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Adele smiling Adele 2016.jpg
Adele at her Adele Live 2016 concert tour, October 2016
BornAdele Laurie Blue Adkins[1]
(1988-05-05) 5 May 1988 (age 35)
Tottenham, London, England, United Kingdom
๐ŸŽ“ Alma materBRIT School
๐Ÿ’ผ Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
๐Ÿ“† Years active  2006โ€“present
๐Ÿ‘ฉ Spouse(s)
Simon Konecki (m. 2016)
๐Ÿ‘ถ Children1

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE (/ษ™หˆdษ›l/; born 5 May 1988) is an English singer and songwriter. After graduating from the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in 2006, Adele was given a recording contract by XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace the same year. In 2007, she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" award and won the BBC Sound of 2008 poll. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to commercial and critical success. It is certified seven times platinum in the UK, and three times platinum in the US. The album contains her first song, "Hometown Glory", written when she was 16, which is based on her home suburb of West Norwood in London. An appearance she made on Saturday Night Live in late 2008 boosted her career in the US. At the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Adele released her second studio album, 21, in 2011. The album was critically well received and surpassed the success of her debut, earning numerous awards in 2012, among them a record-tying six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year; two Brit Awards, including British Album of the Year; and three American Music Awards. The album has been certified 17 times platinum in the UK, and is overall the fourth best-selling album in the nation. In the US, it has held the top position longer than any album since 1985, and is certified diamond. The best-selling album worldwide of 2011 and 2012, 21 has sold over 31 million copies. The success of 21 earned Adele numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records. She was the first female artist to simultaneously have two albums in the top five of the Billboard 200 and two singles in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, as well as the first woman in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have three simultaneous top 10 singles as a lead artist with "Rolling in the Deep", "Someone Like You", and "Set Fire to the Rain", all of which also topped the chart. 21 is the longest-running number one album by a female solo artist in the history of the UK and US Album Charts.

In 2012, Adele released "Skyfall", which she co-wrote and recorded for the James Bond film of the same name. The song won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, as well as the Brit Award for British Single of the Year. After taking a three-year break, Adele released her third studio album, 25, in 2015. It became the year's best-selling album and broke first-week sales records in the UK and US. 25 was her second album to be certified diamond in the US and earned her five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and four Brit Awards. The lead single, "Hello", became the first song in the US to sell over one million digital copies within a week of its release. Her third concert tour, Adele Live 2016, visited Europe, North America and Oceania, and concluded with finale concerts at Wembley Stadium in late June 2017.

In 2011, 2012, and 2016, Adele was named Artist of the Year by Billboard. At the 2012 and 2016 Ivor Novello Awards, Adele was named Songwriter of the Year by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. In 2012, she was listed at number five on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music. Time magazine named her one of the most influential people in the world in 2012 and 2016. Her 2016โ€“17 tour, saw her break attendance records in a number of countries, including the UK, Australia, and the US. With sales of more than 100 million records, Adele is one of the world's best-selling music artists.[4]

Life and career[edit]

1988โ€“2006: Early life[edit]

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born on 5 May 1988 in Tottenham, London, to an English mother, Penny Adkins, and a Welsh father, Marc Evans.[5] Evans left when Adele was two, leaving her mother to raise her.[6][7] She began singing at age four and asserts that she became obsessed with voices.[8][9] Growing up, Adele spent most of her time singing rather than reading; the last book she read was Roald Dahl's Matilda when she was six years old.[10] In 1997, at the age of nine, Adele and her mother, who by then had found work as a furniture maker and an adult-learning activities organiser, relocated to Brighton on the south coast of England.[11]

In 1999 she and her mother moved back to London; first to Brixton, then to the neighbouring district of West Norwood in south London.[12] Adele graduated from the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croydon in May 2006,[13] where she was a classmate of Leona Lewis and Jessie J.[1][14] Adele credits the school with nurturing her talent[15] even though, at the time, she was more interested in going into A&R and hoped to launch other people's careers.[1]

2006โ€“2010: Career beginnings and 19[edit]

Teenaged Adele performing on an acoustic guitar in Kilburn, London, in 2007

Four months after graduation, she published two songs on the fourth issue of the online arts publication[16] She had recorded a three-song demo for a class project and given it to a friend.[1] The friend posted the demo on Myspace, where it became very successful and led to a phone call from Richard Russell, boss of the 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.[14][17]

Nick Huggett, at XL, recommended Adele to manager Jonathan Dickins at September Management, and in June 2006, Dickins became her official representative.[18] September was managing Jamie T at the time and this proved a major draw for Adele, a big fan of the British singer-songwriter. Huggett then signed Adele to XL in September 2006.[18] Adele provided vocals for Jack Peรฑate's song, "My Yvonne," for his debut album, and it was during this session she first met producer Jim Abbiss, who would go on to produce both the majority of her debut album, 19, and tracks on 21.[19] In June 2007, Adele made her television debut, performing "Daydreamer" on the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland.[20] Adele's breakthrough song, "Hometown Glory", was released in October 2007.[18]

By 2008, Adele had become the headliner and performed an acoustic set, in which she was supported by Damien Rice.[21][22] 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.[23][24] The album 19, named for her age at the time she wrote and composed many of its songs, entered the British charts at number one. The Times Encyclopedia of Modern Music named 19 an "essential" blue-eyed soul recording.[25] 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.[26] Adele was nominated for a 2008 Mercury Prize award for 19.[27] She also won an Urban Music Award for "Best Jazz Act."[28] She also received a Q Awards nomination in the category of Breakthrough Act[29] and a Music of Black Origin nomination in the category of Best UK Female.[30] In March 2008, Adele signed a deal with Columbia Records and XL Recordings for her foray into the United States.[31] She embarked on a short North American tour in the same month,[31] and 19 was released in the US in June.[15] Billboard magazine stated of it: "Adele truly has potential to become among the most respected and inspiring international artists of her generation."[32] The An Evening with Adele world tour began in May 2008 and ended in June 2009.[33]

Adele performing live in January 2009

She later cancelled the 2008 US tour dates to be with a former boyfriend.[34] She said in Nylon magazine in June 2009, "I'm like, 'I can't believe I did that.' It seems so ungrateful.... 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, I'll just cancel my stuff then.'"[34] She referred to this period as her "early life crisis".[34] She is also known for her dislike of flying and bouts of homesickness when away from her native London.[35] By the middle of October 2008, Adele's attempt to break in America appeared to have failed.[36][37] But then she was booked as the musical guest on 18 October 2008 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live. The episode, which included an expected appearance by then US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, earned the program its best ratings in 14 years with 17 million viewers. Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder,"[38] and the following day, 19 topped the iTunes charts and ranked at number five at while "Chasing Pavements" rose into the top 25.[39] The album reached number 11 on the Billboard 200 as a result, a jump of 35 places over the previous week.[40] In November 2008 Adele moved to Notting Hill, London after leaving her mother's house, a move that prompted her to give up drinking.[41] The album was certified gold in February 2009 by the RIAA.[42] By July 2009, the album had sold 2.2 million copies worldwide.[43]

At the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in February 2009, Adele received the award for Best New Artist, in addition to the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Chasing Pavements", which was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.[44] Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" at the ceremony in a duet with Jennifer Nettles. In 2010, Adele received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Hometown Glory."[45] 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 fรผr Oslo, or Our Star for Oslo, in which the German entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 was determined.[46][47] 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.[48] During the 2010 CMT Artists of the Year special, Adele performed a widely publicised duet of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" with Darius Rucker.[49] This performance was later nominated for a CMT Music Award.[50]

2011โ€“2014: 21, worldwide recognition and hiatus[edit]

Adele performing in Seattle, Washington, on 12 August 2011

Adele released her second studio album, 21, on 24 January 2011 in the UK and 22 February in the US.[51][52] She said that the album was inspired by the break-up with her former partner.[7] The album's sound is described as classic and contemporary country and roots music. The change in sound from her first album was the result of her bus driver playing contemporary music from Nashville when she was touring the American South, and the title reflected the growth she had experienced in the prior two years.[52] Adele told Spin Magazine: "It was really exciting for me because I never grew up around [that music]."[53] 21 hit number 1 in 30 countries, including the UK and the US.[54][55][56]

An emotional performance of "Someone Like You" at the 2011 Brit Awards on 15 February propelled the song to number one in the UK.[57] Her first album, 19, re-entered the UK album chart alongside 21, while first and second singles "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You" were in the top 5 of the UK singles chart, making Adele 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.[58] Both songs topped the charts in multiple markets and broke numerous sales performance records. Following her performance of "Someone Like You" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, it became Adele's second number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100.[59] By December 2011, 21 sold over 3.4 million copies in the UK, and became the biggest-selling album of the 21st century, overtaking Amy Winehouse's Back to Black,[60][61] with Adele becoming the first artist ever to sell three million albums in the UK in one calendar year.[62][63] "Set Fire to the Rain" became Adele's third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, as Adele became the first artist ever to have an album, 21, hold the number-one position on the Billboard 200 concurrently with three number one singles.[64] Moreover, 21 had the most weeks on the Billboard 200 chart of any album by a woman.[65]

To promote the album, Adele embarked upon the "Adele Live" tour, which sold out its North American leg.[66] In October 2011, Adele was forced to cancel two tours because of a vocal-cord haemorrhage. She released a statement saying she needed an extended period of rest to avoid permanent damage to her voice.[67] In the first week of November 2011 Steven M. Zeitels, director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, performed laser microsurgery on Adele's vocal cords to remove a benign polyp.[68][69][70] A recording of her tour, Live at the Royal Albert Hall, was released in November 2011, debuting at number one in the US with 96,000 copies sold, the highest one-week tally for a music DVD in four years, becoming the best-selling music DVD of 2011.[71] Adele is the first artist in Nielsen SoundScan history to have the year's number-one album (21), number-one single ("Rolling in the Deep"), and number-one music video.[72] 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.[73] On 9 December, Billboard named Adele Artist of the Year, Billboard 200 Album of the Year (21), and the Billboard Hot 100 Song of the Year ("Rolling in the Deep"), becoming the first woman ever to top all three categories.[74][75]

Adele at the 70th Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on 13 January 2013

Following the throat microsurgery, she made her live comeback at the 2012 Grammy Awards in February.[76] She won in all six categories for which she was nominated, making her the second female artist in Grammy history, after Beyoncรฉ, to win that many categories in a single night.[77] Following that success, 21 achieved the biggest weekly sales increase following a Grammy win since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991.[78][79] Adele received the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, and British Album of the Year presented to her by George Michael.[80][81] Following the Brit Awards, 21 reached number one for the 21st non-consecutive week in the UK.[82] The album has sold over 4.5 million copies in the UK where it is the fourth best-selling album.[83] In October, the album's sales surpassed 4.5 million in the UK, and in November it surpassed 10 million sales in the US.[84][85][86] The best-selling album worldwide of 2011 and 2012, as of 2016, the album has sold over 31 million copies.[87][88][89] By the end of 2014, she had sold an estimated 40 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide.[90] Adele is the only artist or band in the last decade in the US to earn an RIAA diamond certification for a one disc album in less than two years.[85]

In October 2012, Adele confirmed that she had been writing, composing and recording the theme song for Skyfall, the twenty-third James Bond film.[91][92] The song "Skyfall," written and composed in collaboration with producer Paul Epworth, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, and features orchestrations by J. A. C. Redford.[93] Adele stated recording "Skyfall" was "one of the proudest moments of my life." On 14 October, "Skyfall" rose to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart with sales of 92,000 copies bringing its overall sales to 176,000, and "Skyfall" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 8, selling 261,000 copies in the US in its first three days.[94] This tied "Skyfall" with Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill" as the highest-charting James Bond theme song on the UK Singles Chart;[95] a record surpassed in 2015 by Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall".[96]

"Skyfall" has sold more than two million copies worldwide[97] and earned Adele the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song[98] and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[99] In December 2012, Adele was named Billboard Artist of the Year, and 21 was named Album of the Year, making her the first artist to receive both accolades two years in a row.[100][101] Adele was also named top female artist.[101] The Associated Press named Adele Entertainer of the Year for 2012.[102] The 2013 Grammy Awards saw Adele's live version of "Set Fire to the Rain" win the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance, bringing her total wins to nine.[103]

On 3 April 2012, Adele confirmed that her third album would likely be at least two years away, stating, "I have to take time and live a little bit. There were a good two years between my first and second albums, so it'll be the same this time." She stated that she would continue writing and composing her own material.[104] At the 2013 Grammy Awards, she confirmed that she was in the very early stages of her third album.[105][106] She also stated that she will most likely work with Paul Epworth again.[105]

In September 2013, Wiz Khalifa confirmed that he and Adele had collaborated on a song for his upcoming fifth studio album, Blacc Hollywood, though the collaboration did not make the final track listing.[107] In January 2014, Adele received her tenth Grammy Award with "Skyfall" winning Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.[108] On the eve of her 26th birthday in May 2014, Adele posted a cryptic message via her Twitter account which prompted media discussion about her next album. The message, "Bye bye 25... See you again later in the year," was interpreted by some in the media, including the Daily Mail and Capital FM, as meaning that her next album would be titled 25 and released later in the year.[109][110] In 2014, Adele was nominated for nine World Music Awards.[111] In early August, Paul Moss suggested that an album would be released in 2014 or 2015.[112] However, in the October 2014 accounts filed with Companies House by XL Recordings, they ruled out a 2014 release.[113]

2015โ€“2017: 25 and Adele Live 2016[edit]

On 27 August 2015, Billboard reported that Adele's label, XL Recordings, had intentions of releasing her third studio album sometime in November 2015.[114] Danger Mouse has contributed a song, while Tobias Jesso Jr. has written a track, and Ryan Tedder is "back in the mix after producing and co-writing "Rumour Has It" on 21."[114] At the 72nd Venice International Film Festival in early September 2015, Sia announced that her new single "Alive" was co-written by Adele, and had originally been intended for Adele's third album.[115] On 18 October, a 30-second clip of new material from Adele was shown on UK television during a commercial break on The X Factor. The commercial teases a snippet from a new song from her third album, with viewers hearing a voice singing accompanied by lyrics on a black screen.[116]

In a statement released three days later she confirmed that the album is titled 25, with Adele stating, "My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 25 is about getting to know who I've become without realising. And I'm sorry it took so long but, you know, life happened."[117] Adele also believes 25 will be her last album with her age as its title, believing that 25 would be the end to a trilogy.[118] On 22 October, Adele confirmed that 25 would be released on 20 November, while the lead single from the album, "Hello" would be released on 23 October.[119] The song was first played on Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 Breakfast Show on the BBC on the morning of 23 October with Adele interviewed live.[120] The video of "Hello", released on 22 October, was viewed over 27.7 million times on YouTube in its first 24 hours, breaking the Vevo record for the most views in a day, surpassing the 20.1 million views for "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift.[121] On 28 October, BBC News reported that "Hello" was being viewed on YouTube an average one million times an hour.[122] "Hello" went on to become the fastest video to hit one billion views on YouTube, which it achieved after 88 days.[123] The video for "Hello" captured iconic British elements such as a red telephone box and a cup of tea.[124] The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 30 October, with first week sales of 330,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling number one single in three years.[125] "Hello" also debuted at number one in many countries around the world, including Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany, and on 2 November, the song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first song in the US to sell at least one million downloads in a week, setting the record at 1.11 million.[126] By the end of 2015, it had sold 12.3 million units globally and was the year's 7th best-selling single despite being released in late October.[127]

Adele singing in St. Paul during her first North American tour in five years in July 2016. Ten million people tried to buy tickets for the North American leg of Adele's world tour. Only 750,000 tickets were available[128]

On 27 October, BBC One announced plans for Adele at the BBC, a one-hour special presented by Graham Norton, in which Adele talks about her new album and performs new songs.[129] This was her first television appearance since performing at the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony, and the show was recorded before a live audience on 2 November for broadcast on 20 November, coinciding with the release of 25.[130] On 27 October it was also announced that Adele would appear on the US entertainment series Saturday Night Live on 21 November.[129][131] On 30 October, Adele confirmed that she would be performing a one-night-only concert titled Adele Live in New York City at the Radio City Music Hall on 17 November. Subsequently, NBC aired the concert special on 14 December.[132][133]

On 27 November, 25 debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and became the fastest selling album in UK chart history with over 800,000 copies sold in its first week.[134] The album debuted at number one in the US where it sold a record-breaking 3.38 million copies in its first week, the largest single sales week for an album since Nielsen began monitoring sales in 1991.[135] 25 also broke first week sales records in Canada and New Zealand.[136][137] 25 became the best-selling album of 2015 in a number of countries, including Australia, the UK and the US, spending seven consecutive weeks at number one in each country, before being displaced by David Bowie's Blackstar.[138][139][140] It was the best-selling album worldwide of 2015 with 17.4 million copies sold.[127] 25 has since sold 20 million copies globally.[141] Adele's seven weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart took her total to 31 weeks at number one in the UK with her three albums, surpassing Madonna's previous record of most weeks at number one for a female act.[142]

In November 2015, Adele's 2016 tour was announced, her first tour since 2011.[143] Beginning in Europe, Adele Live 2016 included four dates at the Manchester Arena in March 2016, six dates at the O2 Arena, London, with further dates in Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands among others.[144] Her North American Tour began on 5 July in St. Paul, Minnesota.[145] The leg included six nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City, eight nights at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and four nights at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.[146] Adele broke Taylor Swift's five-show record for most consecutive sold-out shows at Staples Center.[147]

Adele at Wembley Stadium in June 2017. Adele's concert on 28 June was attended by 98,000 fans, a stadium record for a UK music event[148]

At the 2016 Brit Awards in London on 24 February, Adele received the awards for British Female Solo Artist, British Album of the Year for 25, British Single of the Year for "Hello", and British Global Success, bringing her Brit Award wins to eight.[149] She closed the ceremony by performing "When We Were Young", the second single from 25.[149] Two more singles from 25 were released in 2016: "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" and "Water Under the Bridge". While on stage at London's O2 Arena on 17 March, Adele announced that she would be headlining on the Pyramid Stage at the 2016 Glastonbury Festival, which was later confirmed by the festival's organisers.[150] She appeared for a 90-minute fifteen song set at the festival on 25 June, and described the experience as "by far, the best moment of my life so far".[151]

As part of her world tour, in February and March 2017, Adele performed in Australia for the first time, playing outdoor stadiums around the country.[152] Her first two shows in New Zealand sold out in a record-breaking 23 minutes, and a third show was announced, with all tickets sold in under 30 minutes.[153] Adele sold over 600,000 tickets for her record-breaking eight date Australian tour, setting stadium records throughout the country; her Sydney show at ANZ Stadium on 10 March was seen by 95,000 people, the biggest single concert in Australian history, a record she broke the following night with more than 100,000 fans.[154] Adele completed her world tour with two concerts, dubbed "The Finale", at Wembley Stadium, London on 28 and 29 June.[155] She announced the shows at "the home of football" by singing the England football team's "Three Lions" anthem and also the theme song to the BBC's weekly Premier League football show Match of the Day.[155] Adele had added another two concerts at Wembley after the first two dates sold out,[156] however she cancelled the 1 and concert of 2 Julys after damaging her vocal cords.[148] As a show of support, fans instead gathered outside Wembley Stadium to perform renditions of her songs, in an event titled "Sing for Adele".[157]

At the end of 2016, Billboard named Adele Artist of the Year for the third time,[158] with the Top Billboard 200 album.[159] 25 was the best-selling album for a second consecutive year in the US.[160] With 160 million views, Adele's Carpool Karaoke through the streets of London with James Corden, a sketch which featured on Corden's talk show The Late Late Show with James Corden in January 2016, was the biggest YouTube viral video of 2016.[161] At the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2017, Adele won all five of her nominations, bringing her to fifteen. She won awards for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 25, and Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Hello".[162] She also performed a tribute to the late George Michael singing the rendition of his song "Fastlove"; due to technical difficulties which occurred during the performance, Adele decided to stop and restart, explaining "I can't mess this up for him".[163]

2018-present: Upcoming fourth album[edit]

On June 25, 2018, it had been reported that Adele is working on her fourth studio album, which is slated for a December 2019 release.[164]


Influences and favourite musicians[edit]

Adele credits the Spice Girls as being a major influence on her love of music

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".[165] Adele impersonated the Spice Girls at dinner parties as a young girl.[166] She stated she was left "heartbroken" when her favourite Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell aka "Ginger Spice", left the group.[167][168] She has also stated that growing up, she listened to Sinรฉad O'Connor,[169] The Cure,[170] Dusty Springfield,[171] Celine Dion,[172] and Annie Lennox.[173] One of Adele's earliest influences was Gabrielle, who Adele has admired since the age of five. During Adele's school years, her mother made her an eye patch with sequins which she used to perform as the Hackney born star in a school talent contest.[174] After moving to south London, she became interested in R&B artists such as Aaliyah, Destiny's Child, and Mary J. Blige.[175] Adele says that one of the most defining moments in her life was when she watched Pink perform at Brixton Academy in London. She states: "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."[176][177]

As a teenager Adele would listen to Etta James (pictured) while developing and practising her vocal skills

In 2002, aged 14, Adele discovered Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald as she stumbled on the artists' CDs in the jazz section of her local music store. She was struck by their appearance on the album covers.[178] Adele states she then "started listening to Etta James every night for an hour," and in the process was getting "to know my own voice."[178] Adele credits Amy Winehouse and her 2003 album Frank for inspiring her to take up the guitar, stating, "If it wasn't for Amy and Frank, one hundred per cent I wouldn't have picked up a guitar, I wouldn't have written "Daydreamer" or "Hometown [Glory]" and I wrote "Someone Like You" on the guitar too."[179] She also states that her mother, who is very close to her, exposed her to the music of Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys, all of whom inspired her as well.[169] She is also a fan of Lana Del Rey, Britney Spears, Grimes, Chvrches, FKA Twigs, Alabama Shakes, Kanye West, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, and Stevie Nicks.[180][181][182] In 2017, she described Beyoncรฉ as a particular inspiration, calling her "my artist of my life" and added "the other artists who mean that much to me are all dead."[183] Adele cited Madonna's album Ray of Light as a "chief inspiration" behind her album 25.[181]

Musical style[edit]

Adele's first album, 19, is of the soul genre, with lyrics describing heartbreak and relationship.[15] Her success occurred simultaneously with several other British female soul singers, with the British press dubbing her a new Amy Winehouse.[1] This was described as a third British Musical Invasion of the US.[14] However, Adele called the comparisons between her and other female soul singers lazy, noting "we're a gender, not a genre".[15][36][184] AllMusic wrote that "Adele is simply too magical to compare her to anyone."[178]

Her second album, 21, shares the folk and soul influences of her debut album, but was further inspired by the American country and Southern blues music to which she had been exposed during her 2008โ€“09 North American tour An Evening with Adele.[185][186] Composed in the aftermath of Adele's separation from her partner, the album typifies the near dormant tradition of the confessional singer-songwriter in its exploration of heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness. Having referred to 21 as a "break-up record", Adele labelled her third studio album, 25, a "make-up record", adding it was about "Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did."[117] Her yearning for her old self, her nostalgia, and melancholy about the passage of time, is a feature of 25, with Adele stating, "I've had a lot of regrets since I turned 25. And sadness hits me in different ways than it used to. There's a lot of things I don't think I'll ever get 'round to doing."[187]


"Clutching a Brits Critics' Choice Award before she'd even released her debut album, Adele had what seems like pre-ordained success, but it never would have happened without her extraordinary voice. Appropriately, her big, smoky pipes enter tonight before she does โ€“ singing from the wings, before she suddenly emerges, cackling "Awright Leeds." These first few seconds encapsulate her special connection with the public. A peculiar mixture of the sublime and the mundane. One minute she's adding an eerie tremor to the lyric "Of my world", the next she's explaining to the people pondering aloud just how one might Set Fire to the Rain, that the song was inspired "when mah lightah stopped workin'" in the wet."

โ€”Dave Simpson of The Guardian on her voice and down to earth manner.[188]

Adele singing at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee during her Adele Live 2016 tour

Adele is a mezzo-soprano with a range spanning from C3 to B5. However Classic FM state she is often mistaken for a contralto due to the application of a tense chest mix to achieve her lower notes, whilst also noting that her voice becomes its clearest as she ascends the register, particularly from C4 to C5.[189][190][191][192] Rolling Stone reported that following throat surgery her voice had become "palpably bigger and purer-toned", and that she had added a further four notes to the top of her range.[187] Initially, critics suggested that her vocals were more developed and intriguing than her songwriting, a sentiment with which Adele agreed.[193] She has stated: "I taught myself how to sing by listening to Ella Fitzgerald for acrobatics and scales, Etta James for passion and Roberta Flack for control."[194]

Her voice has received acclaim from critics. In a review of 19, The Observer said, "The way she stretched the vowels, her wonderful soulful phrasing, the sheer unadulterated pleasure of her voice, stood out all the more; little doubt that she's a rare singer".[195] BBC Music wrote, "Her melodies exude warmth, her singing is occasionally stunning and, ...she has tracks that make Lily Allen and Kate Nash sound every bit as ordinary as they are."[196] For their reviews of 21, The New York Times' chief music critic Jon Pareles commended Adele's emotive timbre, comparing her to Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Annie Lennox: "[Adele] can seethe, sob, rasp, swoop, lilt and belt, in ways that draw more attention to the song than to the singer".[197] Ryan Reed of Paste magazine regarded her voice as "a raspy, aged-beyond-its-years thing of full-blooded beauty",[198] while MSN Music's Tom Townshend declared her "the finest singer of [our] generation".[199]

Personal life and other ventures[edit]

Adele began dating charity entrepreneur and Old Etonian Simon Konecki in the summer of 2011.[200] In June 2012, Adele announced that she and Konecki were expecting a baby.[201][202] Their son Angelo was born on 19 October 2012.[203] On the topic of becoming a parent, Adele observed that she "felt like I was truly living. I had a purpose, where before I didn't".[204] Adele and Konecki brought a privacy case against a UK-based photo agency that published intrusive paparazzi images of their son taken during family outings in 2013.[205] Lawyers working on their behalf accepted damages from the company in July 2014.[206] Adele has also stated that she has suffered from postnatal depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and panic attacks.[207][208]

In early 2017, tabloids started speculating that Adele and Konecki had secretly married when they were spotted wearing matching rings on their ring fingers.[209] During her acceptance speech at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Adele confirmed their marriage by calling Konecki her husband when thanking him.[210] She subsequently clarified her marital status in March 2017, telling the audience at a concert in Brisbane, Australia, "I'm married now".[211]

Politically she is a supporter of the Labour Party, stating in 2011 that she was a "Labour girl through and through",.[212] In 2015, Adele stated "I'm a feminist, I believe that everyone should be treated the same, including race and sexuality".[181] In 2017, Adele was ranked the richest musician under 30 years old in the UK and Ireland in the Sunday Times Rich List, which valued her wealth at ยฃ125 million. She was ranked the 19th richest musician overall.[213]

She is an icon for the LGBT community.[214] On 12 June 2016 an emotional Adele dedicated her show in Antwerp, Belgium to the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, earlier that day, adding "The LGBTQ community, they're like my soul mates since I was really young, so I'm very moved by it."[215][216] In April 2018 it was widely reported that Adele had become an ordained minister in order to officiate at close friend comedian Alan Carr's wedding to Paul Drayton, something which Adele herself subsequently confirmed. The wedding, held in January 2018, took place in the garden of her house in Los Angeles.[217] However, the news prompted Tim Worstall of The Continental Telegraph to observe that ordination in itself would not have allowed Adele to conduct the marriage under California law, and that she would have needed to apply to become a "one-time deputy marriage commissioner", a role similar to that of a Justice of the peace and known as becoming a "JP for a day": "It's certainly a cute story that Adele is now the Rev Miss Adele but it's not really what happened."[218]


Adele has performed in numerous charity concerts throughout her career. In 2007 and 2008 she performed at the Little Noise Sessions held at London's Union Chapel, with proceeds from the concerts donated to Mencap which works with people with learning disabilities.[35] In July and November 2008, Adele performed at the Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in London and New York City respectively.[219][220][221] On 17 September 2009 she performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for the VH1 Divas event, a concert to raise money for the Save The Music Foundation charity.[222][223] 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.[224] In 2011, Adele gave a free concert for Pride London, a registered charity which arranges LGBT events in London.[225] The same year, Adele took part in the UK charity telethon Comic Relief for Red Nose Day 2011, performing "Someone like You".[226]

Adele has been a major contributor to MusiCares, a charity organisation founded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for musicians in need. In February 2009, Adele performed at the 2009 MusiCares charity concert in Los Angeles. In 2011 and 2012, Adele donated autographed items for auctions to support MusiCares.[227][228][229] When on tour, Adele requires all backstage visitors to donate a minimum charitable contribution of US$20 for the UK charity SANDS, an organisation dedicated to "supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies' lives". During the UK and European leg of her Adele Live tour, she collected US$13,000 for the charity.[230]

On 15 June 2017, Adele attended a vigil in west London for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire where, keeping a low profile, she was only spotted by a small handful of fans.[231] Four days later she appeared at Chelsea fire station and brought cakes for the firefighters.[232] Station manager Ben King stated "She came in, came up to the mess and had a cup of tea with the watch and then she joined us for the minute's silence."[232] Paying tribute to the victims at her first Wembley show on 28 June, Adele encouraged fans to donate money to help the victims of the blaze rather than waste the money on "overpriced wine".[233]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Adele performing at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia, March 2017. She performed to over 70,000, a record attendance in South Australia[154]

At the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in 2009, Adele won awards in the categories of Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[234] She was also nominated in the categories of Record of the Year and Song of the Year.[235] The success of her debut album 19 saw Adele nominated for three Brit Awards in the categories of Best British Female, Best British Single and Best British Breakthrough Act.[236] Then 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."[237]

Adele's second album, 21, earned her a record-tying six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year; two Brit Awards, including British Album of the Year. The success of the album saw her receive numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records.[238] With 21 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 in the US, Adele broke the record for the longest number-1 album by a woman in Billboard history, beating the record formerly held by Whitney Houston's soundtrack The Bodyguard.[79] 21 spent its 23rd week at number one in March 2012, making it the longest-running album at number one since 1985,[239] and it became the fourth best-selling album of the past 10 years in the US.[240] The best selling album in the UK of the 21st century, and the best selling album by a female in UK chart history, 21 is also the fourth best-selling album in the UK of all time.[241][242] 21 was her first album certified diamond in the US.[243] On 6 March, 21 reached 30 non-consecutive weeks at number one on the Australian ARIA Chart, making it the longest-running number one album in Australia in the 21st century, and the second longest-running number one ever.[244]

In February 2012, Adele was listed at number five on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music.[245] In April 2012, Time magazine named Adele one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[246][247] People named her one of 2012 Most Beautiful at Every Age.[248] On 30 April 2012, a tribute to Adele was held at New York City's (Le) Poisson Rouge called Broadway Sings Adele, starring various Broadway actors such as Matt Doyle.[249] In July 2012, Adele was listed at number six in Forbes list of the world's highest-paid celebrities under the age of 30, having earned ยฃ23 million between May 2011 and May 2012.[250]

On the week ending 3 March 2012, Adele became the first solo female artist to have three singles in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time with "Rolling in the Deep", "Someone Like You", and "Set Fire to the Rain" as well as the first female artist to have two albums in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 and two singles in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.[251] Adele topped the 2012 Sunday Times Rich List of musicians in the UK under 30[252] and made the Top 10 of Billboard magazine's "Top 40 Money Makers".[253] Billboard also announced the same day that Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is the biggest crossover hit of the past 25 years, topping pop, adult pop and adult contemporary charts and that Adele is one of four female artists to have an album chart at number one for more than 13 weeks (the other three artists being Judy Garland, Carole King, and Whitney Houston).[253]

At the 2012 Ivor Novello Awards in May, Adele was named Songwriter of the Year, and "Rolling in the Deep" won the award for Most Performed Work of 2011.[254] At the 2012 BMI Awards held in London in October, Adele won Song of the Year (for "Rolling in the Deep") in recognition of the song being the most played on US television and radio in 2011.[255] In 2013, Adele won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the James Bond theme "Skyfall". This is the first James Bond song to win and the fifth to be nominated (after "For Your Eyes Only" (1981), "Nobody Does It Better" (1977), "Live and Let Die" (1973), and "The Look of Love" (1967)).[256][257] "Skyfall" won the Brit Award for Best British Single at the 2013 Brit Awards.[258]

Released in 2015, Adele's third album, 25, became the year's best-selling album and broke first week sales records in a number of markets, including the UK and the US.[259] 25 was her second album to be certified diamond in the US and earned her five Grammy Awards, including her second Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and four Brit Awards for British Female Solo Artist, British Album of the Year, British Single of the Year for "Hello", and British Global Success.[149] Adele's seven weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart took her total to 31 weeks at number one in the UK with her three albums, surpassing Madonna's previous record of most weeks at number one for a female act in the UK.[142] The lead single, "Hello", became the first song in the US to sell over one million digital copies within a week of its release.[126] At the 2016 Ivor Novello Awards Adele was named Songwriter of the Year by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.[260]

In June 2013, Adele was appointed a MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to music, and she received the award from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on 19 December 2013.[261][262] In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[263] In April 2016, Adele appeared for the second time on the Time 100 list of most influential people.[264]

In 2014, Adele was already being regarded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming her among a group of people that they most associated with UK culture, which included William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, David Beckham, J. K. Rowling, The Beatles, Charlie Chaplin and Elton John.[265][266]




Year Title Role Notes
2007 Later... with Jools Holland Herself Episode: 8 June 2007
2008 Later... with Jools Holland Episode: 31 March 2008
2008 Saturday Night Live Episode: "Josh Brolin / Adele"
2008 Jools' Annual Hootenanny Episode: 31 December 2008
2009 Ugly Betty Episode: "In the Stars"
2011 Later... with Jools Holland Episode: 6 May 2011
2015 Adele at the BBC Television special
Saturday Night Live Episode: "Matthew McConaughey / Adele"
Adele Live in New York City Television special also Executive producer

Concert tours[edit]

See also[edit]


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Sources and bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Randy Newman
Academy Award for Best Original Song
Succeeded by
Kristen Lopez and Robert Lopez
Preceded by
Amy Winehouse
Grammy Award for Best New Artist
Succeeded by
Zac Brown Band
Preceded by
Sound of...
Succeeded by
Little Boots
Preceded by
Jack White and Alicia Keys
"Another Way to Die", 2008
James Bond title artist
"Skyfall", 2012
Succeeded by
Sam Smith
"Writing's on the Wall", 2015

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