‘How Were We To Know’ explores intimate encounters with love in all its forms, along with the risks required to pursue it. Its rich, relatable spectrum of emotions spans heartbreak, grief and joy, with ruminations upon mourning a relationship that broke down through to the blissful, heady rush of a love that’s just beginning to bloom. Love can make you giddy. It breaks your heart. It makes you a little crazy. It sends you into dizzying highs and crashing lows. All of those feelings and more emerge powerfully throughout ‘How Were We To Know’.
Emeli says, “Once you’ve been hurt, it’s very hard to pick up the pieces again and allow yourself to be vulnerable. So I think these songs explore the bravery of love, and loving others but also yourself. These songs were pieces of a puzzle I had to put together, and now feels like the right time to share them. These are tales from a hopeless romantic. I’m very romantic, and it gets me in trouble sometimes!”
Navigating love’s curious contradictions is a particularly dominant theme in the album’s lead single ‘There For You’. Emeli’stimeless voice balances strident determination and soft vulnerability in a stirring soul-pop song full of subtle Eighties textures: from the thrum of the bass to the thump of the beats, as well as the classic sound of the Yamaha DX7 and a euphoric saxophone solo. Co-written with music manager and writer Daniel Caruana and produced by Daniel McKenzie, Emeli says the track “came together so naturally”.
She adds, “‘There For You’ is about how I’ll always have love for the people I’ve been with. Even if I’m pissed off with them for a couple of years, I’ll always care for them, I’ll always want to know they’re OK. Because once you’ve committed to that love with someone, it doesn’t just go away.”
‘How Were We To Know’ is beautifully consistent, but that doesn’t mean that Emeli stays in the same lane. Far from it. The dramatic theatrical spectacle of the title track is one of her finest vocal performances, her resolution growing from a fragile falsetto to the soaring, unfiltered emotion of its climax. ‘My Boy Likes To Party’ couldn’t be more different, with Emeli’s husky croon atop an alt-pop banger with trap-tinged beats, while the gospel flavoured ‘Nothing We Can’t Handle’ is an uplifting hymn of support and ‘True Colours’ applies similar qualities in a defiant expression of self-love.
The album’s intimacy was further unlocked as Emeli called on trusted collaborators, including Mac & Phil and Jonny Coffer(key contributors to her second album ‘Long Live The Angels’) and Ollie Green (who worked on last year’s critically adored ‘Let’s Say For Instance’ including the hit ‘Brighter Days’).
Emeli Sandé is confirmed to headline the Royal Festival Hall on November 11th as part of this year’s EFG Jazz Festival London. Her previous touring highlights have included headlining London’s O2 arena, recording an early Royal Albert Hall show for a subsequent live album, touring as guest to Coldplay and – of course – her unforgettable performances at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Her many awards include four BRITs, three MOBOs and two Ivor Novellos.
‘How Were We To Know’ tracklist::
‘All This Love’
‘My Boy Likes To Party’
‘How Were We To Know’
‘Nothing We Can’t Handle’
‘Like I Loved You’
‘There For You’
‘End of Time’
‘Cos of You’ (CD bonus track)