Sometimes, like when you’re Adele Laurie Adkins of Tottenham, North London, 19 plus 21 equals eight.
Eight — for the number of Grammy awards the 23-year-old contralto has already won. Two for her debut album, 19, named for her age at the time she started recording it, and six more for her second album, 21.
Born May 5, 1988, Adele has been on fire this winter, despite stormy weather late last year. A scary vocal cord hemorrhage that led to surgery forced her to take more than three months off to recover, but her performance during the Grammy Awards last weekend showed the world that she and her soulful, world-weary yet life-affirming voice are back.
Just two weeks ago, her single, Set Fire to the Rain (one of my favorite running songs!), became the third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 from her album, 21, making her the first artist in history to have an album hold the number one spot on the Billboard 200 concurrently with three separate singles at number one.
It’s amazing to me that someone so young can sing country-flavored music and bluesy tunes with so much soul. Even more amazing when you consider that she didn’t grow up listening to country music at all.
She was introduced to contemporary Nashville music in 2008 by her bus driver while on tour in the South. “It was really exciting for me because I never grew up around [that music],” she says.
Adele counts artists from many genres, including country, among her musical influences, also citing the Spice Girls, Pink, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child and Mary J. Blige.
About a live performance by Pink at Brixton Academy some years back, Adele says it was one of the most defining moments in her life. “It was the Missundaztood record,” she says, “so I was about 13 or 14. 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.”
I’m really looking forward to her next album. 24, perhaps?
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,