Impact of Adele Song Lyrics, Music and Vocal Performance
When Adele burst onto the music scene in 2007, she was hailed as “the next Amy Winehouse.” Although flattering, the comparison didn’t really take into consideration the singer-songwriter tradition that has influenced Adele. Song lyrics, music and an incredible voice have catapulted her into an orbit all her own. Adele is not just the “next” anyone — she stands alone as a new force in music. Where did she come from and how did she get here?
Adele was born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins on May 5, 1988, in Tottenham, London, England. She began singing at a very early age, and one of her earliest influences was the Spice Girls. Like many other seven-year-olds, she absolutely loved them and they made a big impression on her. Another pivotal moment came when she got to see Pink perform live at the Brixton Academy. Adele has been quoted as saying she had never had an experience like it, of being blown away by the power of Pink’s voice singing live. It was a stunning revelation about the power of the human voice. She began training her own incredible voice at the Brit School, which also includes Kate Nash and Amy Winehouse as proud alumni.
Adele got her break through a MySpace page set up for her music by a friend, but success didn’t happen immediately. In fact, it took over a year for her to start getting some attention. Then, she was contacted by XL. At first she thought the offer was bogus because Virgin Records was the only music company she knew of. Still thinking it might all be a scam, she took a friend with her to the meeting. Needless to say, the meeting was on the level. In 2007 “Hometown Glory” was released and Adele was off and running.
Adele’s second single, “Chasing Pavements,” was released on January 14, 2008, two weeks before her debut album 19 (which gets its name from her age when she recorded it). It was a huge hit in the UK, but her attempt to break into the U.S. market seemed a complete failure. However, things turned around dramatically after she appeared on Saturday Night Live on October 18, 2008, the same night vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was scheduled to appear. SNL drew its highest rating since 1994 with 17 million viewers. Adele performed “Chasing Pavements” and “Cold Shoulder,” and 19 rocketed up the charts the very next day. The album continued to sell and Adele garnered critical success as well, winning Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards in 2009.
Her second album, 21, again named for her age, was a hit from the beginning. This was a somewhat different sound for Adele. Song lyrics and music have been described as both roots music and country, which she heard for the first time when she toured the South. Her single “Rolling In The Deep” went to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there. The album has gone Platinum in many countries, and Adele is the first living artist since the Beatles to have two Top Five hits on the Singles Chart and Album Chart. Among dozens of other awards and groundbreaking industry honors for a female artist, the album and Adele racked up six nominations for the Grammy Awards in 2012. The only blot on this landscape of success was Adele having to undergo surgery on her vocal cords to remove a polyp. The good news is the surgery went well and Adele and her amazing voice should be cranking out great music for many years to come.