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New British sensatiion Emeli Sande brings focus across the pond

For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

She was born Adele Emeli Sande in England. And clearly that first name presented a problem when she started making music.

"It was a shock, because Adele is not a big, popular name, really," Says Sande, 25, referring to her uber-successful fellow British singer. "When she came out and was building momentum and getting bigger and bigger, I thought that if I want to introduce myself as an artist, I was going to need a different name.

"So I chose my middle name. I was just glad I had another option."

The former pre-med student -- she holds a degree in neuroscience -- certainly isn't suffering for the change. Her debut album, "Our Version of Events," topped the charts and went five-times platinum in the U.K., while her singles "Heaven" and "Next To Me" each peaked at No. 2. Sande's crowded trophy case includes the 2012 Brit Award for Critic's Choice, and she's up for four more this year.

She's also written for and guested on songs by other artists such as Chipmunk, Naughty Boy and Labrinth, and last year she opened for Coldplay in North America and Europe. Top of her agenda now, not surprisingly, is making a bigger footprint in the U.S., where the brassy "Next To Me" is currently being pushed.

"I think my biggest challenge for this year is bringing the success over here and to the rest of Europe," notes Sande, who plans to be working on her second album by the summer. "I'm approaching it the same way we did in the U.K. It's so important to build a fan base from the grass roots up, start with very small shows and a real emphasis on live music.

"You can't really force it, I don't think. I'm just trying to introduce the music slowly and steadily and kind of get as many people on board as possible."

Emeli Sande and Emily King perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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