Personalities | Adele | Musical Influences
Adele was just three years old when she attended her first live gig with her mother: a Cure concert in London’s Finsbury Park. It was the same year her father, a Welsh plumber, left her mother, practically severing all ties with his daughter in the process. After that first gig, the tot took to the music straight away and it was an obsession that stuck.
‘I’ve got no problem explaining what my lyrics are about. I really like poetry – I’m not very good at reading it, but I love writing it. Singers like Jill Scott and Karen Dalton are amazing, proper poets.’
As a young girl, Adele was all about pop. Her all-time favourite band were the all-dancing, all-singing, mega ‘girl-power’ group, The Spice Girls. From the age of seven, she was a die-hard fan. She told Now magazine in 2011 that, even though being a Spice fan might be seen as somewhat ‘uncool’ today, she would never feel ashamed to admit loving them. Indeed, she went so far as to say, ‘They made me who I am.’ She even attended their comeback gig in 2007 and had a ball – ‘Seeing them was just like being a little kid again.’ The experience may even have brought back fond family memories (Adele has said she used to love impersonating The Spice Girls for the entertainment of her mother’s friends at dinner parties). As a youngster she was also a big fan of boy bands – Take That, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were favourites. Britney Spears was another idol. Today, Spears is one of many artists to have professed their love of Adele. ‘Her voice is just amazing. She has this soulful sound that rings with you and stays with you.’
When she was 11, Adele and her mother moved from North to South London, setting up home first in Brixton, then neighbouring West Norwood. With the move came a shift in the music she listened to. Now it was all about the new-style R&B popular at the time. Favourite acts as a pre- and young teen included Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, LL Cool J and ‘Puff Daddy or P. Diddy, or whatever it is he calls himself.’ Indeed, Adele describes Lauryn Hill’s album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys’ Songs In A Minor as ‘life-defining’.
The music-loving teen began attending gigs and, music-wise, seeing global phenomenon Pink perform at her local Brixton Academy was a big deal. ‘It was the Missundaztood record, so I was about 13 or 14,’ recalls the star. ‘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 incredible.’
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