Emeli Sande thinks artists are more interested in having a “cool producer” than great lyrics nowadays.

The singer/songwriter – who has penned hits for Tinie Tempah, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis and Cher Lloyd – believes the “poetry has been lost” in songs because musicians would rather write a tune that appeals to kids than because the lyrics mean something.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “A lot of the songs these days are for the moment. They make us feel good and we can dance to them, but the poetry has been lost. Great songwriters come along quite rarely, but when I listen to Tracy Chapman or Joni Mitchell, these are people who pay attention to the lyric.

“I feel that has been put second to having a cool producer, or whether the kids are going to like it.

“People think they can be songwriters because they are singers, but it’s an art. You need to work hard on your voice, but equally you have to understand reading a lyric. I am working on it.”

The ‘Heaven’ hitmaker – who won the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award 2012 earlier this month – recently travelled to New York to work with Alicia Keys for her latest collaboration, and she counts the ‘Empire State of Mind’ singer as a “massive inspiration” on her career.

She added: “Working with her was incredible. It was the best trip of my life. She has championed me in magazines, which is amazing because I love her.

“She got in touch to say she wanted me to come and write with her. So I flew out and we got on super-well. I felt like I had made a great friend by the end of the week.

“We wrote a lot just on piano – she has this amazing Steinway – and it was like a dream come true. People like Alicia are a massive inspiration. She is at the top of her game. When I went over there, I was like, ‘Don’t dry up. Come up with a good idea’.”