There are plenty of amazing discovery stories in the showbiz industry. But the way Adele was discovered truly came down to chance. It’s wild to think that if her first record company hadn’t logged on to Myspace of all things, they wouldn’t have found one of the greatest singers of a generation.
Adele had her musical ‘awakening’ when she discovered Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald
In 1988, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born in Tottenham, London. Her mother was only 18 when she was born, and her father was never in the picture. She and her mother moved around a lot, from Brighton and back to London, finally settling in the neighborhood of West Norwood.
Her new friends in school introduced her to Destiny’s Child, Faith Evans, and P Diddy. However, on her own, she had her musical “awakening” when she discovered the music of Eva Cassidy, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald, “all of whom she could impersonate,” the Guardian wrote in a profile in 2008.
“There was no musical heritage in our family,” Adele told the Telegraph. “Chart music was all I ever knew. So when I listened to the Ettas and the Ellas, it sounds so cheesy, but it was like an awakening. I was like, oh, right, some people have proper longevity and are legends. I was so inspired that as a 15-year-old I was listening to music that had been made in the Forties. The idea that people might look back to my music in 50 years’ time was a real spur to doing this.”
The BRIT School, a free school for the performing arts, accepted Adele at only 14 years old. Alumni include Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, members of the Feeling, and Leona Lewis. There, Adele learned how to use a recording studio, organize budgets, and interpret legal contracts. It all prepared the singer for a long journey ahead. However, Adele’s next step toward fame came when she logged on to Myspace.
Adele’s record company found her on Myspace
Riding on the success of 19, Adele told the Guardian she wasn’t afraid of her vicious generation.
However, Adele went on to explain that her generation can take care of itself. She used herself as an example. “Like, in setting my life up, I’ve done it all on my own. With the internet, MySpace and stuff. I got my record deal through that. And I’m not even a phenomenon on MySpace like Lily or Kate Nash, my career didn’t start there. I’ve got [a comparatively lonely] 20,000 friends.
“I feel very independent. And I think a lot of late teens, early twenties do. And I think we’re gonna look after the world. In the way that the generation who are running it at the moment aren’t. I’m probably just being 19 and optimistic, but because of the internet, we have the belief and the ability. And I think that’s what binds us together and sets us apart from older people at the moment. I can use a computer better than my stepdad and my stepdad builds websites…”
Adele should have felt optimistic then. XL Recordings signed her at age 18 after seeing her three demos, including her future “Hometown Glory,” on her Myspace page. Then, she became famous. What are the odds?
The singer had instant success with ’19’
Being signed to XL Recordings, home of the White Stripes, MIA, Dizzee Rascal, and Peaches, meant big things for the “Hello” singer.
In early 2007, she played to 10 people at local London pubs and embarked on a modest tour of Britain. Then, she had her TV debut on Jools Holland and Jonathan Ross and was chosen for the inaugural ‘Critics Choice’ Brit Award in 2008. The Guardian continues to write that she was “unveiled as the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2008’ poll winner” and saw “the brilliantly bizarre car-crash-themed video for ‘Chasing Pavements’ up-loaded onto Kanye West’s personal blog on 9 January with the caption: ‘This sh** is dope!!!!!!!’
“I feel like I’m being shoved down everyone’s throat,” she said then. “My worst fear is my music won’t connect with the public. Earlier this morning, because ‘Chasing Pavements’ went up for download last night, just being adventurous I scrolled down to the last 30 of the top 100 on iTunes to see if it was there. [Glumly] And it wasn’t there. [Enormous grin] It was No 12! And that was only 9 o’clock!”
Now, hearing Adele’s early thoughts of her career are interesting, considering how successful she is today. Her highly anticipated fourth album, 30, has just come out, and fans and critics are in agreement that it’s her best album yet. All thanks to her Myspace page.
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