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COVER STORY

E

verything about Adele is big, from

that

voice to her popularity

– her carpool karaoke segment with friend and TV show host

James Corden has clocked up more than 136 million views,

making it the most watched YouTube video last year. She’s won 10 Grammy

Awards. Her single ‘Hello’ from her third and latest album

25

debuted at #1

in Australia, as it did in many countries around the world, but the response

to the video was nothing short of extraordinary with reports it was viewed

on YouTube more than a million times an hour for the first two days after

its release. Less than 90 days later it had reached one billion views. The song

was also the first in the US to sell more than a million downloads in a week.

The album, too, topped the charts. So no one was surprised when she sold

out two concerts at the Gabba in March within minutes of tickets going on

sale – all up, she has sold more than 400,000 tickets for the Australian leg

of her world tour.

It’s a long way from working class London where she used to sing at

her mother’s dinner parties when she was five and had sing-offs in the

schoolyard when she was 11. While Adele has her mother to thank for

introducing her to music, apparently smuggling her into concerts at age

three, taking her to iconic festival Glastonbury at eight, and switching her

on to the sounds of Mary J Blige, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and Aaliyah, it

was a visit to the jazz section of the local music store that got her thinking

really seriously about music.

At 14, Adele says, she discovered Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald and

started listening to Etta James every night for an hour while she tried to

find her own voice. In the end it was a singer friend of her mother’s who

told her she was really good and should pursue her singing. She moved

to the specialist BRIT school for performing arts (where her classmates

included Jessie J) and now says that she owes it to them for making her who

she is today. “It was really inspiring to wake up every day to go to school

with kids that actually wanted to be productive at something and wanted to

be somebody,” she told

Blues and Soul

magazine.

Not that Adele craves the spotlight. While she loves recording she has

been open about being nervous when she performs live and, while it’s never

happened, she has admitted she worries she might one night open her mouth

and no sound will come out.

It didn’t happen on stage but she did suffer a vocal cord haemorrhage

which cut short her promotional tour for her album

21

and for six weeks she

couldn’t say a word while she recuperated. Many critics have said her voice is

even better following the surgery, although Adele herself thought it had lost

some of its natural huskiness.

Adele credits her current partner, not-for-profit boss Simon Konecki,

for helping her get through it. They have been together for five years and

Konecki made a very public display of affection recently when he dropped in

on one of Adele’s shows with an anniversary surprise – a shower of hand-

written notes that replaced the usual cascade of confetti that ends the show.

Each note had a romantic message on it, which apparently Konecki wrote

himself, such as “I love you”, “You are an angel” and “Happy Anniversary”.

Adele went on to tell her stadium of fans that she wants to have another baby

– the couple has a four-year-old son Angelo who has been travelling with her

on the tour.

The star says becoming a parent has changed her. “Now that I’m a mum

I try and be proper and professional with all of my life, not just my career.

I want [Angelo] to know I really cared about how I was portrayed when he

came into my life and I wasn’t flippant with those things. I don’t want to be a

baby raising a baby,” she told NPR Music.

She’s the global superstar with the

blockbuster voice and she’s finally

making her first visit to Brisbane

A d e l e

H E L L O

Photography by Paul Morigi/Getty Images

BNE January/February 2017 |

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