Singer-musician Adele knows about winning big. Having swept up 18 Grammys, an Academy award and made history with three simultaneous top 10 singles and two simultaneous top five albums — Adele is used to adulation. But her latest feat goes beyond.
Adele awed the 2017 Grammy Awards, scooping up five trophies, including song, record and album of the year. Her fans aren’t surprised. From the time she appeared — her debut happened courtesy a demo posted online — she’s represented a contemporary fairy story, with both the magic and mediocrity of modernity. Her voice is the former; soaring to the skies with the pitch of a choir artist. The working-class white North Londoner has mastered the depth of the blues, the openness of country, the throbbing, wounded heart of soul. Adele’s received bouquets but also brickbats — over her looks. In an age obsessed with physical perfection, the large-sized singer has been ridiculed. But she’s never let that rub inches off her confidence. When designer Karl Lagerfeld spoke disparagingly of her weight, she retorted she never wanted to be a “skinny mini”. That wasn’t why she chose music. Or why music chose her.
By being an individual, not a product, Adele forced a cynical industry to hear the voice within, which holds the ability to fly to heaven or dive to the wasteland of a grieving heart. This is the power of pop — making a listener feel the singer sings your tale — and Adele has paid generous homage to musical icons who’ve influenced her through the joys and miseries of her own life, including a mid-mid-life crisis in her early twenties, when, following a romantic split, she sang of the miserable splendour of picking yourself up. But there was only splendour when Adele announced at the 2017 Grammys that Beyonce should have won album of the year, with her radically empowering Lemonade. Adele then broke her Grammy in half, to give one part to Beyonce. She may have sung Someone Like You but Adele also proves there is no one like Adele.