Although "soul music" originated in the United States, over the past decade, the genre has failed to make much headway in mainstream radio outlets. How ironic, then, that one of America's greatest previous exports is now being imported by a small cadre of young British chanteuses. Of these women, Adele is the most promising.
The British press has hailed Adele as the "new Amy Winehouse." And while remarkably flattering, such an edict can be distracting, because Adele's music stands well on its own. As a matter of fact, the proof is in the pudding: her debut album, 19, opened at the top of the UK Albums Chart — attaining platinum sales status — and she became the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice honor.
As part of an international surge reminiscent of previous British invasions, Adele made her American debut on June 10, 2008. Upon review of 19, Adele managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview reflecting on life, Etta James and "heartbroken soul."
Perez Hilton and Kanye West have been very vocal in their love of your music. Is there a particular endorsement that surprised you?
Kanye West was huge for me. I adore him. I think it was in an interview in the UK when I found out, right at the height of the album coming out in England. This guy just told me. I didn't believe him. I thought he was trying to get me all excited by it and then turn around and go "No, I'm only joking. He doesn't really." But Kanye West is like an absolute superstar, and it doesn't serve him at all by picking me out as a random white girl from England. So yeah, that was amazing. And Beyoncé, as well, because I've been a fan of hers since I was 11. It's amazing when anyone goes out of their way to support you when they get nothing out of it. It's always unexpected when people do that.
In December 2007, you were announced to become the first recipient of the Critics' Choice prize, a BRIT Award given to promising, up-and-coming talent. How does it feel to be the cover girl for that?
When I found out I won it, I was confused because I didn't know about the new BRIT Award. I'm always up-to-date on the awards and I had no idea about it. At that time, I hadn't done anything. I hadn't even released my first single. I felt a little bit cheated winning an award before anything - winning an award on expectation rather than having a great year and then being awarded for having such a good year. But when the album came out, I didn't think it'd go to #1. And when it got to #1, by the time I was picking up the award and had such an amazing four months - it felt all right to win it. It felt good and I was a little less embarrassed.