BALANCE_OCTOBER_2019 - 27

COVER
THE EMELI
WITHIN

'Whitney'. And I thought, "What? Why has she
texted me 'Whitney'?" So I Googled it and she
had died, which was crushing to me. No one
had told me because they didn't want to upset
me, as it was literally five minutes before I went
on stage. So there I was, I'd just found out that
Whitney had died, and I just went out, singing
Heaven, on the night of my album release.
"Things like that really make me think that
something bigger is really going on.
"And the lyric: 'Oh Heaven, will you recognise
me?', it just felt like somebody was passing
through to the next wherever, questioning God.

WHEN I MAKE
MUSIC- IT'S
JUST LIKE
MEDITATION
'Will you recognise me now on this Earth?/I've
changed so much from this innocent spirit you put
down here/Am I still in your favour?' So singing
that song was very emotional.
"I felt like somwhow I was speaking for her
[Whitney] or speaking of her journey. Because
why am I singing Heaven now, when one of my
biggest inspirations has just passed away? And
why is my album being released on the same
night? You know? Stuff like that just makes me
think a bit deeper about this whole thing."
Like Whitney, faith is important to Emeli.
Unlike Whitney, you sense Emeli won't waver.
The drive and determination are too palpable.
Of faith, Emeli says: "It's always been there my
whole life, and especially when I make music -
it's just like meditation, really.
"That's a beautiful place to be when I can fully
let go of myself and let the music take over."
Yoga and meditation have also played a key part
in Emeli "reconnecting with her soul". Indeed, if
you've lost your mojo of late, the one-two of yoga
and meditation will always be beneficial.
Emeli explains: "My sister's really incredible
and she was the one who kept saying, 'You know,

you should really try yoga and meditation'. I used to think all of these things were from another world,
and not really part of my life. So I just tried being around people who were really into this.
"I also have a friend, Kim, and she said I should really try it. Everyone around me was just saying
'yoga, yoga, yoga'. Then I went to this festival in Bulgaria called Meadows In The Mountains, and it
was really beautiful. People were performing about climate change, and doing yoga. It was very openminded and that really changed my perspective a lot.
Emeli continues, unprompted, "There's a 30-day challenge and I got through the first 30 days.
I really felt amazing afterwards. I felt reconnected with my body, reconnected with my soul and my
spirituality, because that hadn't been a big part of my life for so long. It's always been a big part of music
for me. You know, praying and connecting. So it reconnected me with myself.
"From there it cleared my mind and made everything a lot more simple. From that point, that's when
the growth began and I really started to build my confidence up and just get healthy and exercise more.
"Physical changes were a big push into how I feel now."

Rest and peace

So, what's next? Possibly an odd question given there's a new album and tour. We suggest to Emeli
that she might like to have a go at composing or performing a James Bond theme song? Given the
occasional echoes of Shirley Bassey and Emeli's love of strings, we can visualise it.
"Yeah, I would love that," she enthuses. "And if I could just do me, then that would be awesome
because I just love an orchestra and the drama, and you're just given a licence to do that with that."
And, Emeli fans, you might want to keep your eyes posted on her social media accounts. That's
because she has become taken with the idea of dropping an album without any fanfare.
"I definitely want to bring music out faster. I don't want such big gaps inbetween releases. I'd love
to bring out a small project because I've never delivered something that is vocal and piano, and
I've never released anything that was me playing and singing at the same time. That's my truest and
I don't think anyone's ever really heard that... No planning - just release and be like, 'Hey, what do you
think of these songs?' Where they don't have the pop structure and what I would naturally just do at
home. And just sing. That's what I really want to do. I'd love to do something very raw."
Emeli adds: "I'm also writing a musical at the moment with a writer from New York. So we're
adapting a book and putting my music to it. The book is called An American Tragedy.
"I've always wanted to write a musical, so this is my first step. You can really bring things to life. And
I'm also getting really into melody. So I'm trying to challenge myself to sing, and not just write words,
but compose proper piano pieces.
What's on the immediate agenda
is her UK tour. You might think that
means champagne and partying, but
- as the theme of our issue celebrates
- what will win the day for Emeli will
ultimately be rest.
"I have a vocal coach who says people
really underestimate rest, and if you
have time, don't feel like you always
need to be out doing something.
"If you're in your hotel room, just
sleep. Don't feel guilty about sleeping.
Performing live is such a big energy
expenditure. Even though it's just
an hour-and-a half, that's the most
intense hour-and-a-half of the day
you're gonna have to give. Your energy
has really got to be on point.
"I'm definitely gonna rest more this
tour, do yoga every day and try not to
party as much."
Emeli's new album, Real Life
is out now and she is touring
nationwide from November. Go to
emelisande.com for more details

27


http://www.emelisande.com

BALANCE_OCTOBER_2019

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