Emeli Sandé’s “Clown”: A Song About Selling Out to the Music Industry?


Emeli Sandé’s video “Clown” is simple, subtle and artistic but nevertheless conveys a very clear and disturbing message about the music industry and those that rule it. Is “Clown” about Emeli Sandé “selling her soul” to the elite? We’ll look at the meaning of the song and music video.


Emeli Sandé is an English-born Scottish singer whose album Our Version of Events became the best selling album of 2012 in the UK. With three number one singles and widespread critical acclaim, Sandé is set to win a slurry of awards in 2013 and possibly more recognition “across the pond”. Did her recent success come with a hefty price tag? Judging by the message conveyed in her single Clown, yes, yes it did.

It certainly doesn’t take much analytical effort to understand that Clown portrays the music industry as a monolithic, coercive and even dangerous entity, lead by powerful people who demand nothing less than total submission from their chosen artists. In exchange for success, a damning contract (akin to an oath) must be signed that not only leads to relinquishing creative control, but, on a higher level, relinquishing an artist’s very soul. Is this why Sandé became an important part of the London Olympics’ Ceremonies (a seemingly blatant elitist occult ritual), where she sang in a disturbing segment entitled “Abide With Me”, which told the story of a young child giving away his soul to a malevolent entity? Maybe. Let’s look at the video.

Clowns Get No Respect

Clown is pretty much the opposite of most of the videos I describe on this site. There is no migraine-inducing fashion, no super-futuristic dance moves and no symbols being flashed every 3 seconds. Yet, in the end, the same dark reality is conveyed and the same elitist group is being acknowledged and referred to.

The video is shot in black and white, in the style of silent films of the 1920s. All of the action takes place in a single setting, a kind of meeting room where it seems important issues are being discussed. On one of the walls we read the words “Anywhere in the world and solar system”. These words often appear on music industry contracts as a way of defining the true reach of it in case of legal issues. Also these words give this meeting room an ethereal dimension, one that transcends time and place.

The decisions being made seem to have a weight that supercedes any regular political or national entity. There are men in military uniforms resembling those worn during the reign of Hitler or Mussolini, though the racial diversity of this panel indicates that we are not looking at a traditional fascist government, but at something of a “higher level”, hence the words “Anywhere in the world and solar system”. Put another way, the video appears to refer to a dictatorship evolving on a supra-national level, such as maybe …  the Illuminati and the NWO?

Emeli taken in by two soldiers

Emeli taken in by two soldiers

The video begins with a strange scene: Emeli enters this room escorted by two soldiers as if she were a prisoner, yet she is greeted with warm applause from around the room. Right from the start, the video describes the contradiction of being a star in this day and age: influential and revered by the masses, while still completely in submission to higher powers. The applause Emeli receives is almost sarcastic, as if saying “We are applauding you like your fans do — but we still own you”.

Emeli is then presented with something that represents the dilemma of anyone who wants to make it big in the music industry.

Emeli is given a pen in order to sign a contract.

Emeli is given a pen in order to sign a contract.

Before any words are even exchanged between the men and Emeli, the singer is expected to sign a contract. As we see by her reaction, this is not an ordinary business contract, but a document that will heavily impact the rest of her life. Signing this document equals relinquishing some of her rights, freedoms, creative control and … her soul?

Emeli refuses and says “No”. Immediately, the men in the room show signs of impatience and become more forceful. One of the men steps up to her, tells her “Please, you must reconsider” and makes her sit down.

As a man steps up to Emeli, she gives a look saying "Why you touching me for?"

As a man steps up to Emeli, she gives a look saying “Why you touching me for?”

We then see other gestures indicating that Emeli’s physical integrity is being violated. While these actions are somewhat subtle in the video, they are a symbolic way of referring to the physical and psychological violence stars can be subjected if they do not fully comply to the elite’s will.

Emeli is given the paternal "look at me when I'm talking to you" move by a man in uniform.

Emeli is given the paternal “look at me when I’m talking to you” move by a man in uniform.

She is also being lectured and talked down, while a coercive finger is being wagged at her.

She is also gets lectured and talked down as a menacing finger is being wagged at her.

Emeli is treated with the typical speech that is given to artists to convince them to sign a contract. She is told to take advantage of this rare opportunity to be rich and famous. We quickly get a sense that, if she refuses to sign with these people (the elite), she will never “make it” because they are basically the only path to celebrity, that there is apparently no way of making it big in the music industry but signing with this monolithic entity that is controlled by a closed group of individuals.

The men tell Emeli:

“You have great talent, and the brightest of futures. All we require is your consent”.

To which she replies:

“You mean my surrender.”

This implies that the contract is indeed one that forces Emeli to submit to the powers that be and to become a virtual puppet, or a clown. One man then replies:

“We mean your co-operation”

This means that they want Emeli to willfully accomplish what is expected of her, even if she realizes that it goes against what she believes in … which is the meaning of “selling out”.

When Emeli says

“I want freedom, to be myself”,

a man promptly replies:

“What use is freedom … if you live in the gutter”

flaunting the prospect of material gain, and loss, in order to get her to sign the contract.

As she continues to hesitate, the men get angrier and start yelling at her. At one point, a man says “We need a decision” and a vote gets taken, although Emeli does not get a vote. By show of hands, the men decide what to do with Emeli. With a single gesture, one man sums up her fate if she doesn’t sign the contract.

By running his hand across his throat. this man says that not only Emeli's career is dead, but, since she already "know too much", she will probably die in "strange circumstances", not unlike man other uncompromising artists.

By running his hand across his throat, this man is saying that Emeli’s career is over. Also, since these men are in uniforms and that Emeli is a prisoner, she will probably be killed … Maybe in “strange circumstances”, not unlike many other uncompromising artists.

In short, if she does not accept the terms of the contract, these men will kill her. She is then reminded of the opportunity she is passing up:

“Success is impatient. You audience is waiting.”

When presented again with the pen and paper, Emeli grabs the pen and begins singing the chorus of the song, confirming that she accepts the terms of the contract.

“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
rounding circles
I’m selling out tonight”

The song’s lyrics describe the sadness of an artist who has been reduced to the status of a clown, a puppet that is told what to do in order to obtain material gain. As depicted in the video, the song’s lyrics also convey the fact that she was forced into this contract, which is, when all is said and done, nothing more than glorified exploitation.

“I’d be less angry if it was my decision
And the money was just rolling in
If I had more than my ambition
I’ll have time to please
I’ll have time to thank you as soon as I win”

At the end of the video, Sandé signs the contract (although we don’t actually see her do it) and is taken away by the soldiers. It would seem therefore, that this is yet another story of free will, freedom and integrity being forcefully taken away through coercion and power. It is another story depicting the victory of evil against good, of darkness against light. It is another “victory speech” of the Illuminati industry, blatantly showing off how it controls the industry, to the point that it makes its “clowns” sing about their own sad state of puppetry. While Emeli Sandé is arguably more talented and mature than most pop stars, Clown does not convey a message that is very different from what we have seen on this site. The only difference is that this song is aimed for the adult contemporary market, rather than the tween market.

In Conclusion

In this era where an increasingly monolithic music industry is revealing itself to a public that is still clueless, the messages reaching to airwaves are becoming increasingly filtered, similar and upsetting. The themes of rebellion, of the victory of the human spirit over a soul crushing system, of transcending boundaries through art are silenced and virtually banned from the music industry. Where are these groups that had a message? That stood for something? Who would prefer death to selling out? They do still exist – but they are not in the elite-controlled mass media anymore. Today, stars are either “chosen” from a young age and built from the ground up by the industry, or are talented individuals like Emeli Sandé who are “recruited” and forced to become a “clown”.

Clown is about submission, about giving up, about the victory of oppression over the human spirit, about giving in to pressure, about accepting temporary material gain for success, about signing over one’s soul over to a powerful, oppressive group. For some reason, these messages must be communicated to the public, as if to subliminally demoralize the masses, to make sure that no real role models or icons – those who uphold certain values above anything else – are there to inspire and give hope to the world.

While the song is full of regret and melancholy, it is still a “victory speech” from the Illuminati to the masses. In a very simple and theatrical matter, Clown describes how the industry functions, how it treats its stars and how it forces them to sell their soul. Some might interpret Clown as Sandé “speaking out” against the industry. But the “moral of the story” being told is that she gave in. And now she’s on TV. And she sang during the Olympics in front of a billion people in a ceremony that was tainted with the symbolism of the elite, the same group depicted as forcing her to sign that contract in her video. Before her Olympic performance, perhaps Sandé sang to herself I’m selling out tonight.



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186 Comments on "Emeli Sandé’s “Clown”: A Song About Selling Out to the Music Industry?"


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11 months 10 days ago

I hope Sara Bareilles isn't a slave.
I don't care if she's underrated or whatever. But, I think she's talented yet no one pays attention (which she truly deserves) to her talents. Well, I'm glad with that now:)

1 year 11 months ago

of course she is not going to say I sold out to the illuminati for money and power they need a good speech like presidents YOU NEVER SAW A PRESIDENT SAY WE ARE GOING RISE TAXES AND MAKE PEOPLE MORE POOR of course not they need a good speech like
i want to inspire people to do the same thing like me and i want to be a role model. BLA BLA they are all part of the same group the FREEMASONS

Cara P
2 years 3 months ago
Actually I don't think she needed to sell out she's a very smart woman! Shes about two years from having a medical degree in the UK, she was smart enough to know that she needed something to fall back on just in case she "never made it". I think this article is a bit to harsh on her and so are the comments seemingly because of the view the article gives. I'm in the US and while I love her music and even though people sing her songs the two that are on the radio they don't know her name!… Read more »
Anti- anti
2 years 4 months ago

and has no-one heard of punk, it's called self-publishing these days…..some of the posters here are fakes, bullies and just as wrong as those in control of the corps who seek only the banal safe 'commercial route' and beliebers, follow your own stars and others who twinkle will apprbelievers

The anti-anti
2 years 4 months ago

The time of the pragmatic humanists is coming

2 years 6 months ago

very sad .. but appreciate your talent and now that it's puppet but I will continue listening to your music with lyrics and videos care is what I do .. also many indie artists are puppets and are not well known … a question now that many have long know what music they listen?, or now as is your relationship with music?

2 years 7 months ago

i thought she was different

2 years 10 months ago

Just saying… God doesn't exist…

Roger J.
2 years 10 months ago

Why not sue the pants off these industry hacks for religious discrimination. If Christianity can't be a precondition for emplyoyment, why are occult practices?

2 years 11 months ago

saka urikuti chii nhai emi,,,,so question is DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT SIGN????????

2 years 11 months ago

To be honest, my very, very first thoughts on the meaning of the song when I first listened to it (and whenever I listen to it now) was bullying.
I think it can be interpreted with multiple meanings (like all songs) but I've always, at first thought, related it to being bullied or used or laughed at in some way.

2 years 11 months ago

The elite dnt make it easy for u to refuse, they'l tempt u with anything an everythin, promise u the world, and u'd get it but at a massive cost. Some celebs have had ther family threatened if they try to pull away or in some cases they carry out those threats if they speak against them, there is NO level they wont stoop to, ther is NO easy way out.:-#

3 years 20 hours ago
hmmm this article is enlightening. i only heard of emili sande a few weeks ago after hearing her song "next to me" on the radio. i was shocked to hear such a beautiful song about a relationship with God played on mainstream pop radio. I looked up the singer and saw her wiki page and it seemed she was a good, respectable singer for once. but after seeing this article im starting to wonder. i didnt see her on the olympics. she is a talented singer who makes beautiful songs but if she is another puppet its truly disturbing. now… Read more »
3 years 12 days ago

why emily why ??

Mary Young
3 years 1 month ago

Good analysis as always. However, ultimately the artist can choose not to sell his/her soul to the devil. Even if the music industry is totally controlled and you can’t become “rich and famous” if you don’t sign on the bottom line, still you could keep your integrity and still find your audience on a smaller scale. So there is choice…you don’t have to join the machine.

3 years 1 month ago

What a sad state of affairs the Music Industry has become. I have the talent to become a great musical artist, but I'm a Christian and I've decided not to sell my soul to the devil. NO WAY.

3 years 1 month ago

Try 'Get Up' [Affirmation] by Beverley Knight, or some of her other songs.

3 years 1 month ago

well while i agree the video is disturbing this illumaniti crap might be a stretch.

if true how does this hurt me as a music listener.
why she needed this when truly her talent is exceptional
would the powerhouse let her do this video if all this crap was true.

but honestly i would like her to say something

3 years 2 months ago


click above link to see photo shows Emelie Sande in animal print. (reference to kitten pgrming)

3 years 2 months ago

Everyone is quick to judge Emeli however they do nothing about the government and allow all kinds of dangerous chemicals to be put into their food. Wake up! No one is immune to this! Research aspartame…made up of many dangerous chemicals like arsenic and has been responsible for the rise in dementia and cancer cases. Stand up for yourselves for the sake of your children.

3 years 3 months ago

wait, but isn't the record labels that pick and choose singles? and fund music videos? Why would they all this sort of exposure to what they are doing behind the scenes? Seems similar to what Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis are fighting about.

alex bomar
3 years 3 months ago

I'm sorry but I don't get all this hype about her. I mean I heard her songs before and her voice is good but is not so great like everyone says. Like everyone is so into adele aswell I mean they both are good singers but I still don't get the hype. Its said that she sold her self now but hey she didn't leave college to become a singer for nothing so she problly was like hey I came this far might as well sing the contract and not waist it all

3 years 3 months ago
I'm so fed up with the music industry of today with all of it's symbolism and attempts to brainwash it's listeners. It was so refreshing to find the music band Muse from England, when I went through their lyrics and their music videos, and no matter how hard I tried, I could for once finally not find any subliminal messages or any Illuminati worshiping going on. Instead, in fact, their songs are warnings regarding the elites agenda, with songs like uprising and exo-politics. Found this great video about them with three of their strongest political songs, with lyrics, and I… Read more »
Moin again
3 years 3 months ago

* I am NOW, not "not a big fan", wow, sorry about that!

3 years 3 months ago

C'mon, these guys must be kidding me! One more symbolic spectacle shown by VEVO (this one, "Dark again", of Gold Fields): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-YzfAUsj1o

3 years 3 months ago

Please, someone explain me WHAT THE HECK IS THIS song video! ("How Long?" – How to Destroy Angels)
COMPLETELY DISTURBING! http://www.vevo.com/watch/how-to-destroy-angels/h

3 years 3 months ago

VC, it would be great if you make an analysis on this song!

3 years 3 months ago
I'm pretty used to the symbolism and everything now. Of course it's not something I'm happy about, but I'm glad I'm not a sheeple. Whenever there is a new music video analysis, I always watch the video beforehand to see how much I can pick up on myself. On this video, I pretty much got everything. Either it's becoming more and more blatent, (which I'm convinced it is) and/or I'm not as immune anymore. I'm only 13, but my mom has researched this stuff ever since I was little, so it's sort of been imprinted on me at a young… Read more »