Emeli Sandé, “Clown”
written by Charmagne Glass-Tripp
SUCCESS IS IMPATIENT.
These are the words that come across the screen in Emeli Sandé’s video for her song “Clown”. The first time I heard this song I was working at my desktop with headphones on listening to Spotify. I had heard Sandé’s single, “Next to Me” and decided to check her album out; I was rewarded.
From the very first notes I was captivated. I stopped typing, leaned in close and didn’t move. The tone of her voice paired with the music had me ALL IN. It was one of the saddest and most beautiful songs I had ever heard, the kind of song I wish I had written. The string swells felt like waves crashing against my chest. The piano had me on the edge of my seat. The drama! Her voice so clear. I loved her stylings. My heart was aching and full at the same time. I was holding back tears. The music video took it to another level for me. It was so intense. There was a moment at the end where she sang into the camera with surrendering eyes. Damn.
I was feeling the lyrics. Having had a brush with commercial success as singer and songwriter, I could relate. I think most artists can. The struggle between being authentic and being well fed is so real; considering auto-tune effects because they’re hot right now (even though you don’t need them) or featuring a rapper (when you really want a sax solo); what you wear, how you rock it. Is it on trend? Do you whip? Do you nay nay? (Showing my age.) Is it on brand? What’s your brand again?
So much of an artist’s success can depend on packaging. Sometimes doing and saying the marketable thing even when you don’t believe any of it can provide a nice life for you and your family. It’s a tough choice to make. Lots to consider. No judgement here.
I’ve shared this song with almost anyone who would listen. I feel it so deep. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but this song was so therapeutic for me. I had been going through a tough but intentional transition as an artist and this song busted my chest wide open, made me feel vulnerable and validated. It was like a magnet drawing my truth to the surface and making me deal. I am who I am. It probably doesn’t package well and won’t get a major endorsement or a clothing line. I’ll probably always have a day job, but I am free.
I’ll be your clown
Behind the glass
Go ‘head and laugh
‘Cause it’s funny
I would too if I saw me
I’ll be your clown
On your favorite channel
My life’s a circus, circus
Round in circle
I’m selling out tonight
Charmagne Glass-Tripp is a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, co-creator and director at Gripp Productions, social justice and animal rights activist, critical thinker, homie, lover, and friend. Follow her musical exploits at www.grippproductions.com and on Facebook @SingerCharmagneTripp.