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Lady Day to Lady Tee: The Leading Ladies of Blue-Eyed Soul - Page 7


As Winehouse descended into a hot mess, an equally-talented, less-troubled star was on the rise. In late 2007 Adele was hailed as “the next Amy Winehouse” for her technically flawless vocals, which are undeniably reminiscent of Etta James. Born in 1988, in North London, she started singing at age four and says her musical influences range from Jill Scott to the Spice Girls.

In 2006 she graduated with pop singer Leona Lewis from the BRIT School. Soon afterward buzz on Myspace and BBC Radio’s rotation of “Daydreamer,” a folksy, humbly-arranged song accompanied only by acoustic guitar, quickly led to a record deal.

The album “19,” titled after Adele’s age at the time of its 2008 release, was a critical and commercial success. Varied in its sound, “19” includes pop songs like the first single, “Chasing Pavement” and power ballads like “Hometown Glory,” a homage to London and the first song she penned at 16. In 2009 she won Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Adele’s sophomore album, “21,” varies noticeably from her first. “19” is unembellished and includes very little production, whereas “21” feels more processed. Still, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, thanks to the lead single, “Rolling In The Deep,” which has a gospel, southern-sound.

Whereas tracks like “Don’t You Remember” have a country music-feel. In an interview with Spin Magazine Adele explains that she was influenced by the country music played by her bus driver while touring through the Southern states: “It was really exciting for me because I never grew up around [that music].” Still young in age and her career, and richly talented, Adele remains grounded and open to new ideas as she continues to define her self-described “heartbroken soul” musical style.

Reminds you of: Etta James
Must listen to track: “Hometown Glory” from the album “19”

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