Interview: Adele - Singer and Songwriter

Part of: Conversations with the 2009 Grammy Nominees

Although "soul music" originated in the United States, over the past decade, the genre has failed to make much headway in mainstream radio outlets. How ironic, then, that one of America's greatest previous exports is now being imported by a small cadre of young British chanteuses. Of these women, Adele is the most promising.

The British press has hailed Adele as the "new Amy Winehouse." And while remarkably flattering, such an edict can be distracting, because Adele's music stands well on its own. As a matter of fact, the proof is in the pudding: her debut album, 19, opened at the top of the UK Albums Chart — attaining platinum sales status — and she became the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice honor.

As part of an international surge reminiscent of previous British invasions, Adele made her American debut on June 10, 2008. Upon review of 19, Adele managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview reflecting on life, Etta James and "heartbroken soul."

Perez Hilton and Kanye West have been very vocal in their love of your music. Is there a particular endorsement that surprised you?

Kanye West was huge for me. I adore him. I think it was in an interview in the UK when I found out, right at the height of the album coming out in England. This guy just told me. I didn't believe him. I thought he was trying to get me all excited by it and then turn around and go "No, I'm only joking. He doesn't really." But Kanye West is like an absolute superstar, and it doesn't serve him at all by picking me out as a random white girl from England. So yeah, that was amazing. And Beyoncé, as well, because I've been a fan of hers since I was 11. It's amazing when anyone goes out of their way to support you when they get nothing out of it. It's always unexpected when people do that. 

In December 2007, you were announced to become the first recipient of the Critics' Choice prize, a BRIT Award given to promising, up-and-coming talent. How does it feel to be the cover girl for that?

When I found out I won it, I was confused because I didn't know about the new BRIT Award. I'm always up-to-date on the awards and I had no idea about it. At that time, I hadn't done anything. I hadn't even released my first single. I felt a little bit cheated winning an award before anything - winning an award on expectation rather than having a great year and then being awarded for having such a good year. But when the album came out, I didn't think it'd go to #1. And when it got to #1, by the time I was picking up the award and had such an amazing four months - it felt all right to win it. It felt good and I was a little less embarrassed.

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Article Author: Clayton Perry

Over the past few years, Clayton Perry has interviewed some of the BIGGEST entertainers in music, film and television. Check out his digital archive with 140+ definitive conversation pieces.

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  • 19 19

    US only 2 CD edition includes a bonus disc with five live tracks,Right as Rain [Live], Melt My Heart to Stone [Live], My Same [Live], That's It, I Quit, I'm Moving On [Live] and Chasing Pavements [Live] . ...

Article comments

  • 1 - dug

    Oct 26, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Dear Adel, I am a science teacher at a facility for young women with eating disorders. Thank you for your confidence in yourself just the way you are. You don't seem to have any of the concerns about being skinny, a notion which bombards the youth of today. Thank you for being such a fine role model in this regard; the impact of your personality is incalculable. I admire and support you in all of your future endeavors.
    Thank you.

  • 2 - orignal fishcake

    Feb 09, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    shes amazing i absolutely love her . JEr abluim 19 is bloddy brilliant, she too harsh on hersekf about her album. I no it aint her full potential but it better than most people album now wa days. But like dug i also love how she manages 2 accept being plus size. She isnt bothered. she a true inspiration. She knows shes isnt perfect and dat y shes greats. REALLY HUMBLE & TALENTED

  • 3 - of god hand

    Mar 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    track some one like you cool god bless

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