As a songwriter who has written hits for the likes of Rihanna and Susan Boyle, Emeli Sandé understands how hard it can be for someone to take a song they didn’t write and make it all their own. Sandé herself experienced this dilemma from the singer’s side of things when she covered Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” for The Great Gatsby soundtrack.
Sandé recently told Radio.com that she did feel some pressure covering Bey’s hit track for the Jay-Z-produced album, but said her nerves were calmed when she realized she just had to approach it like she would any one of her own songs.
“I was never trying to do anything to imitate the original recording,” Sandé explained. “But it was just fun for me to take it on and add my own bit of personality.”
Thanks to former Roxy Music leader Bryan Ferry, her version is a horn-laden ode to the Roaring Twenties that would certainly get the flappers dancing.
Sandé explained that covering a song from Beyoncé or Carole King, which she did at the White House on May 22 when King received the Gershwin Prize, is fun because their songs have had such an impact on pop culture. Songs like or “Crazy In Love” or “You’ve Got A Friend” become bigger than the artist themselves. They take on a new life with each listener. And that’s exactly what Sandé said she aimed for with her 2012 debut, Our Version Of Events: She wrote about her own experiences, while still making sure the topics were relatable to any listener, no matter their background.
“Songwriters I admire, are people that can take an emotion that they’ve had and be able to communicate that to other people,” she said. “I feel that’s so important in art, to share it with as many people as possible.”
She added, “For me, it’s trying to find that balance and that line where people can really connect, but it is still an emotion that you felt very deeply.”