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Singer Adele is a Grammy Award-winning artist whose throwback, soulful sound has made her an international success.
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Adele was born in north London, England, on May 5, 1988. A huge fan of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald as a child, Adele was a music fiend beginning at the age of 3. She attended the BRIT School, a free school for the performing arts. Her first two albums, 19 and 21,
"I like having my hair and face done, but I'm not going to lose weight because someone tells me to. I make music to be a musician not to be on the cover of Playboy."
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born on May 5, 1988 in North London, England. She was the only child of Penny Adkins, an "arty mom" who was just 18 at the time of her birth, and a Welsh father, Mark, who left the family when Adele was only 4 years old.
Mark, who never married Penny, remained in contact with his daughter up until her teen years, when his problems with alcohol, and increasing estrangement from his daughter, caused their relationship to deteriorate. By contrast, Adele grew close to her mom, who encouraged her young daughter "to explore, and not to stick with one thing."
Early on, Adele developed a passion for music. She gravitated toward the songs of Lauryn Hill, Destiny's Child and Mary J. Blige. But her true, eye-opening moment came when she was 15, and she happened upon a collection of Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald records at a local junk shop. "There was no musical heritage in our family," Adele told The Telegraph in a 2008 interview. "Chart music was all I ever knew. So when I listened to the Ettas and the Ellas, it sounds so cheesy, but it was like an awakening. I was like, oh, right, some people have proper longevity and are legends. I was so inspired that as a 15-year-old I was listening to music that had been made in the 40s."
While clearly bright, Adele wasn't a match for regular classroom work. Instead, her mother enrolled her in the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology, which counts Amy Winehouse as an alum.
While at school, Adele cut a three-track demo for a class project, which was eventually posted on her MySpace page. When executives at XL Recordings heard the tracks, they contacted the singer and, in November 2006, just four months after Adele had graduated school, signed her to a record deal.
Adele's debut album, 19, which is named for the singer's age when she began recording it, hit record stores in early 2008. Led by two popular lead singles, "Hometown Glory" and "Chasing Pavements," the record rocketed Adele to fame.
Released in the United States through Columbia Records, 19 resonated with American audiences, much like it had with British music listeners. Adele cemented her commercial success with an appearance in October 2008 on Saturday Night Live. At the taping of the show, the album was ranked No. 40 on iTunes. Less than 24 hours later, it was No. 1.
At the 2009 Grammy awards, Adele took home Best New Artist. In addition, the album earned the singer the distinction of being named the "Sound of 2008" by the BBC. That same year, she earned the Critics' Choice prize at the BRIT Awards.
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