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If you can make it here you can make it anywhere are words I’m sure have been said about Nashville and its music scene. Well Adele has made it here alright! She sold out the Mercy Lounge in a day months before the show, then it was moved to the Cannery Ballroom which holds an additional 500  people and sold that out in a week. So for the 1,000 in attendance it was an amazing show to brag about the next day.

Adele is a soul singer and a graduate from the Brit School in Corydon, the same performing arts school that gave us Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua, Leona Lewis, Imogen Heap and Kate Nash. Adele is a newcomer riding the wave across the pond on a soulful throwback voice to the days of Etta James and Billy Holliday. Her first major release aptly titled 19, which she recorded while she was 19, debuted at #1 on the UK chart, and has sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Adele is coming off two Grammy wins, one for Best New Artist and one for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Chasing Pavements”. Adele’s voice is both powerful and effortless. It seems as if when she is singing she’s mostly unaware of the beauty and power of her own voice. She is merely telling a story, in a most amazing  way.

"I taught myself how to sing by listening to Ella Fitzgerald for acrobatics and scales, Etta James for passion and Roberta Flack for control," she told Dish recently.

You can hear Ella's scats in "My Same," Flack's flair for sensuous melody in Adele's version of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" from his Grammy-winning Time Out of Mind and James' slow-burning urgency in "Melt My Heart to Stone." But there's also plenty of Adele in songs like "Tired," where she reveals an otherwise hidden working-class British accent, "When I don't get nuffin' back."

The first single, "Chasing Pavements," a #2 hit in the U.K., characterizes her autobiographical approach, written after a brawl in a London club with her boyfriend, which sent her fleeing out the door onto Oxford Street.

"I hate making people feel awkward and I hate feeling awkward, so I just left, but he didn't follow me," she explains. "I was running down these gigantic, wide sidewalks that stretch for miles, thinking to myself, 'Where are you going? What are you doing? You're just chasing pavements...that you're never going to catch.' Then, I went straight home and wrote the song."

Together, the songs on 19 compose a diary of a year in Adele's life, one that began with her deciding to stay in London rather than attend university in Liverpool, which led her to write "Hometown Glory."

"Hometown Glory" was the first song she wrote for the album and it came after an argument with her mother about whether to leave London for Liverpool—her mom thought best to teach her to stand on her own—or remain home, where she was surrounded by things that made her feel comfortable.

"The song is about wherever you're from, being able to walk past a bus stop, a clothing store, a restaurant, a bar or a coffee shop and have your memories of them," she says.

Her manager, a Dylan fan, tried to get her to cover "Make You Feel My Love" for a year before she agreed, eventually coming to believe it was written for her. "The song is so convincing," she says. "But when I first heard it, I couldn't understand the lyrics. When I finally read them, I thought they were amazing. The song just kind of sums up that sour point in my life I've been trying to get out of my system and write into my songs. It completes the shape of the album, which is not sad, but bitter."
The latest in the current spate of talented female singer-songwriters emerging from the U.K. scene, Adele was the first recipient of the Brit Awards' newly inaugurated Critics Choice prize last December even before her debut album was released. She was also honored as the winner of BBC Music's Sound of 2008 poll of music critics, editors and broadcasters, as the most promising new musical artist likely to emerge this year.
Her first U.S. performances in New York and Los Angles this spring sold out just on the basis of a mention on her MySpace page, which has received more than 2 million profile views and 2.2 million plays since it was launched on New Year's Eve 2004.
"I want as many people as possible to hear my music," she says. "I want to do well in Europe, Asia and Australia. It's so weird to come all this way to do shows and have them sell out. It's ridiculous and amazing how many people want to talk to me."
Adele admits she's the kind of person who feels incomplete without a relationship, but for now, she's burying her sorrows in between performances with soda and Cheetos... and refuses to obsess over her weight, either.
"I love food and hate exercise," she laughs. "I don't have time to work out. Go buy my record; then I'll be able to lose weight. I actually don't care. I don't want to be on the cover of Playboy or Vogue. I want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Q. I'm not a trend-setter... I'm a singer. I never want to be known for anything else. I'd rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album then look like Nicole Richie and do a shit album. My aim in life is never to be skinny."
Don't expect Adele to fall into the trap of living the blues to sing them, though.
"With this album, I had to be feeling quite sorry for myself to be creative," she says. "When I tried to write about fictional stuff, made-up stories or other people's problems, I couldn't do it. But who knows? My second album might be really happy."
Adele came on stage at the Cannery with a cup of tea, I assume hot, with lemon, wearing an open cardigan and looking a bit disheveled. She has a very unassuming stage presence, almost like it’s an after thought. She seemed to be genuinely overwhelmed by the mass of fans there in support of her freshmen release.
"I get really scared right before I go on-stage, but as soon as I'm there, I love it," she says. "I feel more at ease performing then when I'm walking down the street. I love entertaining people. It's a huge deal that people pay their hard-earned money, no matter how much or little, to spend an hour of their day to come and watch me. I don't take that responsibility lightly."
I wondered is she just a voice, but oh no, not “The Real Deal” Adele, she played the guitar on most of her tracks and even the bass on “Best for last”. When she was on the stage by herself you really seemed to get an idea of how special her voice is and you didn’t want the night to end. With artists egos out of control most times it seems like you’re just there to make them money, but with Adele it was different. It seemed as if she wanted us there to experience her songs and her life, the emotion in her voice. I think she felt as honored to be on the stage as we felt to be in the crowd.
For more about Adele, check out and / Issue 108 - September 2018
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