One of the toughest things to do as an artist is follow up a hit song or album. How do you keep your name top of mind? For most artists, that means releasing a steady stream of new music, jumping at any to guest features, and pushing for consistent media coverage. For Adele, it's meant taking a step back from everything.
Her 2011 album 21 sold an incredible 31 million copies worldwide, and as Rolling Stone pointed out, won every award imaginable short of the Nobel Prize. Her follow up, 25 (named for the age she started working on it), came out four years later, with almost nothing released in between. In that time Adele quietly had a child, ducked from the media, and tried her best to live a "normal" life. She went into hiding, but not like most celebrities, receding into massive estates guarded by gated communities. By Adele's guess, she visited "every fucking park, every shop, every supermarket you could imagine" with her young son, driving through England in her mini cooper, wearing leggings and a messy bun, most people not even giving her a second glance. It's a unique strategy for someone who Beyonce called a "God", and it begs the question, why?
As Adele told Rolling Stone, "People think I hate being famous," Adele says. "And I don't. I'm really frightened of it. I think it's really toxic, and I think it's really easy to be dragged into it." Early in her career, she faced frequent musical comparisons to Amy Winehouse. "Watching Amy deteriorate is one of the reasons I'm a bit frightened. We were all very entertained by her being a mess. I was fucking sad about it, but if someone showed me a picture of her looking bad, I'd look at it. If we hadn't looked, then they'd have stopped taking her picture. That level of attention is really frightening."
So it's Adele controlling the conversation, and today, we're featuring the spark from 25, in which she thrust herself back into the centre of the music world with three simple words: "Hello, it's me". Adele called the song a "breakup" and "makeup" song; it's her reaching out to anyone she's ever hurt, including herself, and saying sorry. It's a pretty damn powerful apology.
You can learn more about Adele here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.