1988-2006: Early lifeEdit
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born in Tottenham, North London, England, to a single teenage mother named Penny on 5 May 1988. Adele's father split from Adele's mother when Adele was 3 years old, for which Adele had not forgiven him as of 2012. 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." To make her look like singer Gabrielle, her mother made an eye patch with sequins, which Adele said was embarrassing. At the age of nine, 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 Southern London. West Norwood is the subject for Adele's first record, "Hometown Glory", written when she was 16. After moving to Southern London, she became interested in R&B artists such as Aaliyah, Destiny's Child and Mary J. Blige. Adele says 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 incredble." Adele graduated from the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology in Croyden 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. Although she moved away from North London aged nine, Adele remains an ardent fan of her hometown Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur.
2006-2008: Career beginningsEdit
Four months after graduation, Adele 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 Session, a charity concert at London's Union Chapel and during this session she first met producer Jim Abbiss, who would go on to produce the majority of her debut album "19", and tracks on follow-up "21". In 2008 she was the headliner and performed a stripped down acoustic set 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.
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 named 19 an "essential" blue-eyed soul recording. She released her second single "Chasing Pavements" on 14 January 2008, two weaks 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 formed boyfriend. She said in Nylon magazine in June 2009, "I was dringing 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 was the musical guest on the 18 October 2008 episode of Saturday Night Live. The episode included 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 chart 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. In 2009, 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 Conest 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 publicised duet of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" with Darius Rucker. This performance was later nominated for a CMT Music Award.
Adele released her second studio album, 21, on 24 January 2011 in the UK and 22 February in the US. She said that the album was inspired by the breakup with her former partner. 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 more than 26 countries, including the UK and the US. In the UK, 19 re-entered the chart alongside 21 while first and second singles "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You" were in the top 5 of the 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. Both songs topped the charts in multiple markets and broke numerous sales performances records. In May 2011, Adele caused some minor controversy with critical statements about high taxes. 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, with Adele becoming the first artist ever to sell three million albums in the UK in one calendar year. "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. To promote the album, Adele embarked upon Adele Live tour, which sold out its North American leg. 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. The singer underwent laser microsurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital during the first week of November. A recording of her tour, Live at the Royal Albert Hall was released in November 2011, deputing 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. Adele is the first artist in Nielsen SoundScan history to have the year's number one album ([[Adele - 21 (2011)|21), number one single ("Rolling in the Deep"), and number one music video. 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 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 female ever to top all three categories. Following throat microsurgery in November, Adele made her live comeback at the 2012 Grammy Awards in February. She won in all six categories in which it was shown, making her the second female artist after Beyoncé Knowles in Grammy Awards history to win six categories in a single night. Following her Grammy success, 21 achieved the biggest weekly sales increase following a Grammy win since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. 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. The album spent its 23rd week at number one in March 2012, making it the longest-running album at number one since 1985 and 21 became the fourth best-selling album of the past 10 years in the United States. In December 2011, Adele announced that she will be taking a break before beginning work on her third album. Early in 2012, rumours circulated that she would take an extended leave of absence from music. These were rooted in an interview she did with Vogue magazine where she described being tired of personal issues and considering "taking four or five years" to produce her next record. Responding to these rumours, Adele reported on her website on 14 February that she would return to the studio within a week of performing at the 2012 Brit Awards. She received the Brit Awards for Best British Female Solo Artist, and British Album of the Year. Following the Brit Awards, 21 reached number 1 for the 21st non-consecutive week on the UK Album Chart. The album has sold over 4 million copies in the UK where it is the seventh best-selling album of all time. 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, and 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. Adele made the top Top 10 of Billboard magazine's "Top 40 Money Makers". Billboard also announced the same day that Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is the biggest crossover hit of the past 25 years, topping rock, pop, AC, R&B/hip-hop, dance and Latin 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). 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.