ESSENCE, the preeminent media brand for African-American women, today announces its fifth annual grammy Awards Week celebration with the return of Essence Black Women in Music. In 2014, the organizers of The Essence Festival in New Orleans and Black Women in Hollywood will showcase the incredible artistry and achievement of Emeli Sande, who has been praised by the New York Times for her “perspective-altering voice” and admired by Sir Elton John for her show-stopping presence, who said: “When she is on stage, you can feel her passion for music and the heart that goes into her lyrics.”
The invitation-only reception, held on January 22, 2014, will include an exclusive performance from Sande featuring special guests, as well as music by DJ Kiss.
“We’re honored to recognize Emeli Sande during grammy Week. Her soaring confidence as a songwriter and fearless self-expression as a singer is in the tradition of many iconic female trailblazers such as Nina Simone,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. Bush. Michelle Ebanks, President of Essence agreed, stating: “Emeli Sande is a creative tour-de-force who connects with audiences around the world, and is fearlessly charting her own course.”
Launched in 2010 as a part of Essence magazine’s year-long 40th anniversary commemoration, Essence Black Women in Music continues to herald the accomplishments of both emerging and established artists and influencers during GRAMMY® week. Previous celebrants include: GRAMMY®-winner Mary J. Blige, GRAMMY® winner Kelly Rowland, GRAMMY®-nominee Janelle Monae, music industry veteran Sylvia Rhone, and singer/ songwriters Solange and Lianne La Havas.
The Essence Black Women in Music event is being held in conjunction with the publication of the brand’s special GRAMMY® Insider package (February issue, on newsstands January 10th), which profiles Sande and features the “Evolution of R&B”—saluting the past, present and future of the genre. The package also includes a GRAMMY® Awards flashback, as well as a list of “New and Next” artists to watch and much more.
“What a privilege to have received the news that I will be a part of celebrating powerful, strong, creative women in the music industry today,” commented Sande: “I am honored to have been selected by Essence magazine and look forward to an evening of empowerment.”
Emeli Sande got her first big break as a singer-songwriter after her kid sister filmed her performing one of her own songs; Sande sent the clip to a BBC talent contest and was named one of the contest winners. Sande soon started fielding a flood of record-deal offers. But instead of signing to a label, Sande put her music career on hold and embarked on a six-year degree in clinical neuroscience. Cut to present day and Sande’s lavishly acclaimed full-length debut, Our Version of Events, has emerged as the best-selling album of 2012 in the UK (where it remains the top-seller of 2013 to date). Our Version Of Events has now logged more consecutive weeks in the UK album chart’s Top 10 than any other debut album in chart history, surpassing even The Beatles. Featuring the RIAA-certified platinum single “Next To Me,” Our Version of Events spurred Sande to take home the prestigious Critics’ Choice Award at the BRIT Awards 2013, as well as a Silver Clef Award and the International UK Award at the 2013 BET Awards.