There are different quotes on music; Irish Singer, Bono said “Music can change the world and people”, “Music is the universal language of mankind” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Sarah Desson “Music is the great uniter, An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”
There are singers whose voices can move a listening ear and they (listeners) are appreciative to them. In the past, there were female singers or musicians whose music was not only eye opening, but they were easy to listen to and hard to forget. Despite the new wave of female musical artistes such as Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Tiwa Savage, Simi, etc. bringing in their own style of music and making millions of records, there is only one singer who comes to mind and that singer is Sade Adu.
According to her Wikipedia page, she was born Helen Folashade Adu, on the 15th of January, 1959 in Ibadan, present day Oyo State to a Nigerian father and an English mother. By the age of four, she moved to England with her mother and her older brother. The singer studied at the Saint Martin School of Arts and was involved in fashion designing and modelling before venturing into music by joining a band named Pride. Thereafter, she formed a band named after her “Sade” and signed a record deal with Epic Records in 1983 and a year later released their first album Diamond Life which became one of the best-selling albums in the 80’s and the best-selling debut for a female vocalist. That album contained hit singles including “Your Love is King” and “Smooth Operator” which topped the charts in Europe, UK and the US. In the years that followed, she has released albums that have been successful such as Promise (1985), which was the band’s first album to reach the number one position on the Billboard 200 Album chart in the US, Lovers Rock (2000), Lovers Live (2002) a live album, Soldier of Love (2010), etc. The songs from each of the albums have earned her a number of awards, including the Grammys and the BRIT Awards. The aforementioned albums also include well known songs such as, “Sweetest Taboo” (1985), “Paradise” (1988), “Be by Your Side” (2000) and “Soldier of Love” (2010).
Throughout the time they were breaking up and reuniting, she and the band contributed songs to two movies such as The Big Unknown from Steve McQueen’s Widows and Flower of the Universe from Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time directed by Ava Duvernay. Both were released in 2018. That same year, a news source reported that she and her longtime collaborator, Stuart Matthewman were working on a new album.
Despite the fact that she was raised in the UK, she is regarded as the first Nigerian artiste to have won a Grammy before artistes from other country’s followed that path.
Her music has been described as incorporating elements of soul, smooth jazz, pop and a quiet storm (a musical term coined by Smokey Robinson from his 1975 album A Quiet Storm) and she has been a huge influence on artiste from different genres of music (HipHop and R`n`B) including Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, Rick Ross, Drake and so on. She is among the best black female vocalists that were hugely popular from the 1980’s such as Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Jody Watley and many more. Apart from her musical awards and her platinum selling records, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002 and later promoted to a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017 for her contribution to music. Finally, as she turns 63, Her music remains relevant among the older and younger generations and is still played in every radio and television around the world. She rarely grants interviews and she lives in a countryside cottage in Gloucestershire and has a child from her earlier marriage.
Happy Birthday to the sweetest voice.