Sade

  • British Nigerian singer songwriter born Helen Folasade Adu in 1959 in Ibadan Nigeria. While born in Nigeria, she grew up with her British mother in England after her parents separated when Helen was 4 years old. Friends called her Sade, a shortened form of her middle name. After high school, she studied fashion design, and briefly was a model. She began singing backup vocals for a band named Pride, and soon began co-writing songs with the band’s guitarist and sax player, Stuart Matthewman. The couple started doing their own sets at Pride shows, and in 1983 they split from the group, along with keyboardist Andrew Hale, bassist Paul Denman and drummer Paul Cook, forming the band Sade, named after its lead vocalist.
  • Sade Adu co-wrote a song titled Smooth Operator, and her solo performances of it created interest with record labels. She was signed to a contract in 1983, and her band mates were signed the following year. Their debut album, Diamond Life, was released in the summer of 1984. It was a huge hit, reaching #2 in the UK and #5 in the U.S., and ultimately selling more than 4 million copies in the U.S. The first single from the album, Your Love Is King, was a modest success, reaching #8 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Their breakout came with the release of Smooth Operator – it topped the Adult Contemporary chart, and peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • In 1985, the band released their next album, Promise. It reached #1 in the U.S. and UK, and was certified 4x platinum. Its biggest hit was the song The Sweetest Taboo – it peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Another single, Never As Good As The First Time, broke into the top 20. With the success of their first 2 albums, the band won a Grammy award for Best New Artist.
  • The band’s third album, Stronger Than Pride, was released in 1988. It was their third multi-platinum record. Two singles – Paradise and Nothing Can Come Between Us – reached #1 and #3 respectively on the Billboard R&B chart. They continued their success with 1992’s Love Deluxe, which sold over 4 million copies in the U.S., with No Ordinary Love and Kiss of Life breaking into the top 10 of the R&B singles chart. No Ordinary Love was featured in the film Indecent Proposal, and it won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group.
  • Sade Adu went on hiatus in 1994, and the other members of the band formed a side project R&B/jazz/funk band called Sweetback, releasing 1 album in 1996. In 2000, Sade Adu came out of retirement, and Sade released their fifth album, Lovers Rock. It reached #3 on the album chart, and was certified 3x platinum. The album won a Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Album, and its lead single, By Your Side, was nominated for the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
  • After their comeback album and supporting concert tour, Sade Adu retired again to focus on being a mother. In 2002, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire, for Services to Music. The other band members moved on to other music interests.
  • Ten years after their comeback, they came back yet again – in 2010, Sade released their most recent album, Soldier of Love. It topped the Billboard album chart, and was certified platinum. The song of the same name reached #6 on the R&B chart, and it won a Grammy award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. The only additional music they have done since then was the song Flower Of The Universe, the lead single for the soundtrack for Disney’s 2018 film A Wrinkle In Time. 
  • Sade Adu is somewhat of a mystery – she stays out of the public eye, preferring to maintain a very private life. When she does work on music, it is on her terms. Apparently, the music world likes it when she emerges from the shadows – everything that Sade has recorded has been a success. I always thought that Smooth Operator was way ahead of its time in the mid 80s – here’s the video to this smooth song.

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