Friday, April 15, 2011

SOMEONE LIKE HER: An interview with ADELE

Experiencing the type of fame that comes only a few times a generation, Adele is a genuine, multi-million-selling diva in her native UK who has set several new chart records in recent weeks. Why it is has been a topic of some discussion, ANDY HAZEL looks for clues in a 2009 interview he did with her for Frankie Magazine.

It was meant to be a normal interview, but Adele is a hard one to track down. Three cancellations, a postponement and several phone cards later, her warm and broad South London accent crackles from her mobile as she relaxes between shows on her tour bus.

Still reveling in the first flush of fame, Chasing Pavements has recently hit it's 100 millionth YouTube view, her album 19 has just cracked the Top 10 and Adele is finding herself thrust from an anonymous yet promising BRIT School graduate living with her mum to internationally famous, tabloid-analysed, award winning BRIT School graduate living with her mum.

"I moved out for a bit," she says warmly, "but I moved back in 'cause I missed her," she laughs. "She comes to a lot of the gigs and the TV shows - but not the early morning ones. She doesn't travel with me anymore, she just checks up on me. She can tell if something isn't right or if I'm upset. I call and text her everyday if I don't see her." Adele agrees that this might be why she's handling the pressures and strains of life so well. "To be honest I'm quite oblivious to it, I know things have changed a lot and that it's all happened so fast," she pauses for thought. "But I like it better this way; not thinking about it." Surely that must be pretty challenging, ignoring fame while all around you life changed. "Well," she thinks carefully. "I never wanted to be famous. I only decided I that I wanted to do this when I was offered the record deal over lunch. I was there with my manager and my mum, we got taken out to lunch by this guy from XL and he just kind of popped the question. We looked at each other and I said, 'yeah, OK then'. It was really that simple."

This kind of poise and relaxation is hard to come by, and indicative of the way that Adele has courted fame, without any scandals, celebrity boyfriends or anything to distract from the music at all (despite some tabloid obsession with her physique). At the core of all of this attention and fame though, is her voice. "I always loved to sing," she says happily. "I have done since I knew you could make noise. With the kind of artists I grew up listening to it was never about having a talent, it was about looking pretty and having a gimmick; that's all they knew 'cause that was all I saw on TV y'know. So, it seemed impossible for me to consider it as something I could do for a living, it wasn't something I ever even thought about growing up."

A key aspect of Adele's rise to prominence is her graduating of the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technologies, a school dedicated to training adolescents who want to make a career in the performing arts. Through focusing on dance, musical theatre, drama and technical theatre, graduates have collectively amassed dozens of awards and tens of millions of album sales which isn't bad for a school with less than 900 students that only began in 1991.

"I didn't know about The BRIT School before I went there," she says keenly. "I was just really bored at my secondary school. The BRIT School was free, it wasn't full of kids pushed by their parents like I thought it might be, there were kids who were there on a Saturday morning working because they loved it. I would literally jump out of bed in the morning knowing I was going there; I'd never felt like that before. I think it was well overdue when a lot of us [seven] all got big about the same time. There was me The Feeling, The Kooks, Leona Lewis, Katie Nash, Katie Melua and Amy Winehouse - all of us Brit School graduates, all of us debut albums at number 1," she laughs. "But, y'know. It's not like we planned it!"


  1. I love Adele . I think she is really talented and has an amazing voice. Totally laid back and thats really cool :)

  2. I really love how you capture the personalities of your interviewees. You effortlessly spin scenes of sound and light, and it makes the reader feel like part of it all. You are very talented.