In 2008, UK singer Adele released her first record, named for her age at the time, 19. Funky keyboards, simple pop arrangements and a mix with vocals on top showcased this young artist’s incredible pipes and talent for writing songs about bad luck and love. The whole album was about her experience of being in a couple then being cheated on. But somehow the songs feel GOOD. 19 earned Adele a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2009. There strongest two tracks: “Cold Shoulder” and “Right as Rain”.
Adele grew up in London and was raised by her single mom. As a kid she would sing along to The Spice Girls and put on mini-concerts for her mother and friends. Later, a family friend who was also a dance producer heard Adele sing and was amazed by her voice. He asked her to record a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and Adele decided this was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She enrolled in The Brit School which is the same performance school that Amy Winehouse and Kate Nash went to. Earlier this year Adele released her second album, 21, carrying on the theme of naming her album after her age. This record was also really personal to Adele. A lot of the inspiration for the songs came from a painful break up with her boyfriend.
She’s very vocal about the fact that she’s uncomfortable about her weight and appearance and being a public figure. Even saying she’s “scared of audiences” but knows she’s “just gotta bear it.” The fact that she overcomes her shyness every time she steps onstage is impressive. She channels all her energy into her voice, the thing she’s most confident about. And so far this year she’s the strongest female vocalist with a solo release. The hit “Rolling in The Deep” is Adele at her best. The lyrics are really sad but the way she lets the song out — pulling back, then letting go — is not only exciting but honest and inspiring.
Michele Myers spins every Saturday on KEXP from 3-6pm. Every week she brings you a featured Saturday Afternoon Artist and plays several songs in-a-row from them. She also is the producer/creator of KEXP Documentaries.