Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988), known professionally as Adele, is an English singer-songwriter. She was the first recipient of the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" and was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2008 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2008. Since her debut album, 19, Adele has received much recognition both commercially and critically. The album debuted at number one and has been certified four times platinum in the UK. Her career in the US was boosted by a viewer record–breaking Saturday Night Live episode in late 2008. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele won the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Adele released her second album, 21, on 24 January 2011 in the UK and 22 February in the US. The album was well received critically and made her a record breaking success, selling 208,000 copies in its first week in the UK and debuting at number one on the UK Albums Chart, a position it managed to hold for 16 weeks. In the United Kingdom, 21 has been certified 12 times platinum for shipment of 3.6 million units. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the US, selling 352,000 copies in its first week. The album has charted at number one in 17 countries, including several charts across Europe, Australia and the United States.
After being performed at the 2011 BRIT Awards, the album track "Someone Like You" reached number one in the United Kingdom, while the album also remained at number one. "Someone Like You" held the number one position for four consecutive weeks. The song has also spent 2 weeks at number one in New Zealand 5 weeks at number one in Australia and following her performance at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards it became Adele's second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
The Official Charts Company announced that Adele is the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits in both the UK Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since the Beatles in 1964. 21 has spent 11 consecutive weeks at number one in the UK, the longest ever by a female solo artist on the UK albums chart, surpassing Madonna's nine weeks at number one in 1990 with her greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection. She made an appearance in the 2012 Guinness Book Of World Records. In the US the album has spent a total of thirteen weeks at number one on the Billboard 200, the longest an album has held the top position since 1998. The album has also broken the record for the most UK digital downloads. As of May 2011 the singer was worth £6 million, tying her with Lily Allen and Duffy for 9th place on the list of the richest British and Irish music stars under age 30.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born in Tottenham, London, England, to a single teenage mother on 5 May 1988. She began singing at age four and asserts that she became obsessed with voices. Adele has cited the Spice Girls as a major influence in regard to her love and passion for music, stating that "they made me what I am today." Adele would also impersonate the Spice Girls at dinner parties as a young girl. To make her look like singer Gabrielle, her mother made an eye patch with sequins, which Adele said was embarrassing. At the age of 9, Adele and her mother, a furniture-maker and adult learning activities organiser, relocated to Brighton.
At the age of 11, Adele and her mother moved to Brixton, and then to neighbouring district West Norwood, in South London. West Norwood is the subject for Adele's first record, "Hometown Glory", written when she was 16. After moving to South London, she became interested in R&B artists such as Aaliyah, Destiny's Child and Mary J. Blige.
Adele claims that one of the most defining moments in her life was when she watched Pink perform at Brixton Academy. "It was the Missundaztood record, so I was about 13 or 14. I had never heard, being in the room, someone sing like that live […] I remember sort of feeling like I was in a wind tunnel, her voice just hitting me. It was incredible."
2006–08: Career beginnings
Adele graduated from the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croydon in May 2006, where she was a classmate of Leona Lewis and Jessie J. Adele credits the school with nurturing her talent. In school, she was more interested in going into A&R and hoped to launch other people's careers. Four months later, she published two songs on the fourth issue of the online arts publication PlatformsMagazine.com. She had recorded a three-song demo for a class project and gave it to a friend who posted it on Myspace where it became very successful and led to a phone call from music label XL Recordings. She doubted if the offer was real because the only record company she knew was Virgin Records, and she took a friend with her to the meeting.
Nick Huggett at XL recommended Adele to manager Jonathan Dickins at September Management and in June 2006 Dickins became her official representative. September was managing Jamie T at the time and this proved a major attraction for Adele who was a big fan of the British singer-songwriter. Huggett then signed Adele to XL in September 2006. Adele provided vocals for Jack Peñate's song, "My Yvonne", from his debut album. Adele's breakthrough song, "Hometown Glory", was released in October 2007. Adele supported Will Young at the 2007 MENCAP Little Noise Sessions, a charity concert at London's Union Chapel. In 2008 she was the headliner and performed a stripped down acoustic and was supported by Damien Rice. She became the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice and was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2008 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2008.
2008–10: 19 and commercial success
19, named for her age at the time she started recording it, entered the British charts at number one. The Times Encyclopedia of Modern Music would name 19 an "essential" Blue Eyed Soul recording. She released her second single "Chasing Pavements" on 14 January 2008, two weeks ahead of her debut album, 19. The song reached number two on the UK Chart, and stayed there for four weeks. Adele was nominated for a 2008 Mercury Prize award for 19. She also won an Urban Music Award for "Best Jazz Act". She also received a Q Awards nomination in the category of Breakthrough Act and a Music of Black Origin nomination in the category of Best UK Female. In March 2008, Adele signed a deal with Columbia Records and XL Recordings for her foray into the US. She embarked on a short North American tour in the same month. The An Evening with Adele world tour began in May 2008 and ended in June 2009. She later cancelled the 2008 US tour dates to be with a former boyfriend. She said in Nylon magazine in June 2009, "I was drinking far too much and that was kind of the basis of my relationship with this boy. I couldn't bear to be without him, so I was like, 'Well, OK, I'll just cancel my stuff then… I can't believe I did that… It seems so ungrateful". In November 2008 Adele moved to Notting Hill after leaving her mother's house, a move that prompted her to give up drinking. 19 was released in the US in June, but by October 2008, it was apparent that Adele's attempt to break into America had failed. She would be the musical guest on the 18 October episode of Saturday Night Live. The episode was hotly anticipated because of an expected appearance by then US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The programme earned its best ratings in 14 years with 17 million viewers. Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder", and the following day, 19 topped the iTunes charts and ranked at number five at Amazon.com while "Chasing Pavements" rose into the top 25. The album reached number 11 on the Billboard 200 as a result, a jump of 35 places over the previous week. The album was certified as gold in February 2009 by the Recording Industry Association of America. By July 2009, the album had sold 2.2 million copies worldwide.
In July 2008, Adele paid £8,000 for a commissioned painting by Stella Vine in a charity auction in aid of Keep a Child Alive, a charity which helps African children and their families living with HIV/AIDS. Adele said she planned to ask Vine to paint a portrait of "my mum and me". At the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009, Adele won awards in the categories of Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She was also nominated in the categories of Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Adele was also nominated for three Brit Awards in the categories of Best British Female, Best British Single and Best British Breakthrough Act. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a thank-you letter to Adele that stated "with the troubles that the country's in financially, you're a light at the end of the tunnel." On 17 September 2009, Adele performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for the VH1 "Divas" event, a concert to raise money for the Save The Music Foundation charity. On 6 December, Adele opened with a 40-minute set at John Mayer's 2nd Annual Holiday Charity Revue held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
In 2010, Adele received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Hometown Glory". In April her song "My Same" entered the German Singles Chart after it had been performed by Lena Meyer-Landrut in the talent show contest Unser Star für Oslo (Our Star for Oslo), in which the German entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 was determined. In late September, after being featured on The X Factor, Adele's version of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" re-entered the UK singles chart at number 4. During the 2010 CMT Artists of the Year special, Adele performed a widely publicized duet of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" with Darius Rucker. This performance would later be nominated for a CMT Music Award.
2010 - present: 21 and breaking records
Adele released her second studio album, 21, on 24 January 2011 in the UK and 22 February in the US. The album's sound is described as classic and contemporary roots and country music. The change in sound from her first album was the result of her bus driver playing contemporary Nashville music when she was touring the American South. Adele told Spin Magazine "It was really exciting for me because I never grew up around [that music]." The title choice reflects the growth she has experienced in the last two years. 21 hit number 1 in 18 countries, including the United States. In the United Kingdom, it sold 208,000 copies in its first week making it the biggest-selling January release in five years. In mid-February 2011, after a performance at the Brit Awards, the album track "Someone Like You" went straight to number 1 on the UK singles chart, while the album 21 also remained at number 1. According to the Official Charts Company, Adele is the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits in both the Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since the Beatles in 1964. It is the first time that one act has held the top two places in the UK albums chart since The Corrs in 1999. The album spent 11 consecutive weeks at number one, before being knocked off the top spot by Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters. Next week, though, she regained the number one spot and was holding in for five more weeks in a row. In July "Someone Like You" single set another record, having become the first song to sell over a million copies in the UK this decade. In September the album sold over 3 million units and Adele became the first artist in UK music history to hit 3 million sales of an album in one calendar year. In November 2011, Adele became the first artist to sell more than one million copies of an album on the European iTunes store with her second album 21.
As of June 2011, Adele had sold 2.5 million copies and 992,000 digital copies of 21 in the United States, making it the best-selling album in both categories in the first half of 2011. The first single, "Rolling in the Deep" reached number 1 in 8 countries including the Billboard Hot 100. The song has sold 5.567 million digital copies in the US by 24 November 2011, the most digital copies of a song ever sold in a single year in the US, and the best-selling song by a British artist in the digital era. "Someone Like You" became her second consecutive number-one single on the Hot 100 making Adele the first ever British female singer to spawn two consecutive number one singles from the same album. It also made Hot 100 history by achieving "the biggest jump to No. 1 in the chart's 53-year history that wasn't spurred by the release of a single." The song became the first strictly voice-and-piano ballad to top the Billboard Hot 100. At the 2011 American Music Awards on 20 November, Adele won three awards; Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Album for 21. On November 30, 2011, Adele received six Grammy Award nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards which take place on 12 February 2012. She was nominated in the categories; Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 21, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video for "Rolling In the Deep", and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Someone Like You".
To promote the album, Adele embarked upon Adele Live tour, which sold out its North American leg. Her audience at a May 2011 concert at the Beacon Theater in New York was described as a "varied blend as they shuffle to the exits—some are tearstained, some are whistling" with "snatches of regretful conversation between women, missing one man, still resenting another". In October 2011, Adele was forced to cancel two tours because of a vocal cord hemorrhage. She released a statement saying she needed an extended period of rest in order to avoid permanent damage to her voice. On 28 October, Adele released a further statement that she was undergoing surgery to "alleviate the current issues with her throat", adding; "I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever".The singer underwent laser microsurgery in US on the first week of November.
In the August 2011 issue of Q, Adele revealed that she was already working on a new album and had written seven songs for it. She promised it would be more intimate and stripped-down than her first two albums. "It won't be a big production. I want it to be quite acoustic and piano-led", she said. "I want to write it all, record it all, produce it all and master it on my own. I think it'll take a lot longer because I want to do it this way", she added.
Artistry and influence
Adele's voice is categorised as contralto. Initially, critics suggested that her vocals were more developed and intriguing than her songwriting, a sentiment Adele agreed with. Adele's first album is of the soul genre, with lyrics describing heartbreak and relationship. Her success occurred simultaneously with several other British female soul singers, with the British press dubbing her a new Amy Winehouse. This was described as a third British Musical Invasion of the US. However, Adele called the comparisons between her and other female soul singers lazy, noting "we're a gender, not a genre". By the beginning of 2009, listeners and critics started to describe Adele as unique. AllMusic wrote that "Adele is simply too magical to compare her to anyone." American singer Beyoncé Knowles cited Adele as one of the influences for her fourth album, 4.
Main article: Adele discography
An Evening with Adele (2008–09)
Adele Live (2011)
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Adele
Awards and achievements
Amy Winehouse Grammy Award for Best New Artist
2009 Succeeded by
Zac Brown Band
Mika Sound of… (BBC poll)
2008 Succeeded by