BALANCE_OCTOBER_2019 - 26

B

reak all the rules/Love who you
choose/Just make sure it's love
that lights your fire..."
I'm walking through King's
Cross station, en route to
meet multi-award winning,
multi-million-selling singing
sensation Emeli Sandé in
a nearby hotel. Except there's a problem: I'm
crying my eyes out. The track Shine from Emeli's
new album is spinning in my headphones, and
it's hit me. Hard.
"...Express yourself/It's good for your health/
Nothing to fear when truth walks beside you..."
BALANCE has never commissioned an album.
But if we had, it would be Real Life. Like much
of the album, Shine is a clarion call to positivity,
togetherness, self-belief, following your heart
and all the good stuff to get you sobbing on a
beautiful Wednesday morning. To sit with Emeli
and talk about this, and so much more, is a lifeaffirming joy. Indeed, meeting the 32-year-old is
like catching up with a dear friend; she's open,
funny, talks from the heart and, dare we say it
(we dare!), she has a great energy.
"The biggest thing really was being alone for
the first time," Emeli says of the genesis of her
third - and, may we say, best - studio album.
"You know, I'd been in a relationship since I was
17 and then we got married. But the marriage
didn't work and it was also really important for
me to have that time.
"So I got to 27, and everyone says that's the year
when everything's gonna hit you, and it really
did happen to me. I got to a point like: who am I?
"I love being a singer and all this stuff, but
for the first time I was finally alone. It was me
figuring out the world.
"Yeah it was emotional and sad, but at the
same time there was a seed of hope in me even
at that stage, I'm going to face the world as I am,
and find out who I am on a deeper level.
"I want to rebuild everything on concrete
instead of sand.
"I'll know from the very beginning that this is
done with purpose and this is my true intention."
Of the end of her marriage to marine biologist
Adam Gouraguine, Emeli adds, "I didn't know
myself enough to promise myself to someone.
I think that's the biggest thing with marriage.
"I hope one day it can be blissful and smooth
and wonderful. But unless the two people

I'M TRYING TO
INCORPORATE
A LOT MORE
GRATITUDE
IN MY LIFE
26

getting involved completely know themselves and understand what they're getting into, then I think
it's dangerous to do all that. Then again, we're in this society of rush, and all of your friends are getting
married. Looking back, I was 24, so yeah it was difficult with all the emotional pain of it. But I also
think it was so necessary for me to grow as a person.
"It was God or the universe being, like, 'You need to be alone'. This is gonna feel bad now, but how
can you promise yourself to somebody if you don't know yourself yet? That's the conclusion I've made ."
What is apparent is that Emeli is in a good place right now. She talks with zest and zeal, and is
endearingly confident. Indeed, as the old saying goes: "When the pupil is ready, the master appears."
As in, when you're ready for something to happen, it probably will, and you sense that next relationship
may be blossoming by the time you read this. If it's not, it will be on Emeli's terms. "I do feel great," says
Emeli, "and that started with gratitude, something I try and do every morning. When you get caught up
in the rain or work, it's the gratitude of the small things. All the things we have and seeing how unfair
it is in other places, that's why I'm trying to incorporate a lot more gratitude into my life."

Soul searcher

One thing Emeli is grateful for is that voice. Even an ardent atheist wouldn't mind us describing it as
God-given. It's truly spine-tingling and can make your spirit soar one moment, before deftly ripping
your heart out the next. This is talent. What connects Emeli to the true greats of the past is soul; she
sings from that special place, where you know she means every damn word.
One of those soulful greats beloved by Emeli is the iconic Whitney Houston, and she shares a story
regarding the singer's tragic passing in 2012.
"I was releasing the first album and Heaven was my first single," Emeli explains. "I was performing
at G-A-Y on the night that my album came out. Then I got a text message from my sister that said



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http://europe.nxtbook.com/emp/Balance/BALANCE_MARCH_2020
http://europe.nxtbook.com/emp/Balance/BALANCE_FEBRUARY_2020
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