By Rollo Ross
LONDON (Reuters) - Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sande scored a new chart record on Sunday with her debut album after a stellar year in Britain that has paved the way for her next challenge - the U.S. market.
Sande smashed a record held for nearly 50 years by The Beatles when her debut album, "Our Version of Events", hit its 63rd week in the top 10 of the UK album charts, according to the Official Charts Company.
The Beatles previously held the record for the debut album spending the most consecutive weeks in the top 10 with "Please Please Me" racking up 62 weeks in 1963 and 1964.
"It feels quite surreal to even have your name mentioned in the same sentence as The Beatles," Sande, 26, told Reuters television.
"For a record to stay there for so long it means that people have connected with it so that's how I'm enjoying celebrating this record."
The release of "Our Version Of Events" in February 2012 kicked off a year of successes for Sande who sang at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and won best British female artist and best album at the BRIT Awards.
Sande also notched up three No. 1 singles in the UK with "Read All About It" with Professor Green, "Next to Me", and "Beneath Your Beautiful", a collaboration with Labrinth.
Now the former medical student has set herself a new challenge, tackling the U.S. market, where she has yet to make a name for herself.
Her single "Next To Me" is currently 46th in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and she is in the United States this month to promote her album.
"I'm really excited about taking music over to the States because it's a brand new challenge," she said.
"There's different formats over there so you have to understand the market, the people, you really have to take into account how massive the place is .. It's a brand new adventure and it's chapter two of this whole big thing."
Sande is the first to admit that the past year has been extraordinary but she is aware that she needs to keep building from her debut album that was Britain's best-seller last year.
"So many things I've dreamed of doing have happened last year which is amazing, but you always want to be better as a musician," she said.
"The biggest thing for me right now is creating a second record that I love."
So does the success mean that she has abandoned her plan to go back and finish her medicine degree that she shelved in its fourth year?
"Would I go back? I'd like to and every time I see programs on medicine I'm tempted to go back to it because I do miss it a lot and I miss science and learning but in the near future, no. I think I'd miss music too much," she said.
(Reporting by Rollo Ross, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)