Sade Adu

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Sade Adu 1.jpg
Background information
Birth name Helen Folasade Adu
Born (1959-01-16) 16 January 1959 (age 56)
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Origin London, United Kingdom
Years active 1983–present
Labels Portrait, Epic, RCA
Associated acts Sade

Helen Folasade Adu, OBE (Yoruba: Fọláṣadé Adú; born 16 January 1959), known as Sade (/ʃɑːˈd/ shah-DAY), is a British Nigerian 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 group Sade.

Sade has been nominated six times for the Brit Award for Best British Female.[1] In 2002, she was bestowed the Officer of the Order of the British Empire by 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 No. 30 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Music.[3] Sade has a contralto vocal range.[4]

Early life[edit]

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][7] Her parents separated, however, and Anne Hayes returned to England, taking four-year-old[8] Sade and older brother Banji with her to live with their grandparents just outside Colchester, Essex. When Sade was 11 years old, she moved to Holland-on-Sea, Essex, to live with her mother,[9] and after completing school at 18 she moved to London and studied at Saint Martin's School of Art.[5][8]


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] By the time she performed her first show at London's Heaven nightclub she had become so popular that 1,000 people were turned away at the door.[7]

Sade and her eponymous band produced the first of a string of hit albums. Diamond Life was released in 1984, reached No. 2 in the UK Album Chart, sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK, and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985.[10] The album was also a hit internationally, reaching No. 1 in several countries and the top ten in the US where it has sold in excess of 4 million copies. In late 1985, Sade released their second album, Promise, which peaked at No. 1 in both the UK and the US.[11][12] It was certified double platinum in the UK, and quadruple platinum in the US. In 1986 the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.[13] Sade received her first nomination for the Brit Award for Best British Female in 1985, and has been nominated a further five times: 1986, 1987, 1989, 2001 and 2002.[1]

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. In 2010, The Sunday Times named her the most successful solo British female artist in history.[5]

Personal life[edit]

She squatted in Wood Green, North London, in the 1980s, with her then-boyfriend Robert Elms.[14] In 1989, she married Spanish film director Carlos Pliego. Their marriage ended in 1995.[5] She gave birth to a daughter, Mickailia (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.[15] She lives in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, in the English countryside and, prior to the release of Soldier of Love in 2010, the Daily Mail described her as "famously reclusive".[16] On her disavowal of overt fame as well as the label 'recluse', she said in 2012: "Artistically, I have high aspirations. I don’t want to do anything less than the best I can do."[17]



For more information on this topic, see Sade discography.



  1. ^ a b "BRITs History".
  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 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 "Britain's Smooth Operator from the 80s who's outselling Adele in America (despite living as a recluse in the Cotswolds)". Mail Online. Retrieved 25 November 2014
  8. ^ a b "Sade Biography".
  9. ^ Jessica Berer (May 1985). Sade. Spin. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  10. ^ Brit Awards: Sade Retrieved 10 February 2012
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Billboard Books
  13. ^ And The GRAMMY Went To ... Sade Retrieved 10 February 2012
  14. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (22 November 2011). "Radio review: From Frestonia to Belgravia – the History of Squatting". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Scott, Paul (14 March 2012). "Britain's Smooth Operator". London: Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Robert Sandall (2010-01-31). "Sade Emerges From Her Country Retreat". The Times (London). Retrieved 2014-05-12. 

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