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GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Tell me how your con­nec­tion with your gay fans has evolved since re­leas­ing your de­but al­bum.

Dur­ing ev­ery show, I can feel my gay fans out there, and there’s a real kind of depth and un­der­stand­ing. I re­mem­ber I was do­ing a show at KOKO in Lon­don, and it was around the time ev­ery­thing was go­ing so fast, and I got a cou­ple of notes from fans. A gay cou­ple wrote, “Are you okay? If you want to come hang out with us, you can come on hol­i­day with us.” I just thought it was so nice that they rec­og­nized – I must’ve been ex­hausted at that point, and I think they could see that. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated that let­ter from them. And I just ap­pre­ci­ated all the dif­fer­ent sto­ries. I just love that I can also em­power them through the mu­sic.

What kinds of sto­ries do gay fans share with you?

When I was in Wash­ing­ton, there was a guy – a big fan – and he was just say­ing how much he loved “Read All About It,” and “Our Ver­sion of Events” helped him through com­ing out. He was there with his mom, and it just felt so amaz­ing. And, re­cently, I’ve had a few gay fans talk­ing about how (that al­bum) em­pow­ered them to ex­press their love to one another, how ev­ery­thing I had writ­ten gave them those words as they were get­ting mar­ried. I love sto­ries of love. It re­ally keeps me go­ing and en­cour­ages me to write songs about that.

How would you com­pare “Our Ver­sion of Events” to this new al­bum?

This al­bum is a lot more per­sonal and specif­i­cally about things that I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced. I

Which song in par­tic­u­lar do you think might res­onate with your LGBT fans?

I love “Babe.” “Babe” is the last song on the al­bum, and I feel lib­er­ated when I sing that song. It’s all about let­ting love be love and let­ting go of any kind of fear. So, for the gay com­mu­nity and the rest of the com­mu­nity, I just feel like al­low­ing your­self to love and feel and take care of some­one and be good to some­one else – I hope that one res­onates.

On the heels of World AIDS Day, tell me why it’s im­por­tant to you to be a part of El­ton John’s AIDS Foun­da­tion.

It’s just so im­por­tant to me, es­pe­cially when you’re look­ing at Africa. My fa­ther is from Zam­bia, and you just see it’s af­fected the coun­try and a lot of com­mu­ni­ties. If there’s more re­search and aware­ness about it, so much suf­fer­ing wouldn’t have to hap­pen. So, I’m re­ally proud to be a part of El­ton John’s foun­da­tion

Just a cou­ple of glasses of wine! (Laughs) I re­mem­ber step­ping into the White House with all the se­cu­rity you have to go through to get there and walk­ing through the cor­ri­dors, and we got a lit­tle tour be­fore. And meet­ing them – they’re so tall. That was the big thing. I’m like, “Wow, you guys are su­per­hu­man.”

They were talk­ing about the mu­sic, and he was such a rock star. He was just so chilled out, and he made us feel re­laxed and charged up. He had a chat with all the per­form­ers: “Okay, let’s put on a show!” He made us feel like we were a part of some foot­ball team. He’s a true leader.

In 2013, you per­formed in front of Pres­i­dent Obama and the First Lady. How many Xanax did you need to take be­fore­hand?

Does Obama have a fa­vorite Emeli Sandé song?

He just said, “I think my daugh­ters know your mu­sic!” And I was like, “Wow. My mu­sic might be get­ting played in the White House!” (Laughs)

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