Sade Adu

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Sade Adu 1.jpg
Background information
Birth name Helen Folasade Sade Adu
Born (1959-01-16) 16 January 1959 (age 55)
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Smooth jazz, soul, jazz, R&B, quiet storm, sophisti-pop, soft rock, adult contemporary
Occupations Singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, record producer
Years active 1983–present
Labels Portrait
Associated acts Sade

Helen Folasade Adu, OBE (Yoruba: Fọláṣadé Adú; born 16 January 1959), better known as Sade (/ʃɑːˈd/ shah-DAY), is a British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer. She first achieved success in the 1980s as the frontwoman and lead vocalist of the Brit and Grammy Award-winning English group Sade. She has been nominated six times for the Brit Award for Best British Female.[1] In 2002, she received an OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for services to music, and she dedicated her award to "all black women in England".[2] In 2012, Sade was listed at number 30 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Music.[3] Sade has a contralto vocal range.[4]


Sade was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.[5] Her middle name, Folasade, means "honour confers your crown".[6] Her parents, Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English district nurse, met in London, married in 1955 and moved to Nigeria.[5] Later, when the marriage ran into difficulties, Anne Hayes returned to England, taking four-year-old[7] Sade and her older brother Banji to live with her parents.[5] Later on Sade and her brother lived with their grandparents just outside Colchester, Essex. When Sade was 11, she moved to Holland-on-Sea, Essex to live with her mother,[8] and after completing school at 18 she moved to London and studied at Saint Martin's School of Art.[5][7]

While in college, she joined a soul band, Pride, in which she sang backing vocals.[5] Her solo performances of the song "Smooth Operator" attracted the attention of record companies and in 1983, she signed a solo deal with Epic Records taking three members of the band, Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Denman, with her.[5] Sade and her band produced the first of a string of hit albums. Their debut album Diamond Life appeared in 1984. She is the most successful solo female artist in British history.[5]

In 2002, she appeared on the Red Hot Organization's Red Hot and Riot, a compilation CD in tribute to the music of fellow Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti. She recorded a remix of her hit single, "By Your Side", for the album and was billed as a co-producer.

Personal life[edit]

She squatted in Tottenham, north London in the 1980s, with her then-boyfriend Robert Elms.[9] In 1989, she married Spanish film director Carlos Pliego. Their marriage ended in 1995.[5] She gave birth to a daughter, Ila Adu (who studied at Wycliffe College in Gloucestershire), in 1995 after a relationship with Jamaican music producer Bob Morgan. (She moved briefly to the Caribbean to live with him in the late 1990s, but they later separated and she returned to England.[10]) In 2002, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to popular music.[11] She lives in the English countryside and, prior to the release of Soldier of Love in 2010, the Daily Mail described her as "famously reclusive".[12]



For more information on this topic, see Sade discography.



  1. ^ "Sade Brits Profile".
  2. ^ "Actress and singer collect OBEs". BBC. Retrieved 14 June 2012
  3. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Music" VH1. 2012 Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 19 December 2012
  4. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha. "The Long War". The New Yorker. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Sandall, Robert (31 January 2010). "Sade emerges from her country retreat". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Meaning of Folasade in
  7. ^ a b "Sade Biography".
  8. ^ Jessica Berer (May 1985). Sade. Spin. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  9. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (22 November 2011). "Radio review: From Frestonia to Belgravia – the History of Squatting". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Scott, Paul (14 March 2012). "Britain's Smooth Operator". London: Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 31 March 2912. 
  11. ^ New Year’s Honours List — United Kingdom – Official announcement in The London Gazette, 31 December 2001, Supplement No.1 S9.
  12. ^ Georgina Littlejohn (2010-03-13). "Sade displays her youthful looks as she dresses down after her glamorous magazine cover hits the shelves". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2010-03-13. 

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