You wouldn't know from the packed room, the hands held high in the air, the instantaneous squeals of approval, that Friday night was Emeli Sandé's first time to Seattle.
For those of you who've yet to hear about this the Afro-English-born Scottish recording artist, get acquainted. In addition to performing at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics in 2012, the singer's debut album, Our Version of Events, peaked at number one in the UK and went on to become the best-selling album of the year, with more than 1 million sales across the pond.
Now, she's set her eyes on the states.
From the jump, every thing about this woman seems to work: the bleached faux hawk, the energy on stage, her undeniably soulful vibes. And as nearly every person in the room sang along, rolling slowly as the songstress delivered smooth, velvety track after track, the masses seemed to agree.
Auto-tune and synth-heavy production aren't things characteristic of Sandé's sound. Rather, you'll find more organic textures - layers of strings and piano weaving carefully amongst the singer's vocals.
Sure, there were lights and smoke swirling around her throughout, hinting at the inevitable dance floor remix potential of her songs. But the most mesmerizing part of the show was her voice. Pplain and simple, the girl has got chops.
Standout moments came in her delivery of "Suitcase" and "My Kind of Love," - a pair of power ballads performed with such sincerity and passion that her impending rank among greats like Adele and Beyoncé was all but confirmed. And when Sandé stripped away all other elements of the production, finding a spot behind the piano and pouring her heart in to an impassioned version of her song, "River," nirvana seemed within grasp.
The raw emotion in her songs - the boiling over of feelings - found safe haven in tracks like "Where I Sleep" and "Wonder." And expectations for bold and empowering moments were only exceeded when she belted singles "Heaven" and "Next To Me."
Blending elements of jazz, blues and 90s R&B, Sandé's sound is rich and warm - yet gritty enough to feel comfortable alongside urban verses, as made evident in her overwhelming success as a featured artists on tracks by Grime artists in the UK.
As noted by the singer early on in the set, this tour is the beginning of a very exciting journey for her in 2013. After witnessing the way she commanded the stage - the jaws dropped to the floor - it'd be hard not to believe her. Because holy shit, she really could be the next big thing.