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Passengers inside JFK’s International Airport threw their arrival and departure times to the wind as Scottish Singer-Songwriter Emeli Sande serenaded winners of the Jet Blue T5 Concert Series.

They saw the stage. The instruments and even her name splashed across the banner, but they were too busy to stop or even care. Until she started singing.

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With just a mic, drums, two guitarists and a piano player, Sande opened her 45-minute set with “Heaven” from her debut album, “Our Version of Events–” a triumphant, percussion heavy up-tempo track professing her patience and fear that her mistakes will prohibit her from making it to heaven.

As she reached the climatic ending, I was reminded by Sande’s wishful thinking during an earlier interview right before her performance. Sande told me that if she could, she’d borrow Whitney Houston’s voice for a day,

Sande raised her hand to the sky, as if to reach out and grab her rightful place with God, as her platinum blond hair flung wildly. She moved from one end of the stage to the other, belting out notes and contorting her body while the music and words moved through her.

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“To do what Whitney [Houston] did in the 80s and be able to hit all those unbelievable notes…” Sande paused. “I’d love to have Whitney’s voice for a day if I could.”

The Best Layover Ever: Emeli Sande Enchants At Jet Blue’s T5 Concert  was originally published on

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