13 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Adele was just 19 when she wrote most of her debut album, a coming-of-age document that doubles as a showcase for a pop soul superstar in the making. The first thing you notice is that voice: husky, expressive, masterfully controlled yet still approachable—a true original. The spare arrangements on "Daydreamer" and the stately, piano-driven "Make You Feel My Love" put her lush alto front and center; on "Right as Rain" and "Chasing Pavements" she takes up the mantle of classic soul, while the more modern "Tired" underscores the timeless nature of her talent.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Adele was just 19 when she wrote most of her debut album, a coming-of-age document that doubles as a showcase for a pop soul superstar in the making. The first thing you notice is that voice: husky, expressive, masterfully controlled yet still approachable—a true original. The spare arrangements on "Daydreamer" and the stately, piano-driven "Make You Feel My Love" put her lush alto front and center; on "Right as Rain" and "Chasing Pavements" she takes up the mantle of classic soul, while the more modern "Tired" underscores the timeless nature of her talent.

TITLE TIME
13

About Adele

Dozens of British artists share Adele’s origins—BRIT School, MySpace, pop stardom—but it takes rare talent to have your voice declared timeless in your career’s first flush. Adele honed hers as a kid in her North London bedroom, imitating Etta James every night for an hour. But as soon as she made her televised debut in 2007 (on Later...With Jools Holland), all potential comparisons evaporated: This girl with the whopping hoop earrings and a pub landlady’s brashness had something unique. Heartbreak, indignation, and regret all found a natural home in her regal mezzo-soprano, the instrument that powered her 2008 debut album, 19, and took influence from the American South on 2011’s 21. Both of these albums broke records for breaking records, and made a subsequent operation on Adele’s vocal cords a matter of global import. She recovered immaculately—for proof, watch her comeback performance of “Rolling in the Deep” at the 2012 Grammys—and it took just one word to reintroduce her in 2015. “Hello,” she sang during an X Factor ad break, unveiling her world-conquering single and third album, 25, in the process. Like its predecessors, 25 upended 21st-century metrics and made Adele the first artist to earn the top-selling album of a calendar year three times. She’s now a mother and wife, and the agony of twenty-something heartbreak is well behind her. But if any voice were ever capable of carrying its owner into maturity, it’s hers.

HOMETOWN
Tottenham, London, England
GENRE
Pop
BORN
05 May 1988

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