World of Slick Music – Sade

Hi there everyone!
It’s been about 2 weeks since last post so why not write something today then. So today’s artist is the British Nigerian singer, songwriter, composer, producer Sade. Many things on her cv i’d say but it that what it takes to survive why not. So as always let’s go back to the very beginning and in this case it’s January 16 1959 when she was born as Helen Folasade Adu.
She was born in Nigeria with an African father and and English mother. Her parents met in London and got married in 1955 and then moved to Nigeria. Sade’s middle name, Folasade, means “honour confers your crown”.  When she was 4 the parents split and mother Anne took Sade and her older brother Banji with her back to England. At the age of 18 she left her mother and moved to London for studies at Saint Martin’s school of art. She studied some fashion design and also did some briefly modeling. Thou as you know it wasn’t this that would make her famous.
Sade, far right, with Pride in 1982
Her musical career started with backup singing for a band called Pride. Along this time she formed a writing partnership with Pride guitarist/saxman         Stuart Matthewman. Along with the rhythm section of Pride they began doing there own sets at the Pride gigs. Sade’s solo performances of Smooth Operator attracted the attention of record companies. In 1983 Sade and Stuart left Pride and along with keyboardist Andrew Hale, bassist Paul Denman and drummer Paul Cooke to form the band Sade. Her reputation had preceded her in that way that 1000 persons had to turn back home when she held her first show at the Heaven nightclub in London.

Sade in 1983 and ready to take the world by storm.
Her American debut took place in May 1983 at the Danceteria Nightclub in New York City. This became a success they got lots of attention from the U.S. record companies and the press. And as always when you got a gourgeos girl in front she’s by far more attractive than the rest of the band. Sade signed for Epic Records on the 18th of October in1983. Thou in 1984 the rest of the band also signed for Epic Records. Their debut album Diamond Life to only 6 weeks to record at the Power Plant in London. It reached #2 in the UK Album Chart and sold over 1.2 million copies in the UK and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in1985.

Sade and her band in 1984.
The debut album became a smash hit not only in UK but international as well. In the U.S. it sold 4 million copies and was top 10 and in many other countries it reached #1 and sold a total amount of about 6 million copies. It became one of the top-selling debut recordings of the ’80s and the best-selling debut ever by a British female vocalist. Way to go i’d say don’t you agree with that! The band didn’t reached #1 on the Billboard charts with any singles from this album. Smooth Operator reached #5 on the singles list. The next album Promise was released late 1985 and this time they got all the way to the top in both the UK and the US. In America it sold 4 times Platinum equal to 4 million copies.

Absolute Beginners (1986) Poster

Before making and recording the next album it was time for Sade to act in fron of the cameras, she starred in British movie Absolute Beginners, see picture above, with David Bowie along with others. The movie is about the life in London in late 1950:s. She also lend her vocals to the movie’s soundtrack. So time then for next album which also got quite successful but it didn’t really match the previously one thou it still sold 3 times Platinum in the US only. Ok i take it back that i might gave you the impression it wasn’t a commercial success! Sade and her band continued recording and touring during the rest of the 1980:s and early 1990:s. Then in 1994 they stopped performing live.

Sade in action 1994.
As i mentioned she and the band stopped touring in 1994 and it wasn’t until 2001 they performed live again in 2001 for the Lovers Rock Tour. Needless to say the tour was a huge success and it lasted 8 weeks longer than it first was scheduled due to the huge interest of seeing Sade live for the first time in 7 years. The tour was deemed a comeback for the band by many critics, i can see why for obvious reasons. Now this tour was an ongoing project from 2001 until 2011! Offcourse they didn’t tour non stop for 10 years. A matter of fact is that Sade moved to the Carribean in the early 2000:s too raise her daughter. Well the relationship with the father didn’t work out so she went to back to England again. While living in Carribean she kept a very low profile with very few performances.

Sade during a show in 2001.
In 2005 she was named the most successful British female aritst in history by The Sunday Times. The 6th album of the band came in 2010 and was called Soldier of Love. It was followed by a world tour. The album i just mentioned was the first from the band in 10 years. So yes they are still busy recording, promoting and touring. Sade is now living in England  and according to herself she’s “famously reclusive”. 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. Why go for mediocre when you can reach for the top?!
Still beautiful i say.
Ok, finally some own refelections. If you’re not familliar with Sade or her music it’s a very elegant, sophisticated like jazz influenced R&B with the very smooth vocals of Sade that goes perfectly with this type of music. Her influences are Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holliday. So if, say that Anita Baker might be the Queen of Elegant/Sophisticated R&B, in my book she is, than i’d say that Sade is the Emperess of dito genre! Today’s song is called Is It a Crime from the band’s second and most successful album Promise, see picture below.


As always enjoy your listening!!
#worldofslickmusic #sade #pride #stuartmatthewman #andrewhale #pauldenman #paulcooke #davidbowie #raycharles #ninasimone #algreen #arethafranklin #billieholliday #anitabaker

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