Adele is a double Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter who caught the attention of the media after becoming the first recipient of the Critics Choice award at the BRIT Awards in 2008. After picking up the honour, she went on to enjoy huge success with debut album 19 and since then has released her follow up 21, which also went to number one and stayed at the top of the charts for over ten successive weeks, breaking Madonna's record of nine in 1990 with The Immaculate Collection.
The Early Years
Adele began singing from an early age and claims she knew she wanted to pursue it as a career from the age of 14 after her dad's best friend, who was a dance producer, invited her to record a cover of Blondie's 'Heart of Glass' after he'd heard her sing. She soon went from putting on shows for her family in her bedroom where she impersonated the Spice Girls, to enrolling at the famous BRIT School in Croydon, where the likes of Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse and Kate Nash were all students. During her time there, Adele made a three song demo, which a friend posted on social networking website MySpace. It wasn't long before she attracted the attention of the music industry and was snapped up by record label XL, who can boast of having, amongst others, Radiohead, The White Stripes and Vampire Weekend on their books.
19 - The Debut Album
Adele released her debut album 19 in January 2008, which was both a critical and commercial success. It went straight to the top of the UK charts and after a performance on American show Saturday Night Live, it eventually rose to number 11 in the U.S. A year later after Adele won two Grammy Awards, 19 climbed to number ten on the Billboard 200 and sales reached over 840,000. As of February 2011, it had sold just over a million copies in America and almost 3 million worldwide. 19 then re-entered the UK charts at number 4 following the release of second album 21.
19, which received a Mercury Prize nomination, is a sad, reflective record, written about love and heartbreak at the age of 19. The Grammy Award nominated song 'Hometown Glory,' which Adele apparently wrote in ten minutes, was the first single from the album to be released and featured in British teen drama Skins, as well as in several hit U.S shows, including medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
Second single 'Chasing Pavements,' about being cheated on by a lover, debuted at number two in the UK when it was released in January 2008 and also featured in several hit TV shows, including Hollyoaks and America's 90210. It won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 ceremony, where it was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Adele later released 'Cold Shoulder,' and 'Make You Feel My Love,' a Bob Dylan cover, which reached number 18 and number 4 in the UK charts respectively.
2009 was a great year for Adele, as she not only picked up two Grammy Awards, the other being for Best New Artist, but she was also nominated for three BRIT Awards, and received a letter from then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to thank her for cheering up the nation during the recession, through her own success.
After some time out to work on her second album, Adele released 21 in January 2011 in the UK and a month later, it hit the shelves in the U.S. It was met with both critical and commercial success, debuting at number one in Britain and America and in ten other countries. The album has been described as having a country feel, after Adele was exposed to Nashville music while touring the Deep South of America.
21 is also a record breaker after it smashed Madonna's record of nine consecutive weeks at the top of the UK charts with The Immaculate Collection, in 1990. First single 'Rolling in the Deep' was described by Adele as being a 'dark bluesy gospel disco tune.' It debuted at number two in the UK, but went straight to number one in several other European countries, and peaked at number ten in the U.S where it has sold over a million digital copies.
After a breathtaking live performance of piano ballad 'Someone Like You,' at the 2011 BRIT Awards, the emotional song about a relationship ending, topped the UK charts to give Adele her first number one single. Adele beat Lady Gaga to the coveted top spot and in its first week alone, the record sold an incredible 208,000 copies. She made history once again, after becoming the first living artist since The Beatles in 1964 to have two top five singles and two top five albums in the same week.
In April 2011, Adele embarked on a virtually sold out tour of Europe, America and Canada.