Adele is not one for being pigeonholed. She has broken through the music industry at a relatively young age, particularly owing it to her distinctive voice. She was born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins on May 5, 1988 in Enfield, North London. She came from a non-musical family but a very supportive one. Adele said that her mother used to set up a stage show for her in their own home with Adele being the performer and her mother’s friends being the audience.
Like many teenagers swept with the Spice Girls fever in the ’90s, Adele too liked to impersonate the all-girls band. She was also a fan of British singer Gabrielle whose songs she liked to cover. One day, her father’s friend who happened to be a dance producer praised the color of her voice and thus Adele’s spirit was lifted.
She tried to cover Blondie‘s “Heart of Glass” and once she got a hold of a real mic, she knew it was her destiny to be a singer. “As soon as I got a microphone in my hand, when I was about 14, I realized I wanted to do this,” she later on recalled. “Most people don’t like the way their voice sounds when it’s recorded. I was just so excited by the whole thing that I wasn’t bothered what it sounded like.”
Her secondary school life was not particularly cultivating for her singing career, only when she entered The BRIT School did she gain much more. Enrolling at the school that had graduated famous names like Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash and Leona Lewis, the young singer was lucky to meet an inspirational singer named Shingai Shoniwa which later on joined the band The Noisettes as the vocalist. Living next door to Shoniwa, Adele often made use of the opportunity to jam around with her and she confessed later on that Shoniwa made her “want to be a writer and not just sing Destiny’s Child songs.”
To boost her singing career, like many other hopeful musicians, Adele opened a MySpace account where she can display her songs and demos and ask for feedbacks. By 2004, she was already a popular singer on-line but only two years after that did she gain wider opportunity to showcase her talent. After graduating from BRIT school in May 2006, she toured around with affiliates Jamie T, Jack Penate, and Davendra Banhart.
By that time, Adele was already a commodity for music executives that many have tried to sign a contract with her. It was XL Recordings that finally met the line. Adele released her debut album, “19“, in U.K. through the label in January 2008. The LP went straight to number one on U.K. Albums chart, thanks to the popularity of its lead single “Chasing Pavements” that also received a unique music video. The album was then prepared for U.S. market with the release date set on June 10, 2008.
In 2009, she was nominated for four Grammys and won two of them; Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Two years later, she dropped a second album “21” on January 19 in the U.K. “I’m very excited, nervous, eager, anxious but chuffed to announce my new album! It’s taken a while and it knocked me for six when writing it,” she said of the new release. “It’s different from ’19’, it’s about the same things but in a different light. I deal with things differently now.”
“I’m more patient, more honest, more forgiving and more aware of my own flaws, habits and principles. Something that comes with age I think. So fittingly this record is called ’21’. The whole reason I called my first album ’19’ was about cataloging what happened to me then and who I was then, like a photo album you see the progression and changes in a person throughout the years.”
“21” then became Adele’s biggest album to date. It ruled the Billboard Hot 200 chart for multiple weeks and earned the singer a total of six Grammys at the 2012 Grammy Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year. It additionally spawned several hit singles that dominated Billboard Hot 100, including “Someone Like You”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Set Fire to the Rain” and “Turning Tables”.
Later that year, Adele confirmed that she’d written “Skyfall” for the 23rd James Bond movie of the same title. The song went on to become another hit for the singer, debuting at No. 8 on Hot 100 and being nominated for several prestigious awards. It won the Best Original Song trophies at both the 2013 Golden Globe Award and the 2013 Oscars.
On her 25th birthday