As Virgin developed material for her launch as a solo artist, Sandé has been in demand to write for a variety of other artists, including Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Cole, Tinchy Stryder and Professor Green.
She has also attracted the interest of the Syco stable – recently she has been writing for Leona Lewis, Cher Lloyd and Susan Boyle – and last week Christina Aguilera cut one of her tracks for her next album.
While Sandé’s idols include Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack and Lauryn Hill, much of her material has a distinct Nineties influence, comparable with Massive Attack and Portishead.
“I find it hard to describe my music,” Sandé said. “Lyrics are the most important thing to me. The last two years I have been working on my album but learning my craft, writing for other rappers and singers. It’s an amazing opportunity to write for other people.”
Her material is lavished with string instruments, brass sections and trip hop beats, underlying Sandé’s soaring vocals.
Much of the production is being handled by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele) who has been setting up musicians around Sandé to record live. Also involved are Mike Spencer (Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue) and Naughty Boy.
The first single is the feel-good summer track Heaven (released August 15).