By ANEESAH AKBAR
It’s early 2006, and 18-year-old Adele Adkins, a high school senior at BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, has just received a phone call from Richard Russell, head of XL Recordings. He had heard her three-song demo that she’d recorded for a school project on Myspace, and wanted her to come in to discuss the possibility of a future partnership. Adele, cautious but excited at the abruptness of the offer, agreed to the meeting. Never had she imagined that less than six months later, she would sign a record deal with the company. This is the beginning of Adele as we know her.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born on May 5, 1988 in Tottenham, London, to young parents Penny Adkins and Mark Evans. After Evans left the family when Adele was three, she developed a very strong relationship with her mother. So far, she has released three albums– 9, 21 and 25–named for her age when she began recording them, each receiving more fame than the one before. Despite being one of the world’s most successful musicians, Adele has shown that she is a normal person who faces the same struggles as we do.
Throughout her childhood, Adele always had a deep passion for singing and music, and was inspired by artists such as Destiny’s Child. At age 14, Adele auditioned and was accepted to BRIT School, where she was classmates with Leona Lewis and Jessie J. After signing with XL Recordings after graduation, she recorded her first album, which released in 2008 and rocketed her to fame in the UK.
Adele’s open personality is reflected in her music, most of which is inspired by or connected to her own personal life. For example, 21, which she has appropriately dubbed her “break-up album,” is based on a painful end to a long-term relationship. The album was so moving that it won six Grammy Awards in 2012. The lead single “Someone Like You” spoke to the hearts of fans everywhere and spurred Adele’s international popularity.
After 21’s tremendous success, Adele did something that few artists do. She took several years off from making music to focus on her personal life. During this time, Adele and her partner, Simon Konecki, became parents to their first child, a son named Angelo, on October 19, 2012. She said during an interview with PopSugar, “[Motherhood] is hard but it’s phenomenal. It’s the greatest thing I ever did…there’s nothing more grounding than a kid kicking off and refusing to do what you’re asking of them.”
After laying low for a while, Adele accomplished something incredible when she topped charts again upon the release of her first single in years, “Hello,” in October 2015. The hit song reached number one in 28 countries and broke several Vevo records. Soon after, she released her third album, 25, which she calls her “make-up album.” It broke the world record for the most album sales in a week after its release. Adele said, “25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realizing. I think the album is about trying to clear out the past.” Her massive comeback proved that people had not forgotten her and ensured that they won’t for a long time.
Tickets to Adele’s 2016 world tour of 25 went on sale on December 17 and were nearly immediately sold out. Some UHS students were among the lucky ones who scored tickets. Kate Brown (Jr.) said, “I waited one hour online for Adele tickets because she’s just that amazing. She’ll always be my number one.”
Despite her evident success, Adele, just like anyone else, is not perfect. She opened up about her fear of performing in large arenas, saying, “I have anxiety attacks, constant panicking on stage. My heart feels like it’s going to explode because I never feel like I’m going to deliver, ever,” according to MTV UK. She added that she would never perform at a festival because “the thought of an audience that big frightens the life out of [her].”
Adele has recently been named one of Google’s “Most Popular People of the Year,” a title she has worked hard for. Her distinctive deep and soulful voice and candid, true-to-life lyrics add to the intensely emotional quality of her music, and this honesty and rawness has helped set her apart in the music industry. Brown added, “There’s something about her that shows how down-to-earth she is and that she really knows what she’s doing.”
Adele’s confidence and commitment to her music is evident when she shoots down body shamers, saying, “My life is full of drama and I won’t have time to worry about something as petty as what I look like. I don’t like going to the gym.” She later added, “I don’t make music for eyes, I make music for ears,” according to the Huffington Post. Her refreshing self-satisfaction has helped her become a role model for many young women.
Adele’s rise from humble beginnings and her strong sense of identity serve as a reminder that you don’t need a million dollars to be successful; you just need hard work. As for what’s next, Adele says, “ I doubt I’ll be singing forever, because at some point, people aren’t going to want to hear my music, and I hope that I’ll still get the opportunity to write songs.”