Personalities | Adele | Rising Star

Following the release of ‘Hometown Glory’, anticipation for Adele’s first album began to mount seriously. A big moment for Adele was when the producers of BBC2’s Later… With Jools Holland got in touch after viewing her material on YouTube. They invited her to appear on the show, which she did in August 2007 – alongside former Beatle Paul McCartney and Björk, no less.

It must have been somewhat nerve-wracking for the young singer to perform her ballad ‘Daydreamer’, yet as noted by The Observer, her performance charmed the audience, the gig easily recognizable as a key point in her career. Her reputation continued to climb and, on 4 January 2008, it was announced that Adele had been tipped as the No. 1 predicted breakthrough act of the year by Sound of 2008, an annual BBC poll of 150 of the UK’s most influential music critics, reviewers and editors.

More Than A Voice

Adele’s a sensational singer, yet she is a talented songwriter too. Indeed, her desire to write was firmly cemented when Shingai Shoniwa of UK indie band The Noisettes moved in next door during her second year at The BRIT School. Adele could hear her through the walls – ‘I’d go round and we’d jam and stuff like that. Just hearing her and her music really made me want to be a writer and not just sing Destiny’s Child songs.’

For Adele, however, writing is difficult, if not inspired – ‘Something has to completely take over my life for me to write about it; it’s the only time I shut up.’ Most of the tracks on her first two albums were inspired by events and feelings brought about by failed romances. Some were written in the full-on heat of the moment – like ‘Chasing Pavements’, composed just a few hours after she learned her boyfriend of six months had cheated. He was out drinking when she found out. She went to the bar he was in, punched him in the face and was promptly thrown out. As she wandered the streets alone aimlessly, she began to wonder what she was doing and came to the conclusion she was ‘chasing an empty pavement’. By the time she got home, the lyrics and melody were recorded on her mobile phone, at which stage she sat down and arranged the chords.

Stage Fright

As her star continued to rise, Adele had to become used to playing for larger and larger audiences. She may appear confident now, yet the singer has revealed that to this day she suffers terribly with stage fright. ‘When I hear artists say, “Performing is what I’m meant to do,” I think Whaaat? This ain’t what you’re meant to do, it ain’t normal!’ She has spoken of feeling ‘scared’ of audiences and admits the fear has led to more than one embarrassing incident – ‘One show in Amsterdam I was so nervous, I escaped out the fire exit. Once in...

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Source: Adele: Songbird, by Alice Hudson


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