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Kym Brown MUS 110.4230 November 27, 2013 G. Schwanda

Adele

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born on May 5, 1988 in Tottenham, North London, England to Mark and Penny Adkins. Penny and Mark were young, in their early 20's, and by the time Adele turned two, Mark had walked out leaving Penny to raise Adele on her own. Penny always filled their small apartment with music exposing Adele to a variety of music from a young age. Adele starting singing when she was just four. Adele always gravitated towards the love songs about horrible relationships. The first song that made her cry was “Troy� by Sinead O'Conner. This says a lot about her because Adele always tended to fall head over heels in her relationships when she was older and then the break up was that much harder. Her songs were definitely derived from her emotions and her relationships. Adele wrote her songs when her emotions were high and her best songs came out when she did. Adele went to school in Tottenham where the teachers were negative and didn't believe that success was realistic. She was one of the only white students in a black school and because she was a bigger girl was picked on often. When Adele was nine, her and her mother moved to Brixton which was only a small step up from Tottenham. Since Adele didn't like school it wasn't any better for her there. During these years in school, Adele would sing daily and was beginning to gain interest in the guitar, the clarinet, and bass. Other girls at school that were interested in singing would get together and sing with her. When Adele was eleven her mother had remarried and they were off again to a new home and


new town. This time they had moved up a little more. They were now in West Norwood, the south of London. Although Adele's mother and new husband were still struggling with employment and finances, Penny managed to put Adele in music lessons. Adele stayed in music class and while in secondary school, her and her friends would listening to and sing pop music like Destiny's Child and P. Diddy. Her mother still made sure she got her dose of jazz and blues though. While at home, Adele listened to her favorites: Celine Dion and the Spice Girls. While visiting a local record shop, Adele wandered to the basement section where she spotted Etta James. She bought the album based on the cover. Etta James' eyes and hair caught her attention and Adele bought it with no intention of listening to it. When she finally listened to the album, she knew that this was who she wanted to be and how she wanted to sing. Adele hated school so much and was really into music by the time she reached high school that she enrolled in The BRIT school, a Performing Arts and Technology school. It was still school though and some days Adele would put in more effort than other days. Being able to do what she loved to do among others with the same passion gave her a little more confidence and motivation. After watching a Marvin Gaye documentary, Adele was inspired to write her own music. This also made her consider working to find and help develop talent rather than becoming a singer herself. In 2005, when the time came to make a decision about which college to attend, Adele and her mother got into an argument. It was such a huge argument that Adele sat down and wrote “Hometown Glory” in ten minutes. This was the beginning of her emotional song writing. Shortly after in 2006, Adele had fallen in love, but there were some struggles in the relationship. One was that her boyfriend was bi-sexual. She wrote the song “Daydreamer” about this relationship. Another song written in this same time period was “My Same”. Again in regards to love and what she lost. Adele had three songs written now and a friend of hers decided to post them on MySpace. Adele didn't think anything of the post. She knew she would always be in music. Maybe as a


receptionist or doing something behind the scenes. Shortly after Adele was viewed on MySpace, she was getting gigs in London clubs. They weren't big gigs and at times she would drink the night away. She also would sing in the middle of rappers and raging punks for as little as 10 club-goers, but it was a start to her fame. She started getting offers from record labels shortly before her 18th birthday, but she was leery because she had never heard of the labels. He mother insisted that she meet with XL Recordings. After Adele found out that this was the recording label for the White Stripes and Radiohead, she agreed to meet with them. After meeting with the label and finding out more about each other, a deal was struck. XL wanted someone creative and Adele wanted to be herself. In 2007, Adele was invited to the show Later...with Jools Holland, a show that Adele grew up watching. She was to be on the show with Paul McCartney and Bjork. She performed on the show and the exposure made her a hit! Now a record was to be made. In October, Pacemaker released Adele's first album featuring “Hometown Glory” and “Best For Last”. On December 10, 2007, Adele became the best emerging British talent that had not yet released a debut album for the BRIT Critics Choice Awards. Adele had recently broken up with her mystery beau and was now having writer's block and could not write a song. XL was pressuring her for a new song, but she could not produce. Finally after looking back onto a past relationship, Adele was able to write about a boy and how awful their relationship was. She locked herself in her house, drank a lot and wrote in her so called “drunk diary”. Adele presented these songs to XL and they were thrilled to have something to work with. These songs were compiled into her first album “19”. This record to Adele is a “breakup” record. While Adele was successful in London, America was harder to impress. “Chasing Pavements” was said to be a song about chasing gays so some radio stations refused to play it. By the time Adele had a chance to clarify the meaning of the song, it was too late. The song only made it to No. 21 on the Billboard charts.


Adele toured different countries and had many press interviews. She was a star and not yet 20. Finally Columbia in the United States struck a deal with XL to bring Adele to the US. On May 21, 2008, The Evening With Adele tour began in Los Angeles at Roxy Theatre. This prompted other appearances in Canada and more US venues. During this time, Adele made it known that she was seeing a new man. This one much older and more experienced. Adele continues touring the United States and also continues to drink. So much that she would mess up her lyrics and say things that had audiences laughing so hard she had to start over at times. Adele started slacking and canceling tours. Fans were becoming suspicious and Adele wasn't leaving any explanations. She moved out apart out her mom's house to try and gain independence, but found that she missed her mom too much and moved back in. All this moving started rumors in the press that she was trying to quit drinking or that she was having family issues. The Evening With Adele tour continues to raise sales though. Adele had also helped out with many songs for other artists. One song was “Water and a Flame” with Daniel Merriweather on the album Love & War and another one was “Every Glance” on the album Everything Is New. Adele was so easy to get along with. She would sit in the audience at times as “just a fan” and also make tea for other band members She was a down to earth girl who never wanted to be famous, but was happy to have the success. In 2008, Adele was nominated for four Grammys: Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (Shapira). She also received Best British Female and Best British Breakthrough Act from the BRIT Awards (Shapira). The Grammys she won were Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Performance. Adele's career was beginning to affect her home life. She was missing important family events and she was forgetting about her friends. She felt she didn't have time for anything and she was always writing. She had also become bored with her boyfriend and decided it was best to break up. Adele was upset with herself for not making the relationship work and some of her songs on her next album 21


would be about this relationship. Adele states that this man was the love of her life and that she would not have become who she was without him. She did not handle this break up well. Adele locked herself in her house and drank profusely. Once again reports of Adele dating someone were surfacing. Adele always seemed to need to have someone by her side. Through this relationship and yet another relationship ordeal, she was able to put together songs and lyrics for another album by early 2010. The album was soon to be 21. One time on the bus for the 19 tour, Adele was up front smoking and talking to the bus driver. The bus driver was listening to country music and Adele liked it, but didn't know what it was. The driver was happy to share all his knowledge on Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash with Adele. Adele was ecstatic to learn about these singers and to see the ease in the storytelling done through country singing. Through country inspiration “Set Fire To The Rain” was born. This was one of many songs that made it on the 21 album. Undergoing another breakup, 21 was the reproduction of another heartbreak and battles with her ex. “Turning Tables” was another song that resulted from her recent breakup. It consists of beautiful piano music that matches Adele's beautiful voice. The guitar also always has to make an appearance and it definitely completes the song. “One and Only” and “Rumor Has It” was shortly added to the album. Both were recorded easily and quickly. Adele was not one to have to rerecord often. “Rumor Has It” was a dedication to her friends that prefer to believe every rumor they heard about her. After the release of 21, Adele went home to be with her mother. This was where she was most comfortable and at ease. She continues to listen to country music as well. Adele's variety of music made her music something that “both Patti Smith and Linkin Park could relate to”. (Shapira) “Rolling In The Deep” made it to No.2 on the UK singles charts for ten weeks, but in the US it finally made it to No.1. Adele was performing non-stop until a promotional tour in Paris when her voice faded and


finally went out to only a whisper. Adele always gave 100% when she sang, even during sound check, and it finally took a toll on her voice. Adele was burning herself out. She was performing too much and sleeping too little. Adele went to see her doctor the next day who diagnosed her with acute laryngitis. Adele's voice returned after a couple of weeks and she started singing again. Even though her voice was back, Adele needed to limit her singing and stay away from smaller events. Adele didn't like it and continued to do promotional events for the United States since it was so hard for her to get the recognition there in the first place. She then appeared on four American talk shows in one month and then returned home to perform live at the BRIT Awards. In January 2011, 21 made it the No. 1 on the UK album awards which in turn brought 19 up to No.4. Following that, “Someone Like You” went from No. 47 to No. 1 on the single charts and “Rolling In The Deep” became No. 4. Adele was “the first performer since The Beatles in 1964, to have two albums and two singles in the Top 5 simultaneously”. (Shapira) This rewarded her with a spot in The Guinness Book of World Records. Another world record came only a short while later when 19 became No. 2 on the charts for 102 weeks, “becoming the first artist since The Corrs in 1999 to hold the top two album slots”. (Shapira) Adele continued to tour. 31 days in Europe, 20 in North America. Then she went to Norway, Sweden, and Germany. Shortly after, she went to Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Everyone was ecstatic with Adele's live performance. Adele was having the time of her life singing and partying. Then she went back to the UK for O2 Academy in Leeds. This was Adele's homecoming. This was her audience and she was thrilled to be back. Adele gave it her all as she played night after night in other cities in England including the capital, London. After the tour, Adele partied every night and this led to the conclusion that Adele had yet again suffered another breakup. Many thought that this would be the beginning of a third album. Instead, Adele decided to tour America again. She began in May 2012. 14 days into the tour, Adele's voice failed her again. She had a severe case of laryngitis. Performances were canceled and promised to


resume June 22 according to the doctor. Against doctor's wishes, two days later, Adele performed in Denver. It was not her best and she knew it. She tried to continue the tour, but had to cancel. After visiting the doctor back in London, it was found that Adele had not laryngitis, but a “burst blood vessel on her vocal cords”. (Shapira) Adele rested her voice for a few weeks and by July 7, Adele sang at the iTunes Festival in London. She sang her heart out and the audience appreciated it. Adele returned to the U.S. in August, but by end of August, Adele was getting chest infections and colds. She had to miss the Mercury Prize awards in the UK. She thought she was alright to perform for a friend's wedding, but disaster struck. She had to return to the doctor who stated there was hemorrhaging. She quit smoking and went to a Voice Center in Boston to have a procedure done. November 2, 2011 the surgery was done and according to doctors, was a success. Adele was not to speak for 6 weeks after the surgery. She was also to stay away from junk food and sweets as that may hurt her voice. She lost more than 25 lbs throughout this time. Adele started singing the week before Christmas at a mid-level effort. She was also doing exercises for her voice to bring it back up to normal. The Grammys were coming up and Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album were categories in which 21 was nominated. “Rolling In The Deep” was also nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Video along with “Someone Like You' for Best Pop Solo Performance. Yet another love for Adele in late 2011. This one was proven by sightings of Adele arm and arm with a new man. The man, unlike others, was finally revealed. Simon Konecki, a 37-year-old man, was Adele's new beau. They were soon said to be engaged and this man would be with her at the 2012 Grammy Awards. The Grammy producers had called and asked Adele to perform at the awards and after much thought, Adele decided to sing. Less than a week before the awards, Anderson Cooper had Adele on 60 Minutes. At the end of the show, he asked her to sing. After five months without singing, Adele sang. It was perfect. She knew she could now sing without fear at the Grammys.


It was Grammy night. When it was time for her to take the stage, she was nervous, but when she came out to thunderous applause she knew she could do it. Adele sang without error and rather than going backstage to change after her performance, Adele continued to go back up stage to accept award after award. She received 6 Grammys that night. One being Best Album Of The Year. The one person she thanked the most was her mother for all her support. After the Grammys, Adele took a break and bought a home in West Sussex, closer to Simon. She soon found out that the place was haunted so she hired full-time security. She soon left the house to purchase a home in Brighton even closer to Simon for $5 million. Her hopes were to get married and have kids. Adele's success continued and she received more awards and high placement on the Billboards. Her label also benefited from her success, earning its own awards. Her and her label still have much success in the future. As a young child, I was always listening to music in the car or in the house. My mom always had it on, even at the beach. She would make up lyrics if she didn't know them or sing them in a funny way. Some songs I will never forget, although I may not sing them the right way. I only know them the way she sang them. She would also explain what certain songs were about. This made me want to learn more about music, artists, songs, and their meanings. When deciding what to listening to, we are often influenced by our family and friends. Until someone introduces us to a different genre, we may never experience it. Pandora is an influential tool. You may have plugged in something you know and want to hear, but the genre will pick up another artist that you may have never heard of. I have learned of new artists and songs a lot this way. I really enjoy having this program available because I like to hear new songs and artists, but sometimes don't know where to look. etc.,

and I found that I really did enjoy listening to that kind of music, but at the time didn't realize


it. Now I listen to almost anything. I don't like really hard rock or really slow music, but anything in between I enjoy. I enjoy certain aspects of a song from the lyrics to the beat. Some songs make me feel happy and some sad. Depending on what is going on in my life and my mood, music makes a huge impact on my feelings. My grandparents didn't listen to much music when we were around, but we would sing hymns around the piano or a Capella. I also just realized this past year that the song my grandpa would always sing with his dog, Brandy, was by Cat Stevens. The song was “Morning Has Broken”. I never actually heard the song other than when my grandpa sang it until my boyfriend played it on YouTube one day. He is a HUGE Cat Stevens fan. I have started to listen to more music that he likes and I am starting to like it as well. He likes classic rock and older music that he grew up listening to. I especially like it when he gets the guitar out and plays. I like to join him on the keyboard when I have the right sheet music. I play by reading sheet music while he plays by ear. I am so jealous of the fact that he and my son can do that. It is an amazing gift to be able to play an instrument just by listening to the music. My family is from the Netherlands and music in the Netherlands is called “Levenslied”. This is sentimental music about love, loss or peace. It's a lot like country music. The accordion and the organ were the main instruments used in Dutch music. The Dutch also listen to folk music and the longstanding tradition of dancing in your clogs is still around today. Jazz, rock and pop, are popular in the Netherlands today but did not come about until the 1900s. In the next 5-25 years, I see myself going back in time. I imagine I will begin listening to older and older music as I age. I like today's music, but I really enjoy listening to music I grew up with as well as classics. I notice as people grow older this tends to happen more often. I was born in 1982, the Sony Walkman was invented in the late 1970s. It was still popular as well as the boombox that came along in the 80's. People would walk around with the boombox on their shoulder. Then there was the cassette players. Those became so popular that they started putting them


in cars in the 70s. Then CDs came out in 1982. Now we have all these iPods, MP3 players and other listening that make it easy to listen to music anywhere. From the looks and sounds of it, we may be listening to music on our heads through some invisible device. I imagine it will be something you can place in your ear or have implanted in your head. Already invented are glasses that you watch TV on. I imagine that the music will follow with something similar. All in all, I am glad that we have music. There is something for every mood and it really can be a soothing remedy. I don’t know what I would do without music.


WORKS CITED

Shapiro, Marc. Adele: The Biography. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2012. Print.


Adele Musical heritage paper