New York-based magazine, The Fader, profiles the Nigerian-born English singer-songwriter, Sade Adu. It’s a revealing about the star’s career, turbulence, musicality, and relationship with fame.
About her childhood:
“Helen Folosade Adu was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, 41 years ago and raised in Colchester, Essex, an unremarkable English backwater, after her mother separated from her NIgerian father when Sade was four. She grew up listening to soul legends—Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye—and wanted to be a drummer before becoming convinced that she’d be a writer. Instead she ended up in art school. “I wanted to do painting but I ended up in fashion ’cause I wanted to make a living out of it, to have a trade, which was very much how I was brought up. But I didn’t fit in, I wasn’t reverent about fashion, I didn’t love it at all.””
In the late ’80s, Sade fell in love with, and married, Spanish film director Carlos Pliego, relocating from London to Madrid as a consequence. But by the making of Love Deluxe, their always-turbulent relationship had finally broken apart for good. “It was a very sad situation,” she sighs. “I had to leave… very quickly… with a very small bag. It took five years for it not to be something that affected the way I felt. It wasn’t like I was crawling out of bed every day or anything like that, but it would have really undermined love for me to get over it quickly. If you really love someone that’s the way it is.” Back in Britain, her new house in North London began to subside, forcing her to move out while it was propped up and put back together in 18 months. Literally as well as metaphorically, it felt as though her life was falling apart. There were times when she wondered if she would ever make another record. “If there’s something big going on in my life I can’t switch it off in the middle and go make a record,” she says empathically. “Luckily, because I am in the position that I don’t have to work, I can put the people in my life as a priority. A relative of mine got very sick and I was there looking after her with my mum. I couldn’t walk away. You can talk about stuff and sing about stuff but if you don’t live it in the end then it’s all fake.”
And her relationship with fame:
“The result is that Sade now seems like an artist from a different era. It’s not that her music is out of date. But what separates her from most famous names is her attitude toward fame itself.”
“Before she made Lovers Rock, Sade had to think through the whole tricky business of fame, with its Faustian pay-off between success and lack of privacy. She thought of her daughter and her friends and her family, the people whom she treasures more in life than any professions, and what might be at stake in returning to the spotlight. Whether she might lose more than she gained in doing so. With the rest of her band on the phone wanting to get back to work and Epic hungry for another album she still hesitated.”
Read the complete article HERE.