
4. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean was a big deal this year. With 6 Grammy nominations and and truly brave and inspiring coming-out story, Ocean has proven himself to be a voice for this generation. He also is an exceptional lyricist.
A tornado flew around my room before you came
Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn’t rain
In Southern California, much like Arizona
My eyes don’t shed tears, but, boy, they bawl – Thinking Bout You
5. R. Kelly
R. Kelly has been around for ages, but with good reason. And with the release of his album Write Me Back, he reminds us of why he’s a lyrical force to be reckoned with.
Like the world goes around everyday baby,
That is how you spin me,
Might as well call me a telegram baby,
‘Cause darling that’s just how you send me, yeah
I’m might as well take me a pen and sign a wave,
To be yours for the rest of my life,
You rescued me from heartache just like a savior,
Now being in your arms is like my paradise – Love Is
6. Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo is another one of those quirky singer-songwriters that I can’t seem to get enough of. His single Forget You was charming and catchy, much like many of his works.
Silence is like a spirit
That picked my house to haunt
But I know it’s there so I’m nonchalant
Now the question is just what do I want – I Want You
When he’s not writing his own music, Ne-Yo is often collaborating with other artists, such as Rihanna, Mario Vasquez, and even Beyonce. And it’s no wonder all these big names want to collaborate with him. His lyrics are beautiful and thoughtful.
Came in here and shut the world out
Nothing to get into, nothing to be about
Just grab a little bite, quiet little night
By no means looking for Miss Right – Miss Right
Even if you’re not familiar with The-Dream, I can guarantee you’ve heard his lyrics on your radio. He’s co-penned tracks like Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”, and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. While his own lyrics aren’t always on the cheery side, they’re poetic all on their own.
I don’t know how to please you
Everything was lookin’ up but now it’s lookin’ down
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to say
It seems your mind is on the other side of town
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Another day with you is just another f***in’ day
Somebody please tell me what to say
Or is it OK to feel this way? – Long Gone
It’s general consensus that when it comes to lyrics, Nas is one of the best (if not the best). Nas’ lyrics are best left to speak for themselves.
And I ain’t tryna mess ya thing up
But I just wanna see you dream up
I finally understand
It ain’t easy to raise a girl as a single man
Nah, the way mothers feel for they sons, how fathers feel for they daughters
When he date, he straight, chip off his own papa
When she date, we wait behind the door with the sawed off
Cuz we think no one is good enough for our daughters
Love – Daughters
10. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a musical legend. As one of the major faces of R&B, it’s no surprise that she’s exceptionally talented when it comes to lyric writing. She wrote her first song “Butterflyz” at the age of 14 and only improved from there.
Lonely, own me nobody ever shut it down like you
You wore the crown
You made my body feel heaven bound
Why don’t you hold me
Need me, I thought you told me
You’d never leave me – Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart
It’s undeniable that UK artists are the dominant forces of the American music industry these past few years. With artists such as Adele, Mumford and Sons, the Wanted, and One Direction becoming international phenomenons, the talented Emeli Sandé may not be far behind her fellow countrymen. Though you may not have heard her sing, you most likely have heard Emeli Sandé’s work. She wrote Rihanna’s Half of Me and several songs on Alicia Key’s new album Girl on Fire.
But Adele Emeli Sandé didn’t get her start in music. Even though she had been performing since childhood, writing her first song at the age of 11, and had a manager by the age of 16, Sandé felt her education was most important to her. She opted to study Medicine at the University of Glasgow because it gave her options in case her career in music failed. While attending university, Sandé would travel to London and perform during the weekends before heading back to Scotland for classes.
Sandé’s musical career first took off while she was in London, performing like always, and met rapper and producer, Naughty Boy. Her musical compatibility with Naughty Boy led to her collaboration with rapper, Chipmunk. The song Diamond Rings in 2009 was Sandé’s musical debut. The single came in at No. 6 on the charts, and Sandé soon found herself with 2 record deals.
Her debut album Our Version of Events quickly propelled Emeli Sandé into the spotlight. She preformed at the London Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies and has been nominated for the Brit Award’s Breakthrough Artist. While she hasn’t yet garnered the same attention stateside as she has in her homeland, Sandé is well on her way to becoming the next big performer. Her single Next to Me is steadily climbing the American charts, and her first US tour began this month.
Sandé’s tour is a bit different from what we’ve become accustomed to here in the states. While most artists now tend to go for flashy effects and theatrical performances, Emeli Sandé prefers to stand center-stage, simply dressed and sing her heart out. An Emeli Sandé concert is not about a big show. It’s about her voice and her spirit coming through the music.
With her rising popularity in the United States, Sandé will soon face the challenge that all female artists from the UK encounter: the comparison to Adele. Emeli Sandé is already at a disadvantage because her given name is Adele. And she does have some similarities to the award winning singer. Both of their works consist of mournful ballads and exceptional lyrics. But while Adele sings with more of smoky, scratchy goodness, Sandé’s piercing soprano has more of an R&B vibe.
And it’s Sandé’s lyrics that set her apart from the rest of the R&B world. “River” from her debut album sounds majestic with it’s beautiful piano base, but it’s the words that only really create the majesty . “If all you want are answers to your questions/ And you can’t seem to find no love for free/ If you’re looking for the right direction/ Then darling, look for me/ See, I can make the load much lighter/ I just need you to confide in me/ But if you’re too proud to follow rivers/ How are you ever going to find the sea?”
Emeli Sandé may not be one of America’s favorites yet, but I have no doubt that she will be soon.
Two of the most amazing weeks in London’s history ended tonight with a spectacular closing ceremony and within a very few minutes it became clear that I would quickly run out of adjectives.
Without doubt, the London 2012 Olympics were a success for the UK’s sporting heroes and the nation as a whole, with 70,000 volunteer Games Makers in addition to our staggering haul of 65 medals. This was a proud moment for the UK and the closing ceremony was an informal time for celebration with a symphony of great British pop music.
Emeli Sande performed twice, her beautiful solo voice with piano accompaniment belting out ‘Read all About It’. Within minutes, we had actor Timothy Spall dressed as Winston Churchill performing Caliban’s speech from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ while the stadium filled with taxis, trucks and traffic wrapped in newsprint. A truly professional choir and orchestra (conducted by one of the UK’s unsung heroes, Steve Sidwell) helped give the impression of the chaos that these wonderful Olympics brought to the streets of London.
Within minutes of Prince Harry”s arrival and the National Anthem, we had Michael Caine and a Robin Reliant car exploding to free comedy Batman and Robin, reminiscent of TV show ‘Only Fools and Horses’.
In quick succession, we had Madness ‘Our House, the UK army’s finest ceremonial musicians performing Blur”s ‘Parklife’, the Pet Shop Boys with ‘West End Girls’, One Direction, performers from the exceptional musical ‘Stomp’ and dancing troupe ‘Spellbound’ who managed to create a red London bus out of human bodies.
Ray Davies of The Kinks performed London’s informal anthem ‘Waterloo Sunset’, surrounded by children from schools around London creating a representation of the Thames. The entrance of the 204 flags was stunning, but dwarfed for sense of theatre by the spectacle of the thousands of sports men and women walking through the 80,000 spectators to take their place on the floor of the stadium. More music included Elbow’s, ‘One Day Like This a Year’. What is it about UK recording artists and their ability to write and record inspirational songs?
It’s a tradition that the medals ceremony of the Men’s Marathon event takes place in the closing ceremony and the next segment where the athletes recognised the volunteers who made these games possible.
The opening of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ led into John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ sung and signed by a children’s choir, made complete by film of Lennon himself leading the song. The intro to George Michael’s ‘Freedom’ caused uproar in the stadium and everyone joined in. We do love him and he really entered into the spirit of the event, declaring in no uncertain terms that ‘I’m alive’.
Kaiser Chefs performed The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ while iconic Lambretta scooters so loved of Mods was followed by a celebration of British music and fashion to the tune of David Bowie’s ‘Fashion’.
Another highlight came with Annie Lennox performing ‘Little Bird’ from Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Dracula’ on a bizarre ship, clearly being enjoyed by the whole stadium and she milked it – parading across the whole stage with a huge cast of dancers. Ed Sheeran with members of Pink Floyd and Genesis with ‘Wish You Were Here’ before Russell Brand on top of a bus sang the Beatles”I am a Walrus’ through a megaphone in a psychedelic segment.
You’ve probably never heard of Fatboy Slim, but he’s a DJ and producer we loved in the 1990s and his ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and ‘Funk Soul Brother’ were accompanied by lycra-clad dancers. Jessie J came on in a convertible singing ‘Price Tag’ and the audience just took over the lead vocals before Tinie Tempah emerged from a following car. His ‘Written in the Stars’ was followed swiftly by the third car revealing Taio Cruz who launched into ‘Dynamite’. Together, the three sang ‘You Should be Dancing’, which the borrowed from the Bee Gees but made totally their own.
The pace dropped as a fleet of London taxis brought on the Spice Girls who were then completely overshadowed by Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye in ‘Wonder Wall’ with full orchestra backing.
Throughout the event there were some bizarre theatrical pieces, often seeming to celebrate British eccentricity and the next segment led into Monty Python’s Eric Idle leading the stadium in ‘Always Look on the Best Side of Life’. Extraordinary, especially with the skating nuns, Bollywood dancers and bagpipes. Bonkers. Magnificently so.
Segue into Muse and ‘The Resistance’, followed by a massive Freddie Mercury, 21 years after his death and then Brian May’s guitar antics. Quintessentially British. especially when ou add Roger Taylor’s drums and the gorgeous Jessie J rocking out ‘We Will Rock You’. Interesting to choose a girl to sing the lead and bring it right up to date.
The tension dropped suddenly with the formality of the end of the Olympics and a handover to Rio in anticipation of 2016. Crazy dancing, singing, comedy and Pele proved that we’re in for a treat then – maybe they can throw a party as well as we’ve done.
The archetypal British boy band Take That sang ‘Rule the World’ before Darcey Bussell and dancers of the Royal Ballet led up to the extinguishing of the Olympic flame. Who else then, but The Who. Epic.
Here is a video of my favorite female singer in the UK, Emeli Sande, covering ColdPlay’s “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.” If you missed her performance at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, you definitely missed a treat.
We loved the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and the music chosen by director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire) and musical directors Underworld was really just our nation’s desert island discs, with a bit of dancing. Oh, and the Queen parachuting into the stadium.
For those of you who’ve never heard it, Desert Island Discs is one of the BBC’s most popular radio programmes, broadcasting individuals’ favourite tracks since 1942. Everyone from Tom Jones to Tim Minchin, from Eartha Kitt to Annie Lennox and a few politicians and some good people have named the tracks they would want to take on a desert island.
The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony began at precisely 20:12 on Friday 27 August, was watched by 80,000 people in the Olympic stadium and was seen by peak TV audiences of 26.9 million in the UK and a record 40.7 million viewers in the US, despite not being screened live. That last statistic makes it the most-watched non-US Olympic opening ceremony ever.
During the course of the four-hour ceremony, the music played included TV theme tunes as all as some of our favourite blasts from the past – London’s Calling by The Clash, God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols (minus the rude bits) and the Jam’s Going Underground.
Classical music included Edward Elgar’ Nimrod from the Engima Variations performed by the LSO On Track, featuring young musicians from ten London boroughs. Memorial sequences to the two world wars were accompanied by 1,000 percussionists performing Underworld’s And I Will Kiss led by Dame Evelyn Glennie. As the Union flag was raised, the national anthem was performed a capella by the Kaos Signing Choir for deaf and hearing children.
Classic rock contributions came with Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells and a humorous rendition of Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire featuring Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean. More up to date performances included Bonkers by one of East London’s favourite sons, Dizzee Rascal.
Emeli Sande performed Abide with Me in tribute to the victims of the 2005 London bombings.
Oh yes, and then there was The Pet Shop Boys, the Bee Gees (wh0 we are still definitely claiming as British), U2 and David Bowie. No-one is really sure whether Sir Paul McCartney’s performance was great or a little ill-advised. Judge for yourself.
After the parade, Arctic Monkeys performed I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor.
Within 48 hours the soundtrack, released immediately as a download, topped the iTunes album chart in Britain, France Belgium and Spain and was at number 5 in USA. A two disk CD is set to be released tomorrow and will, no doubt, storm the charts around the world. I think even those of us who have many of the tracks already in one form or another will be getting our credit cards out.
Arctic Monkeys – London Olympic Games 2012 from Arctic Monkeys France on Vimeo.
In no particular order, our favourite interesting facts about Emeli Sande, definitely one of our favourite UK artists today. So many reasons to love her sound and music.
1. Our Version of Events – her debut album – topped the UK album charts for two weeks in March and went Platinum. It’s the fastest-selling album by a British recording artist since Susan Boyle’s ‘I dreamed a dream’ in 2009. It’s on release in the US next week. You will want to buy it and listen to it. LOTS!
2. Remixes and collaborations abound. It seems as if every song she writes has a multitude of arrangements and voices. I can imagine her live with a massive band, just as comfortable as she is with solo piano. So far, she’s worked with or written songs for the biggest names in UK pop, including Tinie Tempah, Professor Green, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and Wiley.
3. Emeli performed on 25 May this year at Cooper’s Field in Cardiff, as part of the celebration of the Olympic Torch’s progress around Britain.
4. Born in Sunderland and raised in the depths of Northern Scotland . If you’ve never been, this isn’t Edinburgh. It’s VERY rural and a stunningly beautiful part of the world.
5. Although she possesses a stunning, distinctive voice, piano is her instrument. She’s been using both to write songs since the age of 10.
6. She has a tattoo of artist (and so much more) Frida Kahlo on her right forearm.
7. She’s actually on a break from a six-year degree in medicine at Glasgow University. It’s a little scary that she knows a LOT about clinical neuro-science and how our brains work. She certainly writes engagingly about how we all think and love.
8. Fans are getting vocal in support and wanting to find out more. A seemingly official fan site has just been launched.
9. She has been nominated for a BET 2012 award, to be hosted by Samuel L Jackson. She’s up for the Best International Act: UK against Estelle, Labrinth, Sway and Wretch 32. Right now, she’s probably hotter in both the UK and the US than the others, but who knows?
10. Sande is on her way over to you right now. Her mini-US tour takes her to Chicago, LA and New York before coming back home in June and then back with you in July. If you get the chance to catch her live, then do it.
There’s interesting stuff heading across the Atlantic from the UK. The diversity of the British music scene seems to be striking a chord with the American public, and we over here love it!
Whether you’re a fan of pre-punk Bowie, a devotee of manufactured pop or a lover of really, really cool singer-songwriters, we’ve got the very best for you in 2012.
June sees the rerelease of David Bowie’s seminal 1972 album ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And ‘The Spiders From Mars’. For the purists among us, it’s coming out on both CD and vinyl.
At the same time, we’re sending you One Direction. Frankly, you can keep them – pretty boys who can sing a bit and seem to love life. You gave us The Monkees in 1966 and I think we do a bit better out of this exchange. No-one can doubt that the marketing team behind One Direction has learned the dark arts at the Bieber school of social networking and really know their stuff, but I can’t bring myself to like their music. Even I can’t deny that being the first British group to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart definitely makes them a force to be reckoned with.
What we are letting you share, but definitely only on loan, is the fabulousness that is Emeli Sandé. One of the most inventive women on the British music scene (and we’ve got a few others we might let you listen to if you promise not to steal them), Sandé creates songs that get right into your soul. ‘Next to Me’ got to number 2 in the UK singles chart, but smashed into number 1 spot in her homeland of Scotland and also in Ireland.
‘Our Version of Events’ went straight into the album chart at number one in February and it’s already gone platinum. Listen to it. You have to. US release date is 5 June and it’ll light up your summer.
Sandé is touring the US and Canada with Coldplay in July and this is one support act you will definitely not want to sit out in the bar for.
So, does all this constitute a new music invasion?
In the 1960s, the Beatles infested the US charts, totalling 21 number ones – in 1965, 12 singles by UK artists made it to number one in the states and in 1968 ‘Hey Jude’ stayed there for nine weeks. No-one has come close to breaking that record yet, but my money is on Sandé rather than One Direction.
Oh yes, and in the 1970s and 80s we gave you the Bee Gees (let’s not argue about whether they count as Australian, we love them and call them ours), Elton John and George Michael. You loved them. Well, you are definitely not keeping George Michael – we revelled in the fun of Wham, the intensity of his solo albums (‘Faith’ will always be in my top ten) and forgave him his ludicrous drugs and driving offences. Just take a look at the love we showed when he was taken ill last year: there was a palpable sigh of relief when he returned to health just in time for Christmas.
The 1980s were a great period in British pop music. 1985 saw 13 UK singles in the US charts. Then who knows what went wrong as the new millennium hit and you just didn’t like our music. Actually, there was a lot that we didn’t like either.
But now, there’s definitely a hint of something new for us to share. If it’s not Adele (who’s already had three number ones in the US) or One Direction, it could be re-releases from 40 years ago.
It definitely could be something from the voice of Emile Sandé. If not, maybe from her pen – her songs have been hits for Cher Lloyd, Susan Boyle, Leona Lewis, Alesha Dixon, Cheryl Cole and Tinie Tempah and no doubt more singers will be keen to commission her talents. This woman is a prodigious talent and more than just a beautiful woman with a haunting, stunning voice.
Maybe an American singing a Sandé song. Maybe that’s the way this invasion will go. Exciting times ahead and we’re hoping for a long hot summer with some great British tracks pounding out of your speakers and headphones.