SUNDERLAND-BORN Emeli Sande is queen of the Brit Awards after collecting two of the biggest prizes.
The 25-year-old singer “this is a dream” after she was named best British female and carried off the key prize of the night when her debut release Our Version Of Events was named best album.
Sande – who called herself “a very unlikely pop star” – was also last year picked up the Critics’ Choice prize as one of the year’s top hopefuls.
Since then she has had the biggest-selling album of the year, got married and appeared at both the opening and closing ceremony of the Olympics.
Collecting her best album award – beating Plan B, Mumford & Sons, Paloma Faith and Alt-J – she said: “Wow, I think I’m a very unlikely pop star. You know this is an album I wrote because I didn’t have the confidence to say these things in person.
“For me, so many people have connected with this album and found strength with these words, it makes me feel incredible and it doesn’t make me feel as lonely.
“So thank you everybody who bought this record. You make me feel as though I’m part of something much bigger. This is a dream really.”
Sande, 25, was born in Sunderland to English and Zambian parents, but was raised near Aberdeen.
She attended Glasgow University’s medical school for four years before signing a music publishing deal in 2010.
Her songwriting prowess saw her working on tracks by Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis and Tinie Tempah before finding success in her own right.
Sande has credited her father Joel - who ran the school choir - for igniting her passion for music.
She has told how he was “naturally musical” and “the sort of person that could pick up an instrument and play it”.
Explaining her decision to drop out of her medicine degree, she said in an interview: “Knowing he was behind me was really important to me. I hope I never let him down.”
As the Critics’ Choice winner at the Brits, she followed in the footsteps of such acts as Adele, Florence + The Machine and Jessie J, who have similarly gone on to huge sales.
Our Version Of Events clocked up 1.39 million sales in the UK last year.